Apple Cracking Down on Developers Spamming the App Store With Duplicate Apps

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Just one day after exposing a handful of developers spamming the App Store with duplicate VoIP apps, a clear violation of the App Store Review Guidelines, TechCrunch reports that Apple has removed many of the apps from the App Store.


However, the report notes that plenty of duplicate apps remain available in other categories, such as photo printing. MailPix Inc., for example, has released three different apps that all offer same-day photo printing at nearby CVS or Walgreens locations. All three apps appear to be virtually identical in functionality.

By releasing duplicate apps on the App Store, developers are able to game the search results by using different names, categories, and keywords.


As the report mentions, the primary issue here is that Apple is not consistently enforcing its App Store Review Guidelines, which warn developers that "spamming the store may lead to your removal from the Developer Program." This can lead to an unfair playing field for developers who do abide by the rules.

With millions of apps on the App Store, it is likely that quite a few other duplicate apps have slipped through the cracks, but hopefully the increased awareness results in Apple cracking down more on these rule-breaking developers.

Article Link: Apple Cracking Down on Developers Spamming the App Store With Duplicate Apps
 

Xenomorph

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2008
1,297
521
St. Louis
"Apple Cracking Down on Developers Spamming the App Store With Duplicate Apps"

Good. Plus, I soooooo wish Google would do this, as well.

It's not always the same developer. A third-party may provide an open-source app or sell an app to "developers" that they can then put on the app store as their own.
The end result is you have several different developers all selling the same app.

I was searching for a duplicate photo cleaning, and I kept seeing the same app over and over, released by different developers.

Both Apple and Google have this crap, and they both are filled with fake 5-star reviews.
 

Dave-Z

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
726
1,169
I'm not sure Apple actually cares about spam, what with the fact that they do it themselves:

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/12/18/apple-unsolicited-notifications/

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/02/15/apple-music-gift-subscription-friend/

These days actions against shady developers only seems to happen when the media reports it.

On a positive note, maybe it means legitimate apps won't be rejected for providing genuine utility (volume button as a camera shutter incident from years ago comes to mind).
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,265
3,001
Chicago
More proof that Apple does nothing.

If an app on their store steals or destroys your information and you get enough press interest, then they'll consider taking it down.

That's all their customer care amounts to these days.
So you didn't read anything in the article, just felt the need to complain about something completely unrelated?
 

ikramerica

macrumors 6502
Apr 10, 2009
385
357
The photo apps listed are not identical in name, and the name matters because each is associated with a different photo related company.

Ritz camera is a retail chain.
Photobucket is an online photo repository.

Assuming that the parent company has a licensing deal with each company, why cant they have twp apps?

The logic of this article is flawed.
 
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WannaGoMac

macrumors 68020
Feb 11, 2007
2,333
2,951
So you didn't read anything in the article, just felt the need to complain about something completely unrelated?
I try to avoid the forum comments here lately. It's become just full of negative people complaining about everything. Many years ago these forums weren't so full of negative folks...

Guess its really true, humans are more motivated online to be negative than positive .
 

BuddyTronic

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2008
1,175
799
You’d think they would have already been on top of that problem long time ago. What is it over there - all day coffee break for Apple geniuses?
[doublepost=1551286959][/doublepost]
Thanks for the tears. Sometimes I wish MacRumors would do more to censor away eternally repeating whining.
I agree with you, but it’s just so incredible that Apple is so daft on so many things. To me it seems that people working at Apple are not even using their own products! How can they not see, and immediately correct so many issues?

I’m the biggest Apple fanboy, but truly some things merit some scolding at Apple.

Horrible Apple Music interfaces, App Store interface, can’t properly search for anything on Mac OS or iOS, MagSafe removed from MacBook Pro, lame keyboards, overpriced and endless dongles - I can list a dozen more “issues” that are plain to see for anyone using Apple products. It’s frustrating that Apple doesn’t seem to see it.
 
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tgate

macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2019
1
0
Apple continues to ignore the fact that a big company like Zynga is allowed to have three versions of Words With Friends that are all the exact same game. At one point they were different versions of the game, but they merged all the codebases into one and now they are all the same.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-classic/id321916506?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-2-word-game/id1196764367?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-word-game/id804379658?mt=8
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
14,486
9,156
California
Apple needs a SVP of App Store enforcement whose sole job it is to police this crap and stay ahead of the attempts to game the system.
[doublepost=1551289778][/doublepost]
Apple continues to ignore the fact that a big company like Zynga is allowed to have three versions of Words With Friends that are all the exact same game. At one point they were different versions of the game, but they merged all the codebases into one and now they are all the same.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-classic/id321916506?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-2-word-game/id1196764367?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-word-game/id804379658?mt=8
They’ve actually allowed companies to do this in the past (also, for example, with separate iPad and iPhone versions that converged into a single version) to allow people to continue to just update whichever app they already have installed and not have to install the other version and delete the one they already have. As long as it isn’t being done to game the system, Apple hasn’t had a problem with it. This is because there is no way in the App Store for developers to say “merge these apps together and for now on, when I provide an update, push it to people who have any of the old apps.”
 

developer13245

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2012
561
774
Apple has never consistently enforced the App Store review guidelines.

I've worked several iOS "proof of concept" apps that never went anywhere because we did not have a high enough level of confidence in the App Store monetization methods.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2016
993
1,089
La Jolla, CA
As an iOS App Dev, I know first-hand what "the main problem" is with the iOS App Store ... first, it was Eddie Cue, & now it's Phil Schiller.

Neither had or has the necessary intelligence OR relevant experience to know how to fix the problems.

Solving NOT just the Duplicate App issue, but the entire iOS App Store issue (i.e., 99% are crap apps, & ONLY 1% are viable & credible), AAPL needs to impose "a new tax," on App Devs.

Very specifically, AAPL should inform ALL App Devs that it will NOW cost them, including me, $300 per app, to keep it in the App Store.

Set the due date for End of March.

A one-time-fee of $300 per app will go along ways towards cleaning up the mess that is the iOS App Store.

I promoted this to Cook & Schiller years ago ... yet, as usual, NO action was ever taken.

I do NOT know why they are IN-capable of fixing the iOS App Store.

The problems are fairly-easily fixed.

That tells me the people running the show aren't of the right Sort.
 

developer13245

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2012
561
774
More proof that Apple does nothing.

If an app on their store steals or destroys your information and you get enough press interest, then they'll consider taking it down.

That's all their customer care amounts to these days.
Even better: If you're a large company like Uber, you can willfully violate Apple's privacy rules - and even willfully build in methods to avoid detection.

Smaller developers have been barred from the app store for making honest mistakes. But the Uber CEO will was invited to a "sit down" with Tim Cook. Such behavior is the exact definition of a "Tech Mafia". "Timmy the boss"
 

developer13245

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2012
561
774
As an iOS App Dev, I know first-hand what "the main problem" is with the iOS App Store ... first, it was Eddie Cue, & now it's Phil Schiller.

Neither had or has the necessary intelligence OR relevant experience to know how to fix the problems.

Solving NOT just the Duplicate App issue, but the entire iOS App Store issue (i.e., 99% are crap apps, & ONLY 1% are viable & credible), AAPL needs to impose "a new tax," on App Devs.

Very specifically, AAPL should inform ALL App Devs that it will NOW cost them, including me, $300 per app, to keep it in the App Store.

Set the due date for End of March.

A one-time-fee of $300 per app will go along ways towards cleaning up the mess that is the iOS App Store.

I promoted this to Cook & Schiller years ago ... yet, as usual, NO action was ever taken.

I do NOT know why they are IN-capable of fixing the iOS App Store.

The problems are fairly-easily fixed.

That tells me the people running the show aren't of the right Sort.
I understand where you're coming from. I'm also a developer.

Apple cannot implement a "per App" charge due to anti-trust laws. I know this sounds strange, but the key point is that a "per App" fee becomes a succinct, measurable cost for each app. Such a method would make anti-trust laws more "applicable" and increase the likelihood of legal action. Apple "gets around" anti-trust laws by only charging a nominal fee for a program membership.

The only solution is to open up the iOS platform so developers can sell directly to end users, or through other 3rd party app stores. This works on the Mac platform, so there is no technical reason iOS cannot also work this way.
 

Romeo_Nightfall

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2018
551
607
Vienna
I wish there was an A and B store. A is heavily quality controlled by apple SPECIALISTS not some ...
B can have in all the trash if the world wishes

I see no reason why I should bother with B if I don’t want.

Big corporations will get interest in an A listing, or they are done!

It’s easy as that, ... I know too easy ...
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
21,013
8,777
Gotta be in it to win it
I'm not sure Apple actually cares about spam, what with the fact that they do it themselves:

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/12/18/apple-unsolicited-notifications/

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/02/15/apple-music-gift-subscription-friend/

These days actions against shady developers only seems to happen when the media reports it.

On a positive note, maybe it means legitimate apps won't be rejected for providing genuine utility (volume button as a camera shutter incident from years ago comes to mind).
You're equating spamming apps with email spam? Maybe a false equivalency, but that’s me.
 

developer13245

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2012
561
774
I wish there was an A and B store. A is heavily quality controlled by apple SPECIALISTS not some ...
B can have in all the trash if the world wishes

I see no reason why I should bother with B if I don’t want.

Big corporations will get interest in an A listing, or they are done!

It’s easy as that, ... I know too easy ...
Well, If there are A and B stores, what's to prevent C and beyond? Again this is an anti-trust law issue.

Essentially, Apple is playing the same "skirt the rules" game with anti-trust law that Apple developers are playing with App Store guidelines. Oh the Irony!

Apple has successfully prevented competition in the mobile software App Store business. But now this lack of competition is only hurting Apple iOS device hardware sales.

Apple did not invent Mobile software Apps, or App Stores. So what makes anyone think "someone else" cannot develop a better mouse trap (app store) than Apple?

Apple has eschewed the paid app with paid upgrade model from the very beginning because they claim it will not work. But instead Apple has implemented the "Rube Goldberg machine" of mobile software monetization in their App Store.

Ok, so what if an alternate (competitor) App Store just decided to stick with the paid app/upgrade model? Or independent developers just sold directly to customers? Neither of these distribution methods excludes Apple from running their App Store. Customers would have the choice to continue using the Apple App Store exclusively, or shop at an alternative with alternative monetization methods. If Apple's POS "Rube Goldberg machine" is the best then it will prevail. If not then Apple can compete by adding other monetization methods that work for developers and customers. But this is what competition looks like and Apple will not have it.