Some very naughty developers are scoring huge profits by working App Store policies and search advertisements. It is a clever piece of work, really. However, no scam goes unnoticed for too long, especially when Apple Inc (”NASDAQ”:”AAPL”) is involved. Evidently, the world’s most successful tech brand is no exception to bouts of mild corruption. This week sees light being shed on a popular scam that is rife within the app developer community.
Users are being tricked into downloading apps that scam them into paying bogus subscription fees. This problem is a longstanding issue, although it truly came to the fore over the last few months. Less that trustworthy apps feature on iOS and Android app stores. It is with the help of former Apple Inc. devs like Johnny Lin that the public gets greater insight into how they work.
Last weekend saw Lin publish a piece detailing just how severe and widespread app subscription scams are. The former Apple (”NASDAQ”:”AAPL”) dev says it a lot better, but the short read is, opportunistic developers can get users to download useless apps through well-placed ads and a little SEO. After that, users are encouraged to make bogus in-app purchases or pay for phony subscriptions.
Lin explains how shocking it is that these type of apps are allowed to be published. However, they don’t appear to violate any policies, at least not at first glace. This allows developers to make thousands of dollars off unsuspecting users before their apps are recognized for what they truly are.
Beyond their distasteful acts of exploiting vulnerable people for profit, Lin says “it’s extremely disheartening to to know that some developers are becoming financially successful the easy and unethical way.”
Running an app, making it stand out from the hoard of similar tools like it, and boosting its profitability is no easy task. App devs take pride in the value their apps add to people’s lives, Lin explained. If people find value in the services offered, they are willing to pay them and everyone wins. “Not only that, but making good apps requires design, engineering, and sales skills, as well as a ton of dedication and hard work.”
Yet there are developers out there that push out bogus tools which chip away at the integrity of the greater app community. Their software functions solely to steal from people who are less informed and unsuspecting. Sad to say, they can score several thousands from tools like these.
Apple Inc (AAPL) can stop the rise of scam app profits
Lin goes on to give advice on how to put an end to the spurge of app subscription scams. He beaks his advice down into two subjects. The include what users can do, and what Apple Inc. can do. On the user’s part, they need only be careful and spread the word. App scams need to be reported. People can also take legal actions against unethical practices, an option that can often seem too intimidating for many. But shady devs need to know it that awareness is growing about their practices too. A crackdown from both the public and platform regulators will go a long way towards limiting the reach of scam apps.
Apple Inc. also has to take the weight and ensure it has a fair and corruption-free platform. Lin admits it is hard to believe that the company is unaware of the ongoing scams. “They’re all over the top lists on the App Store,” he wrote over the weekend. The developer thinks Apple Inc doesn’t see these apps a much of issue. Besides, their Search Ads and App Store services benefit massively too.
Apple can do a better job of letting people know how to terminate subscriptions and reverse transactions and how to go about claiming for refunds. App Stores should have stricter review measures too. Perhaps putting fraud and abuse awareness flags on widely reported apps will help things as well.
Make no mistake, Apple Inc.’s (”NASDAQ”:”AAPL”) App Store scams are extremely lucrative. According to Lin, “a quick search turns up a small sample of App Store scams.” These total around $600,000 per month or $7.2 million per year.