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There’s a scam for that

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Saturday December 12, 2009 )

iPhone app developers knocking off other apps or gaming the iTunes App Store rating system be warned – Apple is on the case.

A software developer hawking over a thousand iPhone applications was recently ejected from the iTunes App Store.

It seems the Chinese software company was making its bucks through copying other iPhone developers’ applications. Additionally, they were receiving many top ratings or very low ratings – nothing in the middle; pointing to the likelihood of gaming the App ranking system.

According to an article on Wired, the software company’s ratings scam was based on giving out promotional codes for free copies of the applications in return for 5-star reviews.

Unfortunately for those who did fork out cash for the copycat apps, it appears they’ll just have to wear it – refunds are unlikely. However, no doubt Apple will be taking a closer look at its library, approval and rating system as the latter is a very powerful signal to people shopping for apps as to the quality of the software. If the rating system gets a bad reputation, it will impact on sales and that not only affects developers, but Apple too – as they get a healthy slice of the buy price.

Kicking out the software developer put quite a dent in the App library – Wired estimates it represented 1 percent of the entire App Store catalog.

I’m yet to acquire an iPhone, but after taking a look at the devices owned by people I know, I’m looking forward to getting one. I can’t remember the last time I was excited by cell phones and handhelds. It just looks like an incredibly useful tool, and whatever the task there indeed seems to be “an app for that”. Who knows, I might even take a stab at creating an app or two myself :).


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