Apple Says 1,000 Fraudulent Reviews Were Detected Across Two Accounts Owned by 'Dash' Developer [Update: Developer Responds]

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Feenician macrumors 601

    Feenician

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    #276
    Yes. Agreed.

    You are really reaching here guys. Really.
     
  2. CarlJ, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016

    CarlJ macrumors 68020

    CarlJ

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    #277
    It's not clear that Apple lied. Statements like, "Warning was given in advance of the termination and attempts were made to resolve the issue with the developer but they were unsuccessful," give no indication that they had an actual two-way conversation with him - this could very well mean that they've sent a handful of warning emails to the email address for the second account over the past two years - and those emails could be going to the sister and not him, and she could be ignoring or deleting them (or even putting Apple off with, "oh I'll take care of it"). From Apple's perspective, they could have sent repeated warning emails to the address they had on file for the secondary account, without ever receiving a response, and it would fit the statement mentioned above. Without Apple releasing details of, "we sent X message on Y date to email address Z and got response ABC", there's no telling what message, if any, actually got through to the Dash developer. (And Apple is unlikely to release such details.)
    --- Post Merged, Oct 11, 2016 ---
    It's quite clear you've made up your mind, I won't bother you with poking holes in your logic any further on this topic, as it's clear the effort on my part is wasted. It's just hard to see people vehemently defending flawed arguments.
     
  3. Analog Kid, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016

    Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    #278
    Two accounts with the same credit card, same developer account login, same bundle ID, same bank account, same family name, and same hardware. The other account was using bundle IDs of com.kapeli, and the Kapeli blog is titled "Ramblings of Kapeli's Sole Developer". Any reasonable person would look at that and say "look at that, one person, two accounts, one is spamming".

    Counter to that, BIGBY Bogdan hasn't shown a shred of evidence of any of his claims other that a few blog posts and yet Apple was willing to take him at his word and rectify the situation. I like his app too, so I want to believe him, but there's no direct evidence to support what he's saying.

    Nothing was shut down without notice, this was a 2 year process. It's not Apple's fault that Bogdan is sharing his developer ID and not overseeing what happens with it-- as far as they knew they were contacting Kapeli's sole developer. Apple continued to discuss reinstatement at least up until the time he decided to try and score internet points by posting a recording of Apple actually saying they want to make it right and Bogdan acknowledging he was connected to a fraudulent account. This wouldn't happen to a larger business because a larger business would have made the blog post and would not have covertly recorded a phone conversation and published it to the web.

    You're looking for an Apple-at-all-costs goat here, so there's not much point in arguing further.
     
  4. CarlJ macrumors 68020

    CarlJ

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    #279
    He said "relative" and "her", I think the collective mind here on the forum filled in "sister" from that; it's arguably useful shorthand, even if inaccurate.
     
  5. Feenician macrumors 601

    Feenician

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    #280
    Well I agree. It's quite clear what happened here.
     
  6. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    #281
    Seems that whole family is getting smeared by association...

    Whichever third cousin caused all this is going to be sitting alone at the next family reunion... o_O
     
  7. MH01 Suspended

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #282
    You have a valid point.

    Though I doubt Apple will realise the huge oversight in regards to this Developer, that they missed the fact the said example has 1/2 million reviews and they just happen to be 5 stars.

    There is no need for users to report individual obvious cases. You run an analytics query on the back end and identify the accounts that are being created to push reviews. Its really simple to isolate these cases. The question the poster raised is a valid one, do you turn a blind eye if manipulated apps (reviews) are bringing in the bacon.
     
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #283
    Can't be done by any iOS developer. Only Apple has the customer list and contact info (and won't give it out due the their strict privacy agreement with said customers), and thus only Apple can do refunds. The best a developer can do it to post on their blog or website letting anyone know that they can individually try to ask Apple for a refund if they want (which, according to some reports, any customer can do at any time for any app anyway...)
     
  9. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #284
    How do you know the two accounts shared the same developer ID? Bogdan claims that he used his credit card to pay for his relative's developer account. So wouldn't his relative have gotten her own developer ID when the second account was created?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2016 ---
    Is there evidence that he was funding fraud? I haven't listened to the recorded conversation, as I'm hard of hearing. Was there anything in the conversation to indicate his credit card was used to pay for the fraudulent reviews? All I saw from his blog post was he admits to using his credit card to create his relative's account. But no indication whether or not his credit card was tied in any other way to activities related to the second account.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2016 ---
    What does this mean? Is it an acronym?
     
  10. Otaviano macrumors 6502a

    Otaviano

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    #285
    This reminds me of the Steve Jobs clips from All Things D when he spoke about how people get kicked out of the App Store and go running to the media and never tell the whole story.

    My take on this, from what I read and what I heard on the conversation, is that this developer is most likely guilty of the what he is being accused of. There are two accounts which are partially linked. Sharing the same credit card and banking information. They also share testing devices. This guy sure is generous to pay for people's accounts and give them development devices.

    That is what we seems to know from the phone call that both parties confirm. Beyond that I do not think there is much anyone can prove. If the developer denies it and claims the account is no longer his there is not much Apple can do. They are not going to send people there to investigate.

    They decide to believe him or terminate the account.

    The fact that this conversation exists in my opinion is due to the fact that he had a popular app with developers. So his story got traction and became a thing. At that point Apple probably figures they can accept that the fraudulent account belongs to his "relative" and reinstate the other account just to have the story die down and go away.
     
  11. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #286
    Using your credit card to do a transaction for someone who doesn't have one doesn't necessarily mean you actually paid for that thing. Usually the way it works is you put the transaction on your credit card and the other person pays you back. In countries where not everyone has credit cards, it's common to do this kind of favor for close friends and relatives. It's also common to pass on used devices to friends and relatives. So just these two things don't seem indicative of wrongdoing to me.
     
  12. Otaviano macrumors 6502a

    Otaviano

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    #287
    But they are indicative of there being a link between two accounts. One of which committed fraud. So to me Apple's action was correct.

    Once the person starts to deny it becomes a he say/she say situation. Apple is not going to go and investigate if he really has a relative who is running the fraudulent account.
     
  13. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #288
    If I use my credit card to buy my cousin a bike (for which he gives me the money), and he subsequently gets into an accident while riding said bike, I don't expect to be held responsible for his actions just because my credit card was used to buy his bike.

    I'm not a dev, so I don't know if there is a clause somewhere in the dev agreement stating that the owner of the credit card is considered the owner of the dev account. But for most credit card transactions, just paying for something doesn't make you responsible for how it is used (or abused).
     
  14. Otaviano, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Otaviano macrumors 6502a

    Otaviano

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    #289
    That is not really a fair example.

    Something more accurate would be you have a car registered to you. You give said car to a friend. He hits and runs and now the police have found their way back to you because you are registered for the car. That is essentially what has happened. From there two things can happen. You can prove to the police that you were not driving the car. Or you can not.

    As for the credit card, and devices not making him responsible I disagree. They show a link between two accounts and Apple is within their rights to remove ALL accounts they suspect are involved. He really has no one to blame for this but himself and the burden of proof is completely on him and not on Apple.

    He is lucky he made a popular dev app and some of the rockstar Apple indie devs made his case a big deal. This type of thing probably occurs regularly and you never hear about it. People having two accounts, one of which is used for nefarious purposes is very common.
     
  15. Night Spring, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #290
    Are you a dev? Can you point out where in the Apple dev agreement or resgistration process it is stated that using your credit card to pay for a dev account makes you responsible for it?

    I do agree that the only reason we are hearing about this case is that the app in question was popular with well-known devs and bloggers. And it does seem that the dev has been at least a little naive. And maybe he is just making up excuses to cover his misbehavior. But to me, the story of doing a favor for a relative who didn't have a credit card seems credible, because for a long time, I didn't have a credit card and often had to ask people to help me out with paying for things with their credit cards. And now that I have one, I'd be willing to do the same for someone else.
     
  16. Mascots macrumors 65832

    Mascots

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #291
    Obviously the information in the two accounts was separate. They, as a company, did not do their due dilligence - you talk about Apple as an infallible entity checking every avenue presented to them, but the very fact that they did not contact the other account means they shut down his account without notice and tripped up. Seriously, the card was in his name, the fraudulent account was not: that's just a single avenue that Apple should be embarrassed about not questioning in the first place.

    I would moreorless agree that he would be responsible had they actually been in contact and he continued to pay for a fraudulent account, but that isn't what happened because of Apple, not because of him.

    Then there is Apple contacting him to work with him, trying to control the narrative, and finally smearing his name with falsehoods. Really great move towards someone who is obviously represents an ideal Indie Developer. A massive company uses its fanboy base armed with nothing but their word which was wrong. Since you're so into this POV, why don't you just explain why a massive company made a show with the PR release on Sunday after working with him and leaving him hanging? He didn't post the audio until after, which saved his name in my eyes but breaking their word. So far he's done nothing to break his other than omit knowledge he had no way of knowing about until after Apple started taking heat and explained. No lies. And explainantions just as people want.

    I don't know what an Apple-at-all-goat is, but the very fact you love to throw around ideas like Hitler Apple for those who don't see them in every positive light is moreorless a sign that you need to pull your head out of somewhere. The fact that you can't see any fault with a company is a little sad. Done.
     
  17. frumpsnake, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    frumpsnake macrumors member

    frumpsnake

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    #292
    Gather round, folks, let me tell you a story.

    So 5 or 6 years ago, this guy named Bogdan Popescu starts a company called Kapeli and writes a bunch of Shovelware. Puts out a bunch of PR for crap like MoveAddict.
    http://www.macworld.co.uk/opinion/a...ly-able-cutpaste-files-merge-folders-3485573/
    http://imgur.com/C2vjkig

    All of this is featured on his website, kapeli.com. There in the header...moveAddict, iGuard…and something called ‘Dash’.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120409173750/http://kapeli.com/
    http://imgur.com/W94bGnl

    {edit:
    Even his old Twitter posts confirm this.
    https://twitter.com/kapeli/status/24561715939
    http://imgur.com/qYSESjl
    }

    Over time, Dash explodes in popularity. It fills a niche and is actually legitimately useful. He “goes legit”, creates a new dev account tied to the same com.kapeli bundle identifier. Suddenly — publically, to those who can’t see his bundle identifiers — it’s the only app he makes!
    https://webcache.googleusercontent....popescu/id404213174+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au
    http://imgur.com/gGccgDj

    But what to do with all the other shovelware though? Not to worry, it can stay on the other account. Spam some reviews, get some idiots to buy it, easy beer money on the side. Let’s just change the author to “Mihaela” instead.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent....46869+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ie&client=safari
    https://i.imgur.com/m70tauN.png
    (There's our good friends, moveAddict and iGuard!)

    During a routine Apple account transfer…he gets caught.

    All of a sudden he cries foul. There WAS a second account, but it’s not his! It’s a female family member’s. It was some account that he had nothing to do with. He forgot about it! It’s ancient history!

    …it just houses literally *everything* the guy previously created that isn’t Dash. Including apps such as moveAddict and iGuard previously prominently featured on the dude’s website and PR spam. In his name.

    Now both Apple and Popescu are in agreement — there are only two accounts with his com.kapeli bundle identifier. Apple says they are both his. He claims he only has one, and a relative has one. So why are *his* apps on *both* accounts, his and Mihaelas?

    Did he gift the entire source code and ongoing revenue of these apps to this 'family member' as well? What a great guy! Still it sounds like something that might be worth mentioning during this whole mixup, either to his faithful blog readers or Apple. It might have cleared things up rather quickly.

    Despite the fact that his whole story falls apart on scrutiny, Apple bend over backwards and will reinstate his account if he admits some wrongdoing. Stubborn dude refuses to budge, posts illegally obtained phone calls…

    …and yet people still criticise Apple and believe this guy.
     
  18. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #293
    It's complete BS. As said above, he manipulated the system, got caught, and is now throwing his toys out the pram.

    I for one hope he isn't allowed back into the developer program.
     
  19. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #294
    Thanks. This is convincing evidence that both accounts are his, rather than just that they were paid for with the same credit card.
     
  20. Mascots macrumors 65832

    Mascots

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #295
    This is literally the only legitmate evidence I've seen in order to tie him to ownership of the account and this is something to change my opinion about the situation - not a hypothetical look-at-it-from-Apples-POV-based-on-their-word. I will still question, but otherwise thanks because this is important.
     
  21. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #296
    And of course the crucial thing is, Apple knows this. It knows the two accounts are his, but it's not in the habit of publicly shaming developers and after a long time trying to sort out the problem, decided to ban him. It wasn't until it all blew up in the media that they said anything about it publicly, and even then, they didn't just come out and call him a liar. They've stuck to more nebulous statements like "we've tried to work to resolve this to no avail" and other such things.

    They gave him enough rope to hang himself and he's done it.
     
  22. Otaviano macrumors 6502a

    Otaviano

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    #297
    Why would you assume the worst of Apple on something like this. What do they gain from it? Good publicity? No. Good will with developers? No.

    It was pretty obvious. If you just think rationally about.
     
  23. Mascots, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Mascots macrumors 65832

    Mascots

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #298
    Yeah, that's great.
    But instead they just slung mud without any evidence - they've made mistakes before and they are not omnipotent.

    Also - love how I wait to be convinced by compelling evidence because Apple did make major missteps in this situation. That affect the developer community as a whole.

    Apple isn't perfect, I hate to tell you.

    Jeez, isn't being convinced of your opinion (by someone else's proof) enough for people like you?
     
  24. slyv macrumors newbie

    slyv

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    #299
    After read this whole story, and analyzing page https://apprecs.com/search?os=ios&sort=untrustworthy here is the situation:
    - if my cousin that uses my credit card will send fake reviews, my account will be terminated because accounts are "linked"
    - if another developer will buy 100.000 fake reviews in external company, he will be ok, just make more money - because accounts are not linked. And there are really big names on apprecs list.

    Apple should do something with big cheaters first, than check smaller devs.
     
  25. Otaviano macrumors 6502a

    Otaviano

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    #300
    They did not sling mud without evidence. They have all the evidence they need. You assume they have to share evidence with you and the public. You are wrong.
     

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