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View Full Version : I thought people couldn't steal apps?




KarlJay
Jan 29, 2011, 05:33 AM
I just found this link:
http://www.taranfx.com/pirated-ios-app-store-ipa-apps-shared-bittorrent

I was under the impression that people couldn't steal Apple apps. Is this something new and is there anything a developer can do to stop this?

One of the reasons for wanting to go to Apple vs Droid is that i thought Droid apps were easy to steal and Apple's were hard to steal.

I know this doesn't matter with free/ad supported aps, but with higher end or paid aps this could really eat into returns.



Cromulent
Jan 29, 2011, 06:12 AM
Is this something new and is there anything a developer can do to stop this?

No and no.

Developers can't stop piracy at all. Ever. Just look at what has happened to the PS3 recently.

Microsoft try and fail. Adobe try and fail. If the two biggest software developers in the world try and fail, you will try and fail.

Don't waste your energy. Spend the time improving the app to get those who might purchase a bigger incentive. This is much better in my opinion than trying to stop people from pirating your app who will find a way to do it anyway. Plus even if you did stop them from pirating it they would never pay for it anyway.

firewood
Jan 29, 2011, 01:12 PM
94% of people can't steal apps (roughly the percentage of devices running the unmodified stock OS). Most of the rest spend no money, so it's best just to ignore them, unless they're thrashing your server or data feed or something.

PhoneyDeveloper
Jan 29, 2011, 05:51 PM
99% of all apps can be pirated by running a simple script that takes one second to run.

99% of all people who own jb devices can't pirate anything except with the script.

Adding simple pirate-checks to an app forces the hackers to spend time to pirate an app. While any app can be pirated with enough effort by the pirate a modest amount of effort on the part of the author will reduce the likelihood of the app to be pirated.

It's up to you to decide how much effort to put into this.

balamw
Jan 29, 2011, 05:55 PM
Is using in-app DLC a way to address (some) of this?

B

firewood
Jan 29, 2011, 08:57 PM
99% of all people who own jb devices can't pirate anything except with the script.

99% of people with non-stock OS devices don't even know about or can't even run this script. What they can do (almost half of them) is download from web sites where kiddies can gain more fame by uploading modified apps that can't be pirated just by using a script.

Some developers try to send take-down notices to these web sites. Not sure how successful that tactic has been.

So here are some numbers. About 6% of iPhones have modified OS's. According to metrics, almost half of those contain modified apps. That's about 3% of all iPhones. The percentage of these downloaders who can be converted to buying an app if the modified-to-free version won't work for them is said to be around 1 in 100, or 0.03% of all iPhone owners.

My guess is that the average developer could increase their paid customer base by far more than 0.03% by spending time writing a few press release, improving their app or just spiffing up their icon, rather than by spending the same amount of time on clever app bundle introspection and selective misbehavior. But maybe the latter is more fun for some developers. So YMMV.

PhoneyDeveloper
Jan 29, 2011, 10:22 PM
99% of people with non-stock OS devices don't even know about or can't even run this script.

I think you have that backwards. I'm sure that 99% of people with jb devices are aware that there are either cracked apps available that they can just download or know that they can run the script. There are versions of the script that run in a GUI app that anyone with a jb device can download.

I'm certain that EVERYONE with a jb device knows that there are cracked apps and knows that they can crack apps if they want. You're not really saying that only 1% of people with jb devices have ever heard of cracking apps, are you?

What I know is that when I googled "crack myAppName" I found that a version of it had been cracked. I further found a request on a hackers forum for someone to provide a cracked version of my app.

Spending a little time to prevent that dodo from cracking my app with a script seemed like time well spent.

firewood
Jan 29, 2011, 11:36 PM
Spending a little time to prevent that dodo from cracking my app with a script seemed like time well spent.

So you may have kept this one requester from using your app for free. Let's quantify that time well spent in dollars:

If you app was a tier 20 $19.99 app, and the reported 1% percent typical conversion rate applies, then your expected increase in revenue would average 14 cents. Most all iPhone developers can between charge between $20 to $250 per hour for their consulting time. 14 cents at these rates equals 25 to 2 seconds of a developers time. If you spent more time than 1 minute on this prevention, you seem to value your time at less minimum wage. If you are a top tier developer, and the app was only $1.99, just the time you spent reading about this dodo wasn't worth it, in terms of your potential iOS consulting time.

Now if you have a server, and 10's of thousands or millions of these downloaders are hitting it, then work in this area clearly becomes more economically worthwhile.

You're not really saying that only 1% of people with jb devices have ever heard of cracking apps, are you?

That number appears to be around 50%. But hearing about it and being able to do it are two completely different types of people. The ratio of uploaders to downloaders at these sites is reported to be quite small.