Thursday, August 5, 2021

App Store Feature Promotes Rip-Off Apps

Hartley Charlton (iMore):

The App Store feature on the Australian App Store, first highlighted by Beau Nouvelle on Twitter, is called “Slime relaxations” and reportedly features apps that are non-functional and seek to charge disproportionately costly in-app purchase subscriptions.

Mike Rockwell:

If Apple is going to promote an app like this, why would we trust them when they say the App Store leads to a safer software environment for users?

Assuming that Apple employees didn’t select these apps on purpose, they must have incorrectly slipped through App Review and then were featured because they were selling well. Either no human review was required for featuring, or that second round of curation also failed.

I’ve recently written about legitimate developers being blocked from development and having their accounts terminated, while the privacy labels that Apple touts as a benefit of the store have been shown to be a facade. We’re 13 years in, and it seems like the gap between the promise of the App Store and the reality is only increasing.

Simon B. Støvring:

Of course the real victim here is the user who is being scammed by these apps. I’m just saying that’s not all there is to it.

I’ve seen indie developers putting blood and sweat into their apps hoping to get featured. Seeing scam apps getting featured instead is frustrating.


Update (2021-08-06): Jeff Johnson:

One problem with App Store is that consumers trust it too much. They’re told Apple curates the store, but that’s just false.

For example, #23 (iBuy from Amazon) and #29 (Open With) top paid in Mac App Store have abysmal ratings and reviews. Do consumers even look before buying?

We developers can complain about review fraud in the App Store, but “i should’ve read the other reviews” is telling. A lot of consumers are not even paying attention to the reviews. They fail to exercise “caveat emptor” because Apple has told them App Store is safe.

Make no mistake, Apple is promoting these apps. #4 and #5 in the Utilities category. The top charts are visibility.

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