Indie Developer Dogged By Scammy Clone Apps Once more Highlights the Holes in Apple’s App Retailer Evaluation Course of

Apps that replicate ideas and options from different apps are nothing new within the ‌App Retailer‌, however scammy like-for-like clones of real apps stay a perennial downside that Apple nonetheless hasn’t resolved, as indie developer Kevin Archer not too long ago found.

iOS App Store General Feature Dock
Archer is chargeable for 2Stable’s Authenticator App, a feature-rich app that shops and generates safe two-factor authentication tokens for on-line accounts. Final week, Archer discovered one other app within the ‌App Retailer‌ going by the identical identify that appears suspiciously related: “Authenticator – App” by Russian firm Byte Service.

Archer claims that the copycat app has not solely lifted paintings and textual content from his app word-for-word, but it surely has additionally left in references to real options of his app that the clone app does not really embrace, resembling Apple Watch assist.

As well as, counter to Apple’s developer pointers, the cloned app asks customers for an App Retailer evaluation in the course of the onboarding stage. It additionally requires a $3.99 weekly subscription, which might quantity to over $200 yearly if a consumer forgot to cancel.

Archer later discovered one other occasion of the app within the ‌App Retailer‌, simply with a distinct icon. Archer says the app was submitted through a distinct developer account, but it surely additionally incorporates the identical cloned parts originating from his personal real app.

Reacting to his findings on Twitter, Archer wrote: “I actually do not perceive how these apps move the ‌App Retailer‌ evaluation with options that do not work, with a copied design, forcing customers to evaluation their app earlier than even seeing it, and naturally with a weekly subscription.”

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Archer went on to say that indie builders repeatedly get their apps “rejected for foolish issues,” whereas others “spam [the] ‌App Retailer‌ with imitations and weekly subscriptions.”

The issue of rip-off iOS apps has dogged Apple’s ‌‌App Retailer‌‌ for some years now. Again in 2012, Apple’s Phil Schiller was completely livid when a pretend app made it to the highest of the ‌‌App Retailer‌‌ rankings, in line with paperwork shared within the Epic v. Apple trial.

Lately there have been concerted efforts by some builders to spotlight that the issue stays as huge as ever in not less than some app classes. Simply final yr, Apple was hit with a lawsuit from developer Kosta Eleftheriou over the issue of rip-off and copycat apps on the ‌App Retailer‌. Apple is dealing with the same lawsuit with the makers behind the hit-game PUBG Cell.

In the previous few months, the difficulty of ‌App Retailer‌ rip-off apps has turn into a lightning rod for Apple, with some estimates suggesting rip-off apps on the platform have made thousands and thousands in income. Most not too long ago, the mainstream sport Wordle grew to become the newest sufferer of the App Retailer’s downside. Wordle clones sprang up throughout the ‌App Retailer‌ as the sport unfold in recognition, and a few copycat apps even supplied in-app subscriptions, even supposing the unique sport is fully free to play.

Apple not too long ago restored the “Report a Downside” choice on the ‌App Retailer‌ for builders to flag points and fight scams. When chosen, the choice directs customers to a web site with a drop-down menu to report ‌‌App Retailer‌‌ violations, together with a selected choice to “Report a rip-off or fraud.” Nevertheless, builders usually stay pissed off that there is no method to get in contact instantly with the ‌App Retailer‌ group to tell them of scammy apps that deceptively feed off their very own innovations for monetary achieve.

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(Thanks, Craig!)

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