Scammy iOS app allegedly rips off iPhone users to the tune of $1 million per month
According to a tweet from the developer of keyboard app FlickType, there is an app in the App Store that is grossing $1 million a month even though it is a scam. Kosta Eleftheriou, who is suing Apple for allowing copycats and barely working rivals of his FlickType QWERTY app to list on the App Store (which works on the Apple Watch as well as on other Apple devices), has honed in on an app named StringVPN.
In a tweet he disseminated, Kosta says (Via AppleInsider) that various Apple regulations are violated by the app which he claims has fake 5-star reviews, appears on Safari pop-ups falsely saying that it is "recommended by Apple," doesn't have a website, and charges $9.99 per week allowing it to rake in $1 million a month. Eleftheriou is no doubt trying to bolster his lawsuit by pointing apps like this out on Twitter.
Apple says that it uses human reviewers to go through each submission to make sure that no App Store listing rips off consumers. And of course, Apple prevents the sideloading of apps from third-party App Stores to try and keep iOS users away from scams. The "walled garden" technique doesn't work if the problem is found to be "inside the garden.
StringVPN is accused of posting fake 5-star reviews
Apple also needs to guard against excessive app pricing and has started to take a longer look at some apps that offer in-app purchases. Various developers are being grilled by Apple about how they came up with the pricing for their apps and why a consumer needs a subscription for a particular app in the first place.
Last month, Apple filed a submission with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in which the company said that "Apple is surprised to hear that developers have legitimate concerns about their ability to engage with Apple in the app review process, in circumstances where the purpose of app review is to ensure the quality of apps on the App Store."
In that same submission, Apple addressed the practice of using human reviewers to vet app submissions. The company says that its human reviewers go through submitted apps "to ensure they are reliable, perform as expected, respect user privacy, and are free of objectionable content.