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Windows Store Rejection#1: Lessons Learned about Age Ratings

10 October 2012
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

Just thought I would fire up a quick post (and maybe a little advice to the powers that be at Microsoft).

I have been working on a Dropbox Client for the last several months in my spare time. I actually almost quit on the process and realized that what I had was more integrated with Windows 8 than anything else in the Windows Store, and that I really wanted to use my own app over anything else that is currently out there. Mind you I was about a week away when I decided to quit. When my work schedule broke a little I decided I NEEDED to finish this. So last Tuesday I finished it up and submitted to the Windows Store.

When I was filling out the submission, I got to the line that asks about Age Rating.. this seems weird to me, I hadn’t really thought about it. I mean I would expect it to be rated E (for Everyone) because you bring your own content. I could see a 3 year old being able to operate it.. so I set it to 3 and eliminated any country that wanted me to back that up (at least for now).

SIDENOTE: In other Mobile AppStores (you know the one who considers themselves the owner of the name “AppStore”), they don’t ASK you what you think your rating should be, they ask you a series of questions about your app and then they TELL you what your rating is.

So, A whole week later, I get the notification (this morning, actually) that I got rejected. I wasn’t offended. It happens there are many things in the guidelines and it’s really easy to miss something or to have a corner of your app that is not as well tested. This was my first time through so I expected this. Of course it was for the aforementioned Age Rating. I checked SkyDrive and saw it was Age Rated for 12+.  I assume from reading the materials it was because I have ads in an app and they don’t think anyone younger than 13 should see ads. Seems weird, but OK..

NOW, This is the rub. I made 2 clicks to change the Age Rating from 3+ to 12+ and hit resubmit.. No code has changed. Nothing has REALLY changed except that my age was set too low. Where am I in the process now? At the back of the line waiting another 7 days to hear if there was anything else.

[Warning Rant to proceed from here on]
I’m assuming that most of the tough stuff is out of the way, but I don’t really know. It does seem strange that I went through the whole process already and I have to wait 7 days. I mean I already passed presumably a number of issues. It seems like a waste of EVERYONE;’s time for me to have to wait and to have EVERYTHING thus far tested for a ZERO code change (no new binaries have been uploaded). This process needs to be streamlined some more that is for sure. Especially considering they want to have 100,000 apps in the Windows Store by January. If they don’t change the process some then that goal will never happen. Just my 2 cents.