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App Store scams and Apple’s priorities

It’s hard to feel good about the App Store when Apple removes perfectly fine apps for not using their payment system while scam apps run amok. It makes you question their priorities a bit.

WatchChat Alex spent three years building a successful Apple Watch app, only to have his business destroyed by fake apps stealing his work to scam people. Apple, meanwhile, haven’t done much to stop it.

I have spent the last four years of my life working on my very successful app only to have it ruined by scam apps with very obvious fake reviews as well as false advertising claims that Apple does not take action against. I can literally prove they are fake but Apple refuses to take action for undisclosed reasons, allowing thousands of more people getting scammed by these apps day by day.

Alex story follows that of Kosta Eleftherious, who shared his battle with another Apple Watch related scam:

The App Store has a big problem 👇 You: an honest developer, working hard to improve your IAP conversions. Your competitor: a $2M/year scam running rampant

There are more, of course.

Meanwhile, apps have been knocked back from the App Store because they didn’t include Apple system for in-app payments (among various other reasons, some good and some baffling).

Apple seem to be doing two things at once:

  1. Claiming that the App Store is necessary to keep customers safe
  2. Failing to staff their app review team well

Scam apps are a problem in and of themselves: they rob people of money. Apple’s failure to catch them speaks to a bigger problem. They’ll dock apps quickly if, for example, don’t include their in-app payment system (from which they take a 30% cut) but they, for whatever reason, haven’t taken action on scam apps that rake in a whole lot money for fraudulent developers and, of course, Apple.

There’s a lot we can’t know here. We don’t know how many scam apps get taken down quickly and we don’t know how many never make it through the review process. Maybe we only ever see 1% of those submitted to the store.

But we can only assess what we see and, right now, less than a year out from a brouhaha over apps not using Apple’s in-app payment system there’s another tussle over their inability to take down scam apps that are making them a lot of money.

Taken one after another, it’s starts to paint a picture, you know?

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