Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Sketchy ChatGPT App Soars Up App Store Charts

Sami Fathi:

A sketchy app claiming to be the bot ChatGPT has soared up App Store charts, charging users a $7.99 weekly subscription to use a service that is entirely free to use on the web and seemingly has no affiliation to the actual bot.

[…]

The app is currently the second most popular productivity app on the App Store in the United States, indicating it is rather popular. The app has nearly 12,000 ratings, with a number of positive and negative reviews. “This is a fake app,” one review said. “This is just faking openai endorsement and more bad stuff,” another user said. Despite its suspicious activity, presence, and soaring popularity, the app has passed Apple’s App Store review process multiple times since its initial launch three weeks ago.

The developers behind the app, named “Social Media Apps & Game Sports health Run Hiking Runing fitness tracking,” have other sketchy apps on the platform, including an “Activity Lock Screen Widget 16" app and “BetterTrack Ride Hike Run Swim” app.

Sebastiaan de With:

If Apple wants to show regulators that the App Store is a safe and trusted environment to warrant its monopoly on software on iPhone, this kind of stuff shouldn’t exist — let alone be topping the App Store charts.

As a developer this makes me both mad and really sad.

I heard about this a while ago and was surprised to see this morning that it still hadn’t been removed, but it looks like Apple got to it later in the day.

Eddy Cue:

This year, more people than ever visited the App Store to discover and download the world’s most creative and cutting-edge apps and games in a safe and trusted environment.

[…]

Developers selling digital goods and services on the App Store have earned more than $320 billion since the platform’s 2008 launch, marking another year of record earnings.

Previously:

Update (2023-01-12): John Gruber:

I don’t think it’s feasible to expect App Store reviewers to catch every potential scam app. But as I’ve long argued, I do think it’s reasonable to expect Apple to catch every scam app that makes its way onto the list of most popular apps.

Florian Mueller:

As Mysk noted on Twitter, the App Store was even showing ads promoting that app while there were media reports out there flagging the issue[…]

TechCrunch updated its article to mention the belated removal of that app, but mentioned that plenty of other apps referencing ChatGPT still remained on the App Store.

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Reminds me of when Worlde made it big. I wonder how long it will take before people stop assuming that anything slightly interactive has to be a vanilla app.

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