Windows Phone Marketplace improvements planned

Microsoft has seen more and more apps being submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace over the past few months. That number has now risen to over 80,000 submitted apps. Perhaps because of its increased popularity, Microsoft is now going to be more proactive in terms of monitoring Windows Phone app submissions to the Marketplace from now on.

In a new post on the Windows Phone developers blog, Microsoft's Todd Brix outlines four specific ways the company will be improving the Windows Phone Marketplace. One of them will be to keep an eye out on any names for apps that might violate previously established trademarks. Brix states:

For example, using “Microsoft App Co.” as your publisher name would cause problems because “Microsoft” is a trademarked term. By the same logic, you couldn’t call your app “MSN” or “YouTube”. However, you may be able to make an app called “Reader for MSN,” as long as you don’t use the MSN logo or otherwise suggest that the app is published by Microsoft.

He adds that many trademark violations are unintentional and that app developers can do some research beforehand by accessing the US Trademark and Patent Office database.

Second, Brix says that Microsoft is making sure that Windows Phone apps are released in just one category on the Marketplace as apps that are submitted in several Marketplace groups are in violation of Microsoft's policies. The Marketplace app tiles must also be unique to each app and not duplicate the graphics of any other app tile submitted to the Marketplace.

Keywords for Windows Phone apps will now be looked into more closely by Microsoft. The company has a policy of not allowing any more than five keywords for each Windows Phone app. Brix says that starting this week, any app that go over five keywords will have all of them deleted from the Marketplace. The app creator can then go back and resubmit up to five new keywords for their app. Brix also says Microsoft will now be looking for more appropriate keywords. He states:

We’ve noticed some developers have been entering keywords that are popular search terms—“Justin Bieber,” “YouTube”—but are totally unrelated to their app and what it does. If we find a keyword that’s not relevant to your app’s function or content, we’ll delete that keyword.

Finally, Brix states Microsoft will be making sure that Windows Phone apps on the Marketplace don't violate the company's content policies, specifically apps that show what Microsoft considers to be "sexually suggestive or provocative” content. Brix says, "What we do permit is the kind of content you occasionally see on prime-time TV or the pages of a magazine’s swimsuit issue."

That will also extend to an app's tiles. The above graphics are examples of what Microsoft considers to be appropriate for Windows Phone Marketplace apps. Graphics that don't meet these standards will have to be changed. Brix states, "If you’re one of the handful of impacted developers, we will be reaching out to you within the next few days with more specific guidance on changes you need to make. If you don’t hear from us, there is no immediate action you need to take."

Images via Microsoft

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