Apple removes 1,011 apps and a developer

Apple has sent out a strong warning to all developers in the AppStore today, when they removed a developer and 1,011 of his apps. The Chinese-based software maker was removed after he was reported by a user for getting users to write false ratings on his applications.

One user detected the scam by a developer, Molink, where users had given a poorly written five-star rating review. The user also noticed that all of the applications created by Molinker were rated by the same users, with poorly written five-star reviews, boosting the developer's reviews, tricking people into purchasing the applications.

The suspicious user sent a letter to iPhoneography, a photography and videography blog, which than forwarded the letter to Apple's Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. The letter described that Molink was distributing free copies of their applications to users, who would give a five-star rating, even boosting the application to the AppStore staff-favourite section.

Apple was swift to remove all of the 1,011 applications immediately off of the AppStore and ban the developer.

The user that spotted the scam first, SCW, asked that Apple give users a refund for the applications. No exact numbers of how many of Molinks applications were sold, or if Apple will issue a refund.

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44 Comments

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Just curious - seems like the only people who really knock the iPhone are people who don't have an iPhone.

Additionally, I find it ironic and silly for people who say the app store should have only quality applications. How is that market different from other development platforms such as web, PC, and Mac?

A free market works when there are an abundance of choices. The more choices, the better the competition, and the lower the price. Additionally, if there is competition, that will drive developers to build higher quality applications so as not to lose customers to other applications.

I'm a PC and have used Windows mobile phones for years. A friend of mine got an iphone, and after taking a look at it in my own hands, I determined I should get one - and I did. It's simply a superior device to any of the Windows Mobile devices out there.

How long has the PC world used the mantra "I won't buy a Mac because there isn't as much software that works on a Mac as on a PC" - or "I have a PC because stores don't sell very much Mac compatible software" - or even "the software I use isn't available for Mac"? Strange that many of these same people cry foul when there is an abundance of software available on an Apple device, and very little available elsewhere.

Gup20 said,
Just curious - seems like the only people who really knock the iPhone are people who don't have an iPhone.


Actually I'm a PC and have used WinMo devices for years, earlier this year I bought an iPhone and promptly took it back to the store 12 hours later. The iPhone has a superb UI but simply cannot compete with my HTC TP2 or the usability of it's predecessor my Tytn II.

How can you call it a free market when Apple controls the market? Apple is the one that approves / disapproves everything that goes in there. A true free market would allow iPhone owners to install their own apps from any developer such as Windows Mobile and Blackberry.

Shock horror! A person using underhand tactics to promote his products. Next they'll go after anti wrinkle / ageing cream companies for using blurry cameras on the old hags that promote their products!

Lol, yes.

It is the say to claim against infomercial because the audience showed in those programs are not real.

1011 Wow a large amount of apps has been removed just by a report ?! I'm wondering that why they haven't got any bad report like that before, from customers who have purchased those apps?

The web 2.0 era interactivity is rife with these kind of scams and that is precisely why I would never purchase an app from Apple or any other mobile market place. As with *nix, the apps that become standard are all open source. Yet one more reason in my book iPhones are just a trendy well marketed device that's all about the money and not about the end user experience. I'm sure others have done or are doing this with Android and Palm.

when a developer does this he deeserves to be punished fully and if banning him teaches him a lesson not to scam or get banned then so be it.

soldier1st said,
when a developer does this he deeserves to be punished fully and if banning him teaches him a lesson not to scam or get banned then so be it.

Yeah, it was a well deserved ban.

Apple should limit the apps per developer to something like 50. Even 50 a year. If you're submitting more than 50 apps a year, you should probably be using in-app purchase, or not recycling the same app with a different RSS feed built in.

I don't know why is people still thinking the AppStore is a success, where you encounter thousands (literally) of apps that are just plain crap. Many of those useless applications need to be removed as well for this type of model to work in the long term. If not, users will stop looking for truly useful applications to avoid the hassle.

Giving away his own apps for the people that wrote 5-star reviews was wrong and the "developer" deserved to be banned, though.

It quickly becomes a PR problem when they remove or deny apps.

The people that claim there's nothing but junk on the App store are the same people that cry bloody murder when Apple denies an application.

It's lose-lose.

Axon said,
It quickly becomes a PR problem when they remove or deny apps.

The people that claim there's nothing but junk on the App store are the same people that cry bloody murder when Apple denies an application.

It's lose-lose.


I've always thought that when thousands of apps exist, there isn't a repository-like system that can work well. This is the case with the AppStore.

The problems is that Apple denied useful apps the right to be in the AppStore, but keeps allowing crapware everyday.

It is a lose-lose for Apple. So, they better enforce some sort of usefulness for submitting apps or their model will go down as quickly as it raised.

There's nothing better than being able to download/buy anything you want and install it.

That's why Microsoft doesn't have any AppStore-like software or repositories. If you want developers to write apps for your device/OS, then let them use whatever business model they see fit.

ajua said,
That's why Microsoft doesn't have any AppStore-like software or repositories. If you want developers to write apps for your device/OS, then let them use whatever business model they see fit.

They do it's called Marketplace, plus you can write an app for any MS platform and distribute it however you like!

thejiSh said,
Wonder what those 1,011 applications were. Probably fart or fart related apps?

Mainly rip offs from other apps according to the original article.

Good. Now if only apple would look into developing some decent apps, sorting out their sound profiles and multitasking then I would be a customer!

I wouldn't mind looking into become a iphone app developer, but would have to get a intel mac first and feel the iapp boats sailed a while ago.

Pity didn't have more foresite 3 years ago :-/

Raa said,
That a LOT of apps :

Indeed. Was this the guy that released a whole lot of apps that all did basically the same things? I remember an article about that previously.

DeltaFalcon said,
I guess this is one good thing about the App Store: scams can be crushed with the Apple flavoured iron fist.

Yeah.