Former App Store app demanded a three-star rating before it would open
Kosta Eleftheriou, the app developer behind the FlickType Keyboard for the Apple Watch, has been on a mission shining light on scammy App Store apps. His latest discovery was revealed in a series of tweets and is an app whose developer has racked up 15 million installs and millions of dollars in revenue. The app, called UPNP Xtreme, was supposed to stream video to a user's television set.
Now apparently pulled from the App Store, UPNP Xtreme opened to reveal the App Store ratings box immediately after the user tapped on the app. As strange as that sounds, there is more and it is even worse; the app demanded that you give it at least a three-star rating in the App Store in order to function.
Eleftheriou says that there was no way to avoid running into the ratings box immediately upon opening the app, and the app refused to register any one or two-star reviews. While this behavior was verified by The Verge, some Twitter users claim that they were able to dismiss the ratings box or leave a lower numerical review. A video posted on Twitter by Eleftheriou shows how the app won't even allow a user to reduce the number of stars below three.
The review: “This app forced me to give it a good rating before I could use it.”— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) May 25, 2021
You: “Pfff, no one’s FORCING you!”
The app: pic.twitter.com/R6ytFAguhU
What has Eleftheriou upset is that while Apple has removed over 100 apps based on his detective work, it couldn't discover the scams before approving these listings for the App Store. He also wrote on Twitter that "This trick is EXTREMELY easy for any developer to do, and not limited to this app." The developer himself has had some issues with Apple and the App Store when the FlickType Keyboard fell behind in the App Store ratings battle to copycats and apps with falsified ratings numbers.
One user said that he was able to give the app just one star by going back to the App Store to change his review. Others who also were able to generate a one-star rating mentioned that at first they had to give the app three-stars for it to provide whatever functionality it delivered.