Apple Rejects New Game App Featuring 'Objectionable' Pepe The Frog

Nettie James
June 15, 2017

Apple takes a 30% cut on every purchase, from the App Store or in-app. Of course, thanks to iOS sandboxing and other security features, malware isn't a significant issue in Apple's mobile operating system.

Discovered and documented in a Medium blog post by app developer Johnny Lin, an iOS application called "Mobile Protection:Clean & Security VPN" is backed up by seemingly fake App Store reviews and attempts to sign users up to a $99.99 weekly subscription during the setup of a so-called free trial.

The VPN app offers to "auto scan duplicated contacts, merge or delete", as well as a full scan which will "scan for dupplicate (sic) name, phone, email, no name, no phone, no email".

Top Charts had a ripple effect on the increasing popularity of featured apps or viral apps therefore demoting it to a second click will impact burst campaigns that developers did for user acquisition and may even dilute the effect of charts induced virality. At $400/month per subscriber, it only needs to scam 200 people to make $80,000/month, or $960,000 a year. However, some social-networking apps have likened Apple's tactic to arm-twisting, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The update comes with a number of updates, but perhaps the boldest change is to the App Store.

Turns out, scammers are abusing Apple's relatively new and immature App Store Search Ads product.

"These are the exact sort of apps that the App Store review process should be primarily looking to block", Gruber wrote on his Daring Fireball blog in response to Lin's research. So, if that is the case, how on earth did a fraudulent app like this make it into the App Store in the first place? 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.

With the new cards design, the real estate in the App store seems to have reduced leaving just 1-2 apps to be seen by consumers in the first look, instead of 8-9 in the old design indicating that it will be more tougher to get featured but the impact of being featured will be magnified.

Apple didn't respond to Mashable's request for comment on app subscriptions or whether those who had unwittingly paid exorbitant amounts for app subscriptions would get refunds.

Other reports by Insurance News

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