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

Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,223
4,964
The right thing here would be to refund every purchase, as a sign of good faith and admittance of wrongdoing. Then partner with another developer to get it back on the store and have those who got their app refunded to pay for the new app, if they are still interested and willing to forgive.

Yes. Agreed.

That's a lot of words to say very little. Apple lied when they said they've been in contact with him for the past two years over this issue, so from their POV there was a mistake or they blantantly lied for PR.

But let's look at Apples POV in regards to handling information: As you said it yourself, Apple did not know which account was the owner of the card - if that were the case, then they should have contacted both accounts. Straight incompetence not to. Especially prior to cancelling them both, and especially the one without fraudulent activity and one by a highly acclaimed developer who turned revenue in the store. Hell, they should have done it out of respect for the developer's own security two years ago (we saw an account associated with details of yours is producing fraudulent activity)

Like I've said prior - Apple banhammered an indie developer here, but I can only imagine the effect something like this would have in a business if all it takes is a bad actor with common account details to get all related accounts taken down without notice and with a vague response ("You were spamming."). Messed up, man.

I don't know, but since you brought it up, how can you be so stupid? You seem to be missing the part where there were two accounts, one with only the Dash app, under his control, and one with a handful of mediocre apps unrelated to Dash, supposedly under his sister's control (he's said he gave her some old hardware to get started, and paid for the account). If she's doing nefarious things related to her apps (faking reviews or paying someone else to fake reviews), what do you think the chances are she would run to him and say, "hey, guess what, brother? I'm risking your reputation and livelihood in order to make a little extra money for myself by doing shady things!"?

I'm not saying he did or didn't do something wrong (I have no proof either way, and the information released to this point is far from complete). But don't use faulty logic to convict him. Don't go into torches and pitchforks territory. I severely dislike fake reviews. But it doesn't seem at all clear yet that he has posted or bought any fake reviews. I'm not harboring false hope that you'll be swayed by these words - it's clear you've already made up your mind and facts and logic are no longer necessary. It's a shame, I thought you were one of the smart ones.

You are really reaching here guys. Really.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,108
8,597
San Diego, CA, USA
That's a lot of words to say very little. Apple lied when they said they've been in contact with him for the past two years over this issue, so from their POV there was a mistake or they blantantly lied for PR.
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.)
[doublepost=1476252042][/doublepost]
You are really reaching here guys. Really.
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.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,542
3,968
That's a lot of words to say very little. Apple lied when they said they've been in contact with him for the past two years over this issue, so from their POV there was a mistake or they blantantly lied for PR.

But let's look at Apples POV in regards to handling information: As you said it yourself, Apple did not know which account was the owner of the card - if that were the case, then they should have contacted both accounts. Straight incompetence not to. Especially prior to cancelling them both, and especially the one without fraudulent activity and one by a highly acclaimed developer who turned revenue in the store. Hell, they should have done it out of respect for the developer's own security two years ago (we saw an account associated with details of yours is producing fraudulent activity)

Like I've said prior - Apple banhammered an indie developer here, but I can only imagine the effect something like this would have in a business if all it takes is a bad actor with common account details to get all related accounts taken down without notice and with a vague response ("You were spamming."). Messed up, man.
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.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,108
8,597
San Diego, CA, USA
Do we actually have a source that says it was his sister, or did we just make that up earlier in the thread as a hypothetical that slowly became a fact?
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.
 
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Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,223
4,964
It's quite clear you've made up your mind, I won't bother you with poking holes in your logic any further, as it's clear the effort on my part is wasted. It's just hard to see people vehemently defending flawed arguments.

Well I agree. It's quite clear what happened here.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,542
3,968
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.
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
 
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MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Then report the concerns instead of asking everyone to lower the bar across the board.

That said, it's a shame the developer had to make a spectacle of this only to be proven to be a liar. It's also a shame that several MR users felt the need to compare Apple with people like the Nazis simply because they happened to use an app. The people who went crazy with the histrionics really should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they were comfortable resorting to such complete and utter nonsense.

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.
 
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firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,893
1,159
Silicon Valley
The right thing here would be to refund every purchase ...

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...)
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,157
6,216
It's not Apple's fault that Bogdan is sharing his developer ID

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?
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This dev, regardless of what he knew or didn't, was funding fraudulent activity.



This was well respected app developer - if Apple had made it known to him prior to banhammering his account that he was funding fraud, I feel as though he would have solved this problem for them.

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.
[doublepost=1476264351][/doublepost]

What does this mean? Is it an acronym?
 
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Otaviano

macrumors 6502a
Nov 22, 2007
603
261
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.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,157
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This guy sure is generous to pay for people's accounts and give them development devices.

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.
 
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Otaviano

macrumors 6502a
Nov 22, 2007
603
261
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.

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.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,157
6,216
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.

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).
 
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Otaviano

macrumors 6502a
Nov 22, 2007
603
261
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).

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.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,157
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Something more accurate would be you have a car registered to you.

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.
 
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Mascots

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Sep 5, 2009
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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.

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.
 
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frumpsnake

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2008
45
42
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.
 
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Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,701
885
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.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,157
6,216
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

Thanks. This is convincing evidence that both accounts are his, rather than just that they were paid for with the same credit card.
 
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Mascots

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
1,615
1,314
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

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.

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.
 
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joe-h2o

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2012
997
445
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.

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.
 
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Otaviano

macrumors 6502a
Nov 22, 2007
603
261
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.

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.
 
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Mascots

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
1,615
1,314
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.

Yeah, that's great.
But instead they just slung mud without any evidence - they've made mistakes before and they are not omnipotent.

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.

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?
 
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slyv

macrumors newbie
Feb 16, 2010
14
0
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.
 
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