Jeff Hunter has a “collection of valueless, invasive, and annoying push notifications” that he has received and it is clear from his post that there very much is a problem. What’s interesting is that it appears Apple already anticipated this, as this is section 5.6 of the App review guidelines, per Hunter’s post:
5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind
So why isn’t this being enforced? I think it is because this is very hard to enforce given that Apple cannot know in advance what developers might notify users of.
That’s why this idea from Hunter is a very good one:
Provide a feedback mechanism that allows users to report spammy notifications, and crack down on abusive apps.
My suggestion would be for the report feature to appear in the Notifications setting preference, inside the options for each app. So that directly underneath the toggle for push notifications is a toggle that says “Report abuse” burying it there would lead to less false-positives and still offer a way to combat ad-driven notifications.
Notifications in general have always been a problem for iOS, and while push notifications are nice, they can also be incredibly annoying when used incorrectly — or not as the user expects. I can’t be the only one that thinks half of the “Breaking News” push notifications aren’t really what I’d consider important breaking news. So this is a bit of a slippery argument, as Apple would have to define to users what is and is not OK — otherwise it would vary too much from user to user.