🚨Apple’s @AppStore remains a hotbed of multi-million dollar scams🚨

1/ Here’s how:👇 Image
Let’s search for “watch faces” - a popular Apple Watch search term - and start with the top organic result: “Watch Faces Gallery Collection”.

With 4.4 stars, thousands of ratings, and a fake “Editors’ Selection” badge (sigh), it looks like a solid app.

apps.apple.com/us/app/watch-f… ImageImage
That “featured” 2-star review was a little concerning though. Let’s take a closer look at the “Most Helpful” reviews:🔍 ImageImageImageImage

“PLEASE READ!!!!!!!! Everyone please reach out to the App Store to complain!”

“very poor decision on Apple’s part to continue to let a thief like this sell apps in their store”

So Apple has been ignoring their own customers’ complaints for months… ImageImageImageImage
My internal tool also shows that if we just consider the 112 written reviews, this app’s rating is 1.3-stars.☠️

Since people really hate this app, how does it have a 4.4 overall rating?🤨 Image
Back to the search results, let’s now look at the prominent ad at the top:

“Watch Faces ®” (sigh) has 4.5 stars from 1.3K ratings, and a glowing “featured” review.

Seems like a high-quality app - or is it?

apps.apple.com/us/app/watch-f… ImageImage
When we look deeper, a similar pattern emerges. There are only 33 reviews, averaging just 2.0 stars.☠️

Here’s what people are actually saying about this app: ImageImageImageImage
As if that wasn’t enough, the same developer has:
- a $120/year “QR Code Reader ®” app (also 4.5 stars)
- a $144/year “Printer App for AirPrint” app (also 4.5 stars)
- a $144/year “PDF Editor ®“ app (also 4.5 stars)
- and many more apps with the same pattern… ImageImage
As any developer will tell you, good ratings are VITAL for a business. They bring more downloads, thus more revenue.

This developer has so far grossed over $4,500,000!

Out of that, Apple has already pocketed more than a MILLION dollars in commissions, by simply neglecting to police fake ratings or listen to these complaints - while ALSO charging for these Search Ads!

So how does this happen, exactly?🤔
Shady developers simply BUY fake ratings for their apps.

That’s it. That's the fuel that virtually all scams need, in order to sustain themselves.

Just open this Google search and you will find HUNDREDS of different “companies” to buy ratings from: google.com/search?q=buy+a… ImageImageImageImage
Apple often lets scams stay up for months, even YEARS.

And if/when they take them down, scammers just open a new developer account.

Even worse, Apple - the company that claims to put users first - does NOT automatically refund the users who were scammed!

Why don’t they??🤔
Unless they’re on the hook for scam revenue or have competing app stores, Apple is disincentivized from doing much about it.

Sure, some users might spend less after being repeatedly scammed, but the pool of new and unsuspecting users is enormous, almost never-ending.
This has been happening for years, and I’ve personally found HUNDREDS of scams ever since I realized this was negatively affecting my own business - and still is!

So now you know. “The apps you love. From the only place you can get them.” Image

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More from @keleftheriou

15 Sep
.@GoodNotesApp vs their scam competitor: ImageImage
Uhm, where is the free trial I was promised? Is anyone minding the App Store? ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
14 Sep
And since Apple really loves California as much as I do: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californi…
For those who don’t know, I’ve already filed a lawsuit against Apple: washingtonpost.com/technology/202…
Read 5 tweets
15 Apr
This @AppStore app pretends to be a silly platformer game for children 4+, but if I set my VPN to Turkey and relaunch it becomes an online casino that doesn’t even use Apple’s IAP.

The developer uses shady ads to attract unsuspecting users, pretending the app was featured on CNN Turk.
Once people follow the ad, they are taken to this App Store page. Notice the abundance of coins and the “Install and win” copy.

In order to pass App Review the app claims to be “a fun running game”, and in the US works like an extremely basic and very poorly designed kids game.
Read 12 tweets
14 Apr
WARNING: Another top-grossing VPN scam is on the @AppStore

Stay clear! 🚨

How to spot this $5M/year scam in 5 minutes flat: 👇
The app’s screenshots are pretty standard, while the description is riddled with typos - and almost feels like it’s *trying* to be a big unreadable wall of text:
The app has 4 stars with hundreds of ratings, and the featured review by “Corianna Patience” is totally singing its praises:
Read 25 tweets
13 Apr
How it started / how it’s going.

Since I exposed this scam yesterday, its ratings have dropped dramatically. What happened?

Apple removed some of the fake reviews, resulting in the drop. Great news, right? Not so fast.

There are 120 reviews for this app right now. Of those, 114 are 1-star reviews. The average review score?

1.1 stars ☠️


As a reminder, the absolute floor is 1, not 0
*Nobody* is happy with this app. Most are accusing it of being a scam. Some of the ratings are probably fake too, “boosting” it to 2.4 stars.

Why does any of this matter?

The app is currently the #441 top grossing app across the entire App Store 🤯

To put this in perspective:
Read 6 tweets
12 Apr
You think the @AppStore is “a place you can trust”?

🚨Think again!🚨

How to spot a $5M/year scam, in 5 minutes flat:👇
This app has 4.1 stars with over 1,000 ratings, and a really nice 5-star featured review:
Let’s slide over to the next reviews, which are not immediately visible:
Read 19 tweets

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