Image 1 - Microsoft To Clean Up 'Racy' Marketplace Apps
May 2, 2012

Microsoft To Clean Up ‘Racy’ Marketplace Apps

Microsoft announced on Monday that it is cleaning-up its Windows Phone Marketplace to address software containing "racy" or "sexual" material.

While the company´s Marketplace guidelines already prohibit "content that a reasonable person would consider to be adult or borderline adult content,” Microsoft said it would begin enforcing a more rigorous interpretation of the rules.

The guidelines are aimed at developers who want to sell their apps in the company´s Marketplace.

“I know most of you share our goal of a great shopping experience and already go out of your way to follow our policies and guidance. For others, I hope this insight into a few near-term changes we´re putting in place helps save you time and reduces your risk of having apps pulled from the Marketplace,” wrote Todd Brix, Microsoft´s senior director of the Marketplace, in a blog post on the company´s Windows phone developer blog.

Microsoft has decided to move to “a more stringent interpretation and enforcement of our existing content policy” for apps that are “℠racy´ or “sexual in nature,” Brix said.

Under current guidelines, images or content that include “sexually suggestive or provocative” material are prohibited.  However, the company said it would begin paying “more attention to the icons, titles, and content of these apps, and expects them to be more subtle and modest in the imagery and terms used.”

The company said the move is aimed at improving the shopping experience for customers.

“We´re committed to offering a diverse selection of safe and quality apps that appeal to a wide range of customer interests. Items that some customers view as entertainment, others may consider inappropriate,” Brix wrote.

Brix said developers whose “racy” apps had been previously approved under less stringent interpretations of the guidelines would be asked by Microsoft to update their apps to remain in the Marketplace.

“Our content policies are clearly spelled out: we don´t allow apps containing ℠sexually suggestive or provocative´ images or content. 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.”

Microsoft provided the following images as examples of acceptable app titles:

“This is about presenting the right content to the right customer and ensuring that apps meet our standards,” he said.

“While this change might require a little extra work on the part of a small number of developers, there are plenty of creative and appropriate ways to comply: showing male or female models in silhouette, for example, is one possible alternative.”

Brix also used the opportunity to remind developers to maintain the quality of their apps.

For example, developers are not permitted to submit the same app to multiple categories, or to use more than five keywords per app. Developers sometimes try to trick the system by tagging their apps with popular tags that have little to do with the apps themselves — a practice Brix said Microsoft would begin cracking down upon.