Biggest FRAUD in the Top 25 Free Ranking

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by walterkaman, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. formvoltron

    formvoltron New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Great post

    I've read a whole bunch of threads relating to app spam. Most people say "be tough and ignore it" This is the first thread i've read that admits that this is a serious issue.

    And this is the first post that has some real ideas about what Apple should do.

    Any way we can make a petition with these ideas & get a bunch of app developers to sign?

    Matt

     
  2. Haverhill

    Haverhill New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Hmmm, if I recall correctly, you used these "services" as well.
     
  3. lewisgor

    lewisgor New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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  4. Haverhill

    Haverhill New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Well, it's hard/impossible to get into the top grossing with bots. What they appear to be doing is another common scam technique in which they will create dozens of fake iTunes accounts tied to iTunes gift cards which they use to purchase the $100 in app purchase in their app. That would help explain why the $100 IAP is so high up in their top selling IAPs (the $100 ones are usually towards the back).
     
  5. Same with that app in the German store (rank 5 in grossing)
    http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/kuai-le-qi-pai/id459397568?mt=8

    No reviews, a chinese description and extremely expensive IAPs. Who would possibly buy that?

    It's disgusting that the rare spots in rankings are stuffed with SPAM. If there's a petition against it, count me in!
     
  6. Haverhill

    Haverhill New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    #66 Haverhill, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
    I have a list of several apps that have used bots. Should I post them? Many are from indie devs... I'm tired of all of this :mad:

    Edit: It looks like some of these devs are actually posting on this thread speaking out against these bots. Oh, the irony :rolls eyes:
     
  7. AnonDev

    AnonDev Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    I'm very glad Apple did notice and finally reacted to it

    I'm not so glad of the fact that many, many people knew about this for over half a year. This must have been a very, very visible thing if Apple only cared to check it out...

    But no, they never cared. Because media didn't talk about it

    And because having freemium apps on top spots is profitable
     
  8. Slyv

    Slyv Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2009
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    There is one main problem with that.
    How Apple can prove that one developer really have a agreement with "bot service"?

    Example: Let's assume I have few good Apps that are staying in about top1000 overall, I earn nice money and i'm happy. And I have one FREEmium game named XYZ.
    One day one of my competitor starts to writing fake reviews, asks bot company to promote my app XYZ. XYZ go to top25 grossing overall. And finally the competitor reports Apple that I'm cheating. Apple checks this, closes my developer program, kills my business!

    Fighting with cheaters by just removing them from app store is not a good way. Apple MUST change their ranking algorithm. # Position in ranking MUST be associated with installation of app on REAL devices, not just download. If one user removes app from his iPhone, app rank goes down. If another installs it - app rank goes up.
     
  9. AnonDev

    AnonDev Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    Well, of course. Apple should change the algorithm but until they do it...

    1) They should constantly ban bot accounts
    2) They should say which companies are bogus and using them might result in losing your dev license
    3) They should constantly monitor the download rankings and look for suspicious behaviors

    However, Apple should NOT and will not (I'm sure of that) ban developers who've used that in the past. There are big, big names there after all

    Only the devs who completely rely on scam networks should be banned. This has happened in the past actually
     
  10. Slyv

    Slyv Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2009
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    I have just checked top free and top grossing lists on the App Store.
    It seems 90-95% is a SPAM!!!
    I compared these lists with Android Market, 90-95% apps are totally different!
    Why Apple has not solved this problem for such o long time??

    The good thing is that top-paid list looks fine, and is similar in App Store and Android Market.
     
  11. coolpowers

    coolpowers Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2010
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    Indie developer
    Coralville / Iowa City
    And if you think this is a morally grey area, consider that the reviews for the last two spammed apps mentioned are all complaining that they have had money stolen from them and they hadn't even downloaded the app themselves.

    These are the kind of people you're dealing with when you use chart boosting services. Any of you getting Game Center porn spam yet? It's the same deal - fake or hijacked iTunes accounts, botnet controllers finding new ways to monetize their thousands of accounts.

    Keep an eye on your purchase history, people.
     
  12. AnonDev

    AnonDev Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    Damn, didn't know about those... That's even worse then botnet-boosted rankings...

    I think that Apple should just hire one or two guys who'd be dealing with frauds. That's all it would take really. Two guys looking over rankings, checking if some quickly rising app isn't getting tons of 1-star reviews crying "fraud", if there are suspicious jumps that could be caused by bot-networks...

    That wouldn't cost much, not for Apple and all of their money

    Why didn't they do it years ago is beyond me... Unless they are happy with the current situation that is
     
  13. Therealtrebitsch

    Therealtrebitsch Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2010
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    #73 Therealtrebitsch, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
    As long as money is involved, people will try everything.
    As somebody mentioned, every of us would consider to use a service which can help to get a little bit of exposure in the top charts.

    Many indie devs are burned out due to the fact, that they hard work doesn't get the success it deserves (in their opinion), while others with crap climb up on the charts.

    Let's be honest here: most people, who cry for justice are just jelous. And they are right to be, but nobody can tell me, that he wouldn't take the opportunity if it was offered to him.

    Money and frustration is a big motivation.

    A honest appstore is a dream. A honest business world is a big dream. Everybody thinks, his product is the best and doesn't understand why people don't see it.

    That's why marketing was invented.

    There are plenty of good services, which can help to get more exposure for free or for a few bucks. They may not be able to get you in the top 25, but they are at least free.

    And what happens to them? They don't get recognized by many. Why? Because devs are greedy too. They want the BIG exposure. So how can you throw a stone on somebody, who just happened to know where to get it?

    I offer legit and free services for devs to get exposure which are banned on this very forum, just because the admins here think, it is competing this board somehow. Why do you wonder, if people start to use expensive illegal services, if the legit free services are not wanted?

    Anyway, you are welcomed to try my link in my sig, if you think you are a honest developer and you can go along with the littlebit.
     
  14. Michael8

    Michael8 Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Why shouldn’t they ban developers who've done that in the past? There are companies in other areas like Blizzard and their game WOW that have years of experience in combatting bots. They do periodically a mass ban of bot users and there aren't any forewarnings. This helps to make an example and they don't care if it’s a top player/guild or what they earn from them. Without serious action they will never get anywhere close to keeping the bot users in the minority.

    From my observation apple seems to have banned the last months already developers with games in the top charts but only single ones.

    The earnings from some single apps are peanuts for apple. They are competing against android and one of their main advantages is still the higher app quality. If multiple average quality apps in the top list take the place where otherwise top apps would be it decrease in general the quality of the appstore and user experience. With this apple loses in long term sincere developers, users, quality, their image of having the best apps and a clean app store.
     
  15. AnonDev

    AnonDev Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    Because in beginning it wasn't so obvious those are bots ? Because some developers did it because they saw bigger players do it and get away with this ?

    Like some people said - many very, very high profile used those companies. Some of them earned serious millions of the AppStore and if they were to be banned... Well, Apple would lose a LOT

    I'm not saying here that they were relying 100% on them, but that it was just part of their bigger marketing efforts

    However, I do know companies that relied greatly on bots and bots were their biggest source of profits. And some of them indeed got banned. I guess it's just a difference between "they've also used bots" and "they're living off bots". Banning the latter I agree with
     
  16. Vovin

    Vovin 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Nov 28, 2009
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    #76 Vovin, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012


    You're forgetting that it is not just Apple's fault and the fault of the shady devs / ad networks - one of the main problems are the AppStore customers!
    Too many customers consume mindless, buying every sh!t because it is top ranked and some bots added a few "this is a nice game, it is really very very recommended"-ratings.

    Heck, if the gamers would be more responsible about WHAT they buy, the whole fraud system wouldn't work anymore. Not a single day more. Sources like touchArcade, 148Apps and so much more (and especially the forums (tA forums alone are covering nearly all noteworthy games)) are perfect for research. I see an app. It piqued my interest. But I don't hammer on the buy-button immediately. First I check the forums about impressions from other people. I look at reviews from gaming sites. It only requires a few minutes, but after that, I know exactly whom I am giving my bucks.
    If I can do that, everybody can.
    Yet a lot of gamers still press the buy-button way too quickly.
    And these gamers are one of the reasons why the fraud systems work.
    So, don't blame it all on Apple or the devs, the mindlessly comsuming iOS gamers are responsible in the same way.
     
  17. Michael8

    Michael8 Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    I agree with the first part that there should be a statement from apple first like the one posted that it will result in a ban if one uses a service where they guarantee certain rankings or similar.
    But the second isn't valid for me it’s like I robbed the bank because other professionals got away with it. Just because others do it and get away doesn't make it acceptable behavior.

    Imo still peanuts for apple. There are thousands of apps/games that generate revenue and a handful won't outweigh the loss in image. Otherwise higher quality apps would have taken that place probably creating higher revenue from the higher quality.
    It would be enough to ban the first time just some extreme users like the one you mentioned but it should make clear enough that apple doesn't want this. Most developers that have to lose something would stop using such services afterwards.
     
  18. AnonDev

    AnonDev Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    I'm not forgetting. I'm ignoring this point on purpose. You see, Apple will not change their customers. Think about it for a moment - the whole idea of 'Apple ecosystem' is that customers are as mindless as possible

    You make research - good for you. But 90% of people don't. Should you expect them to change, or should you expect the provider to do something about that crap ?

    Well, it's like with democracy. You blame politicians, not the masses that chose them. Even if you blame the masses - there's nothing you can do about it

    I've seen a really good quote from George Carlin - “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”

    There's enough mindless people in the crowd to move a scam app really high in the rankings. And once it's thore - the mindless crowd will pile on. That's exactly how 'Temple Jump' scam app got top 1

    So once again - you can blame customers all you want. But you really should expect 'the guardian' to prevent the scams

    @Michael8 - I disagree. I don't want to point fingers at any company, but some of them are to AppStore as Zynga is to Facebook

    That's why I don't see or want Apple to ban developers who used it once or twice. If someone relied on it to the extreme - ban hammer should hit fast and hard. But I still want Apple to change the ranking system and add some anti-fraud measures, not throw the hammer. You need to stop the cause, not the effect
     
  19. honkj

    honkj New Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    #79 honkj, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
    it is Apple's fault when they don't do anything about it for months on end... this has been going on for two or three years.

    They simply should just do away with the "top 25", instead they should do a "top 25" of each sub sub sub category... and simply scroll through the sub categories on a rotating basis on the main page... I could care less about a child's game with Disney graphics like someone showed that link to, and is rated so poorly... but i would never see it if it was in a child's game category...

    and then those "top 25" of even that child's game category... should be chosen on the amount of positive reviews (over some given time interval), with a kicker of a few hundred Apple staff reviewers weeding out the fake reviews and able to give out 1000 points at any amount to apps that they seriously review... and here is the important part, also give out NEGATIVE points for apps that are just horrific.... (well in comparison)...

    there are a bunch of different ways to do this, Apple shouldn't take years to try them... THAT IS THEIR FAULT... and what if one system doesn't work well? then change it a week later... upheavel be damned, it is better than what we have now...

    to prove the point, the one poster talking about the thousands of dollars they spend in marketing is all fine and dandy, but really really bad apps should not be in the top 25 for marketing, and that is what is happening, people say, well the good will rise, no they don't, seriously, because Apple bases the "top 25" on speed of amounts of downloads... a naturally good app will have slowly rising downloads, there will never be peaks that overcome the fake downloaded 10's of thousands of downloads... so that the good app's 10's of thousands of downloads are spread over a longer period of time... never allowing it to enter the top 25... there shouldn't even be a consideration of a good utility app having to compete with a child's game app in the first place, what in the heck are they thinking there????... "top 25" for EACH SUB CATEGORY period... and rotate through them on the main page... (and have a whole bunch more sub categories) heck even the marketing expense would be less, because the marketing companies have less work to do to get in the top of your sub category if you wish to spend on marketing)
     
  20. Vovin

    Vovin 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Nov 28, 2009
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    #80 Vovin, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012

    *laughs*

    Well, I see your point. Still, I think this mindless consumption of iOS software had a major impact on the most shady things that go on.
    No, I can't just make a wish and every customer is suddenly (more) responsible, but I was talking about a responsibility in general. But in the same way as they consume junk food, without having checked if it is ok what they're eating & drinking all day, some consume apps.

    Read the AppStore reviews. Lots of people are always cursing & swearing about trash apps, but they simply don't understand that their behaviour is a reason for the existance of these apps (and their rankings).

    Of course this mindlessly consumption is exactly what Apple wants. But it is not on Apple nor me to proselyte them. They have to learn themselves.
    If this doesn't change, then there will always be someone who comes up with new shady tricks to exploit the AppStore system, no matter what Apple does to prevent it. That's the dilemma.
     

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