Apple Says 1,000 Fraudulent Reviews Were Detected Across Two Accounts Owned by 'Dash' Developer [Update: Developer Responds]

Last week, popular API documentation browser Dash was removed from the App Store after Apple accused Dash's developer of fraudulent conduct and claimed he manipulated App Store reviews.

At the time, the developer denied the accusations and garnered the support of Dash app users who believed there had been a mix up and that he was not guilty, but Apple today provided more information to justify its position and the app's removal from the App Store.

dashapp
In statements given to iMore and The Loop, Apple says the developer owned two accounts with 25 apps, which had nearly 1,000 fake reviews. Both fraudulent positive reviews for his own apps and negative reviews for competing apps were involved.

"Almost 1,000 fraudulent reviews were detected across two accounts and 25 apps for this developer so we removed their apps and accounts from the App Store," Apple spokesperson, Tom Neumayr, said in a statement provided to The Loop on Monday.

"Warning was given in advance of the termination and attempts were made to resolve the issue with the developer but they were unsuccessful. We will terminate developer accounts for ratings and review fraud, including actions designed to hurt other developers. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, on behalf of all of our customers and developers."

According to The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, Apple first sent a warning to the developer behind Dash two years ago and attempted to work with him "for some time" to put a stop to the App Store fraud. The behavior did not stop, leading to the account's termination last week.

Dash's developer specifically denied having been involved in App Store review manipulation in the blog post announcing Dash's removal from the App Store, but Apple has been adamant that fraud took place. Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller even got involved, confirming to a concerned developer that ratings and review fraud had led to the app's removal.

Apple's decision is final and there is no further appeals process, according to Dash's developer, who has yet to respond to the information Apple has provided today. Dash for iOS is unlikely to return to the iOS App Store, but Dash for Mac remains available outside of the Mac App Store.

Update: The developer behind Dash has shared his side of the story, placing the blame on a relative whose Apple Developer Program Membership he paid for.

He says he was not aware his account was linked to another until Friday and that he was not notified about any wrongdoing. He has shared a recorded phone conversation in which Apple says it will reactivate his account if he makes a blog post stating the truth that his account had been linked to an account with fraudulent activity.

Tag: Dash

Top Rated Comments

Kaibelf Avatar
65 months ago
yet, FDG Mobile Games continue to release apps with these 5 star reviews for the past few years.
Then report the concerns instead of asking everyone to lower the bar across the board.

That said, it's a shame the developer had to make a spectacle of this only to be proven to be a liar. It's also a shame that several MR users felt the need to compare Apple with people like the Nazis simply because they happened to use an app. The people who went crazy with the histrionics really should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they were comfortable resorting to such complete and utter nonsense.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
frumpsnake Avatar
65 months ago
Gather round, folks, let me tell you a story.

So 5 or 6 years ago, this guy named Bogdan Popescu starts a company called Kapeli and writes a bunch of Shovelware. Puts out a bunch of PR for crap like MoveAddict.
http://www.macworld.co.uk/opinion/apple/press-release-mac-os-x-finally-able-cutpaste-files-merge-folders-3485573/
http://imgur.com/C2vjkig

All of this is featured on his website, kapeli.com. There in the header...moveAddict, iGuard…and something called ‘Dash’.
https://web.archive.org/web/20120409173750/http://kapeli.com/
http://imgur.com/W94bGnl

{edit:
Even his old Twitter posts confirm this.
https://twitter.com/kapeli/status/24561715939
http://imgur.com/qYSESjl
}

Over time, Dash explodes in popularity. It fills a niche and is actually legitimately useful. He “goes legit”, creates a new dev account tied to the same com.kapeli bundle identifier. Suddenly — publically, to those who can’t see his bundle identifiers — it’s the only app he makes!
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qoxummH4tkYJ:https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/bogdan-popescu/id404213174+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au
http://imgur.com/gGccgDj

But what to do with all the other shovelware though? Not to worry, it can stay on the other account. Spam some reviews, get some idiots to buy it, easy beer money on the side. Let’s just change the author to “Mihaela” instead.

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:TO_CAdJUiEcJ:https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/mihaela-popescu/id603546869+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ie&client=safari
https://i.imgur.com/m70tauN.png
(There's our good friends, moveAddict and iGuard!)

During a routine Apple account transfer…he gets caught.

All of a sudden he cries foul. There WAS a second account, but it’s not his! It’s a female family member’s. It was some account that he had nothing to do with. He forgot about it! It’s ancient history!

…it just houses literally *everything* the guy previously created that isn’t Dash. Including apps such as moveAddict and iGuard previously prominently featured on the dude’s website and PR spam. In his name.

Now both Apple and Popescu are in agreement — there are only two accounts with his com.kapeli bundle identifier. Apple says they are both his. He claims he only has one, and a relative has one. So why are *his* apps on *both* accounts, his and Mihaelas?

Did he gift the entire source code and ongoing revenue of these apps to this 'family member' as well? What a great guy! Still it sounds like something that might be worth mentioning during this whole mixup, either to his faithful blog readers or Apple. It might have cleared things up rather quickly.

Despite the fact that his whole story falls apart on scrutiny, Apple bend over backwards and will reinstate his account if he admits some wrongdoing. Stubborn dude refuses to budge, posts illegally obtained phone calls…

…and yet people still criticise Apple and believe this guy.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
65 months ago
yet, FDG Mobile Games continue to release apps with these 5 star reviews for the past few years.






probably a huge money maker for Apple, so they don't look into these.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ErikGrim Avatar
65 months ago
I am not a lawyer - but can this become a first amendment case?
No. Apple is not the government. The app store is not a public forum.

Constantly baffled at Americans not understanding their own laws. Especially when it comes to "free speech".
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
craig1410 Avatar
65 months ago
Having just listened to the recording of his phone call with Apple I have come to 3 conclusions:

1. Apple have bent over backwards to give this guy a chance to reinstate his developer account. The guy on the call was extremely professional and fair.

2. The developer's tone during that call was a bit offhand and far from appreciative that the SVP of Marketing of the largest company in the world actually cared enough to make this call happen!

3. Recording the call with Apple and making it public was the final nail in the coffin. He can probably expect a demand from Apple to take down that recording immediately and in my opinion has little to no chance of ever doing business with Apple again. Phil Schiller will be furious and rightly so.

THE END :(
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
65 months ago
Why didn't Apple simply come out and say this at the beginning?
Because this isn't the sort of thing that should be publicised. Besides, it was the developer who made the fuss about it, not Apple. Now he's proven to have his hand in the cookie jar.

Didn't stop people previously jumping to conclusions, of course. And what conclusions they were.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...