Apple demands cut of Chinese app 'tips'

Apple has rolled out massive update for its users

But as Medium blogger Johnny Lin found out, the mechanism that Ngan Vo Thi Thuy exploited involves tricking gullible users in the app and spreading awareness of the app through ad listings on App Store searches. But when we tried to release to the App Store, we got hit with "Your app contains images and references of Pepe the Frog, which are considered objectionable content".

Apple has been taking some flack this week after it emerged that they have been allowing a VPN to be sold on the App Store which offered unnecessary security services at hugely inflated prices.

Based on recent findings by developer Johnny Lin, as described in an article on Medium, Apple has failed to adequately screen apps that not only are unsafe, but are scams, resulting in huge monthly charges. The report analysed the number of downloads for these apps and pointed out that the scammer just needs to convert 0.4 percent people into enrolling for the weekly or monthly subscription charges to earn about $80,000 per month.

Meanwhile, it is important that you report such scam apps if you detect them and inform others too.

Lin outlined ways Apple can protect consumers from these duplicitous apps, including refunding its users and reviewing apps more strictly.

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants
Family members of victims from a military plane crash prepare for a funeral ceremony in Dawei June 9, 2017. It was discontinued in 2015 but a small presence remained for logistics and technical support.

Lin explains how unethical developers are abusing Apple's App Store Search Ads platform and "taking advantage of the fact that there's no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look nearly indistinguishable from real results". Of course, thanks to iOS sandboxing and other security features, malware isn't a significant issue in Apple's mobile operating system. According to marketing data firm Sensor Tower, the bogus app delivers more or less US$80,000 each month in revenue. Before he did that, however, he read the fine print that included in tiny letters, "You will pay $99.99 for a 7-day subscription".

"It was really eye opening and shocking to see the wrong types of behavior being rewarded like that", says Lin. "I have hope that Apple will do the right thing eventually, because they're a company with long-term thinking", Lin said. Lin also suggests a better user interface on Touch ID subscriptions, easier cancellations of subscriptions, and the introduction of fraud and abuse protections into Search Ads.

The app exposes several problems with the App Store now.

"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", wrote Lin.

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