Shady developers are turning Apple's app subscriptions into giant scams

Apple iphone X

Not only is that terrific news for developers, but it's also good for Apple because the company collects 30 percent of the proceeds of app sales and in-app purchases. It could foster various communities of virtual content producers like those in China.

Apple has removed one of its top 10 grossing productivity apps after an independent developer's story about fraudsters' abuse of the App Store's Search Ads functionality went viral. In fact, come September, iOS 11 will force app developers to provide the full range of location permissions, not just the on or off you get now. It will be an alternative way to get the creators paid without the need for an ad revenue sharing scheme.

Cook also told the developers that Apple has reduced the time it takes to approve each app for sale in their store to as little as 24 hours.


Tim Cook announced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week that the company has paid out a total of $70 billion to app developers since the App Store opened almost a decade ago, and $21 billion over just the past year. The answer, according to the report, is search ads. Mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower estimates the app has generated about $80,000 per month.

Lin and Apple watcher John Gruber are asking how Apple let this app past its review process and are demanding Apple reconsider its App Store advertising system. Search ads ensure it earns the top spot when you search for terms like "qr scanner" or "qr code", giving it more visibility and, to some, credibility than its legitimate counterparts. That was previously one of the biggest drawbacks of submitting an app review. It was available from a seller named on the site as "Ngan Vo Thi Thuy" and despite the outrageous price, the app has managed to make it onto the app store's top earners list for the past two months.

Apple has been notoriously opaque about its review process, which has been a source of frustration to many developers over the years. They're taking advantage of the fact that there's no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look nearly indistinguishable from real results, and some ads take up the entire search result's first page. Once the user rates the app he will never see that again. And, if you do fall victim to one of these apps, obtaining a refund is as confusing as canceling your subscription in the first place.

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