A little tale of App Store shenanigans & skulduggery

As you might know my company, Chilli X, has an iPhone app called PhotoFrame and an iPad app called PhotoFramePlus. The other day I did a quick search for it in the App Store (I wanted to copy the link to send to someone) and I came across a competing app called PhotoFrame Pro HD by MAX CA APPS. So I thought I’d have a little look at the competition, and what I found turned out to be rather interesting…

The first thing I noticed is that they had copied the description of our app word for word. I won’t bore you by repeating it all again here but it is identical and couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.

Then I noticed the glowing reviews. Nobody had a bad word to say about the app but even stranger than that, most of them seemed to be reviewing a completely different app altogether and referenced features that didn’t seem to be a relevant to a photoframe app, like ‘photo filters’ and ‘liquid in the developing tray’. There was only one screenshot visible and that looked like a pretty straightforward slideshow app…

Have a look at a few of these gushing reviews :)

Get that tooooOOOOoooooOOOOOOooOOOo!!!!

by kirghiz43

Not only is this application very creative but it’s also one of the most entertaining apps I have downloaded in a while. I no longer find myself playing games when I am waiting for things but rather than opening this app and trying different development combinations.

Great app!

by deserves

Really great app! The endless combs of mixtures is great! tons of fun, lots of options for mixing slides! Really a powerful processing app. Also very fun and visually awesome

this app is amazing & perfect!

by clockman43

Better than any other photo app out there! It never crashes and the slide options are great. I would have paid much more for this app!

There’s a lot more like this and none of these enthusiastic reviewers ever seem to have reviewed another app before either. Although strangely, in the US store this app seems to have more ‘realistic’ reviews ie. ones that mention the actual app and specific features and have titles like ‘Not that hot’, ‘Bad execution’ and ‘Needs more settings’…

So I decided to look up the company’s website to see if I could get a better idea of what the app was like – but, surprise, surprise, the link given in the App Store wasn’t working and neither was their support link.

So I checked out one of their other iPad apps, CALCULATOR PRO HD (their capitals, not mine). From the pair of screenshots on display the app looks like a simple, albeit relatively nicely designed, calculator app. I’m not sure if they’ve copied the description for this app or not but it’s great!! If I thought that MAX CA APPS were nice guys I give them the benefit of a sense of humour – the incredibly long description of the app basically describes the advantages of ANY calculator. Apparently you won’t have to work out loan rates on the back of an envelope anymore or try and calculate what that 12% tip should be – this app can do it for you.

My favourite line is:

“Includes advanced features such as subtraction, multiplication…” Since when have subtraction & multiplication been advanced features for a calculator???

The app has the same obviously fake reviews and here’s a few of my favourites (bear in mind we’re talking about a freaking calculator app here…)

love more cool apps!

by algarvayke

This was definitely worth the price purchase. The app has so many awesome features and will only keep getting better. I love the new capabilities integration, fan map, and more and more!

Best app on the market!

by Paul merrin

This application is amazing, menu looks really good, plus has tons of amazing features! Definitely best dollar ever spent!

Excellent for relaxation or focus!

by William ammer

I was skeptical about this, but it works! Very cool!

Perfection!

by louloudah

Great app! All the information any user could possibly want, anywhere they want. Great work!

Works perfectly fine for me!

by DISKaw

I love this app, it is everything you need and then some. Download it! Do it, do it now!

Unbelievable!

by iandrana

This is totally unreal! I can’t believe that this actually works as good as it does! I am going to also download the other app which has all the utilities on it as well.

Yet again, all these reviewers seem to have only ever posted the one review.

Now I know this isn’t a massive deal and that there are some more blatant and well publicised App Store scams going on out there but, to me at any rate, it just goes to show that there’s a lot of dodgy stuff going on. I know Apple are swamped with apps to approve but at the very least, the should refuse apps that appear to have no contact details or support.

I’ve contacted Apple re. the above and will let you know if I hear anything back…

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  1. October 3rd, 2012

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