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Welcome to Fartomin.com, the would-be home of my first iPhone app, the Fartomin, what I and those I’ve shown believe to be the world’s most advanced fart synthesizer, which has been formally rejected by Apple’s App-Store.  I’m inviting you here to share my story, mostly because I don’t know what else to do with it.

Apple insists they need “no more fart apps,” and while they’ve made it clear they dislike fart apps, I felt their submission guidelines were still open ended:

2.11 Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps.

I felt like “may be rejected” meant that some would not be rejected, and if there was any example of innovation in fart apps worthy of exception, it was mine.  Well, I can have my opinion, but Apple disagrees.

I guess why I really invited you here is to see what you think.  Is it worth having another fart app, if it really is streets ahead of the competition, or is it time that humanity finally got over farts?  I’ll let you decide, and if you agree with me, feel free to post your support below.

In the following post you can see the promo video I made for Fartomin, which may be my favorite part of the app anyway.  You can then read the email exchange between me and Apple regarding the app, including my appeal to their review board.  That’s followed by a very tired rant by me about the whole situation.  My appeal letter is pretty good.  I’m an English major.

Anyways, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the promo video.  I’d appreciate your opinion either way, please do post below.

Sincerely,

-Dan Finlay

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The World’s First Dynamic Fart Generator

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Fartomin has been rejected by Apple

Fartomin has been rejected by Apple, and so has my appeal to their review board.  You can read their reasoning below, followed by my appeal and afterthoughts:

Binary Rejected Aug 25, 2011 09:59 AM
Reasons for Rejection:
  • 2.11: Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps
In reply, I wrote the following letter.

Hello, and thank you for your time.  I’m writing to appeal the rejection of “Fartomin,” on the basis that it allegedly duplicates apps that already exist on the App Store.While I agree, there is a ludicrously high number of apps on the App Store that play fart sounds, my app is a duplicate of none of them.

Given the current offerings, the term “fart app” might as well be a pejorative slur, because there truly are hundreds of nearly identical fart apps.  Each of these apps has a list of fart sounds, and a button, and the button plays a fart sound.  The more sophisticated ones feature timers, or remote controls, but every single one of them simply plays back the sound it was programmed with.

Unlike every single one of them, Fartomin is the world’s first fart synthesizer.  It is not a keyboard that simply bends pitch, it uses proprietary algorithms to simulate a spectrum of farts, that I encourage you to explore.  While the sound created is a fart, the method of creation is dynamically generated based on user input.  While many apps may fart, this will be the only app that creates the exact fart that the user intends, with the flick of their finger.

I believe I understand Apple’s intention in creating the rule you are enforcing.  For a while, the App Store became swarmed with identical submissions, and even the wording of the policy reflects this:  “Apps that duplicate apps”, and since many duplicates were duplicating the function of playing back a fart, the bit “like fart apps” was added.

The person who wrote those words was simply living in a time where fart apps were the most commonly cloned app, none of them were unique, and the sanctity of the App Store needed to be protected.  It’s worth asking, what does it mean to duplicate an app?  There are many calendar apps, but no one has yet doubted that calendars have room for improvement.  Maybe fart apps got a bad name, because so many people made them, with so little creativity, in so little time.

I might speculate that fart apps were popular to clone because a sound board is among the simplest apps to possibly program.  Drop a sound file in the project, and run it with Audio Services, no additional learning required.

To contrast, in order to create a low-latency fart generator, I experimented with OpenAL, Audio Units, and Cocos2D, because the sound playback in this app is not simple or rote, it is complex, and was designed with a professional sound engineer, and was the product of dozens of deep, theoretical discussions on the subtle nuances that contribute to the farting spectrum.

I cannot even say that my app is the final word in fart generation!  A more expert team might devise a more organic method still, and I would encourage you to consider future innovations the way you should consider this one.  Is this app duplicating an app already on the app store, or is it the product of original inspiration, and innovative design?

I hope you can now look at my app with fresh eyes, and realize that I did not write this app to say “me too!”, but to show the world that even simple pleasures can be improved, with an eye towards a naturalistic user experience.

In reply, they gave me this final letter:
Aug 29, 2011 02:54 PM. From Apple.

Thank you for submitting an appeal to the App Review Board for the review of your app, Fartomin.

We have completed the evaluation of your appeal and have determined that the review findings of 08/25/2011 are appropriate for Fartomin.

Because the primary content and functionality of your app focuses on farts, your app is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines <http://developer.apple.com/appstore/resources/approval/guidelines.html>

2.11 Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps

We recognize that there is a wide range in the quality of apps of this genre and that yours may be of better quality than many others out there. Or, it may include features or characteristics that distinguish it as more than just a fart app – or even something other than a fart app. But if a feature or set of features in your app focuses on farts or aspects of farts and farting, in spite of other features or qualities it may also include, it fits the category of fart app. And, at the end of the day, we simply have enough fart apps in the App Store.

For these reasons, your app will not be posted to the App Store. We appreciate the time and resources you have committed to iOS development and we hope you will consider alternate app concepts to apply your efforts to.

To which I added the final statement:

Aug 29, 2011 04:17 PM Daniel Finlay, somniac@me.com

Well then do future developers the courtesy of changing the wording from “may be rejected” to “will be rejected, for subject alone.” The uncertain wording gave me hope that my originality would earn me an exception, but it doesn’t seem like it held any weight at all.

I’d now like to take a few minutes to let off some steam and thoughts about this whole situation:

When I’d started this, I knew it was a one-off joke.  I knew that it was simple, I knew it was base.  I knew that there are seemingly more noble causes in the world.  But I also knew that people love to laugh, and people have historically proven their love of farts with countless fart app downloads, whoopee-cushion purchases, fart-spray, stink-bombs, remote control whoopee-cushions, you name it.

When I first had the idea for Fartomin, I knew full well that the App Store had plenty of fart apps.  I knew Apple had said they needed no more.  I just knew that I had an original idea, and what I believed was a better implementation than had ever been seen before.  To me it seemed obvious that while individual moral values may look down their noses at this endeavor, the digital distribution enabled by the internet could enable so many people to extract joy from a simple app, that it could really be worthwhile.

I come from an improv comedy background, and in improv, getting a room of 100 people can seem like hitting it out of the ballpark.  It didn’t seem like such crazy math to me that if I could make a million people laugh, just once, I would have over-shadowed my 11 years doing improv with that simple endeavor.

Apple clearly thinks making this app was a waste of my time, but when I do the cost-benefit analysis, had this been accepted and embraced by users, it would have made everything else that I’ve done look like a waste of time.

You see, while I have fantasies of saving the world, at heart I’ve always been an entertainer, and making a person laugh has pretty much been the highest ideal for me.  From my perspective, by rejecting my app, Apple has prevented untold throngs of people from giggling with glee as they freely create the never-ending-fart of their dreams (or nightmares).

It may be a simple joy, but now Apple has the final word on “usefulness to humanity,” and we have to just hope that they know what’s best for us. Apple says you should be looking at pictures of your friends, and reading newspapers, but certainly not extracting more than the mandated portion of joy from farts.  They decided for you!

I took up programming because as an artist, the internet seems to afford new avenues of discovery, but it has not offered many new avenues of payment.  A burgeoning sketch comedy group is going to have a hard time going full time off T-Shirt sales.  A lot of YouTube hits means squat in the bank account, and that’s a problem.

The App Store sells apps, but no online store sells comedy sketches, original documentaries, and independent albums.  If there were a place where artists could make even a nominal fee per view, we might change entertainment in a big way.  How about a monthly subscription, where your fees are divided up amongst the media you enjoyed that month?  All-you-can-eat, yet supporting independent artists?  Just a thought.

So what’s a funny guy supposed to do?  Make a funny app?  It’s one of the last forms of intellectual property that an artist can make that ensure their audience will pay for it, and you can do it all yourself, which feels empowering, until you get to that final step, where Apple decides what goes and what doesn’t.

What we need more than anything is an un-curated space for the arts, where artists are paid based on merit and audience, and might be funded to continue the work that is bringing so many joy.

Because what is self reliance, if you’ve got Big Brother there to trip you up at the last step of your journey?

Now I’ve got a lot of deciding to do.  Do I port to Android, or do I start the next project- which helps the disabled?  If an Android port were successful, the revenue could help the next project.

Bitcoin:  1GvgZp4nZ3S2UxvBKHfpqWvjSj52AtnWwa

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Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the app creator here.

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In Construction…

This site exists to inform the reader about Fartomin: The Revolution.  More information will be posted when it is time.

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