Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Report details how scammers are abusing App Store & Search Ads

Apple has rolled out massive update for its users Apple won't let apps annoy you with their own review prompts anymore
Rosalie Gross | 15 June, 2017, 01:19

Apple takes a 30% cut on every purchase, from the App Store or in-app.

"For full-time developers like myself, it's such a shock and disappointment to see the wrong behavior being rewarded". Apps may add in-app purchase currencies for tipping purposes, but Apple will get 30% as commission. Unfortunately, Apple has no filter to sift through search ads as of now. He confirmed on Sensor Tower, a site that provides estimates of app revenue, that this app's estimated revenue was $80,000/month.

Lin dug deeper and found several other similar apps making money off the same scam, suggesting a wider disturbing trend, with scam apps regularly showing up in the App Store's top grossing lists. Tapping on the trial offer then threw up a Touch ID authentication prompt containing the text "You will pay $99.99 for a 7-day subscription starting Jun 9, 2017".

To be fair, search is a new frontier for Apple. Also, much like its competition, it can integrate with smart home devices to allows users to control their home electronics by talking to the speaker. Google has spent more than a decade battling people who use spammy methods to game its search engine so some learning curve is to be expected. "It seems like scammers are bidding on many other keywords".

However that's something that Apple wants to change and in the latest App Review guidelines that was updated this week, Apple will now be disallowing the use of custom prompts for app ratings. But there's still the question of how they even pass the review process.

Apple has been notoriously opaque about its review process, which has been a source of frustration to many developers over the years.

This will only allow apps to show review pop-ups three times a year, and will block apps from presenting the pop-up if you have already rated them. That's not all that unusual, particularly for an app that was created to scan your contacts to look for duplicates, but again, it's something you don't want to allow an untrustworthy app to do. To earn that amount the app would only need around 200 subscribers. And, if you do fall victim to one of these apps, obtaining a refund is as confusing as canceling your subscription in the first place. However, some social-networking apps have likened Apple's tactic to arm-twisting, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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