App Store Scam App Required a Good Review to Function at All

An app that demanded at least a three-star review to function got through the App Store review process, it has been found (via The Verge).

app store review scam
iOS developer Kosta Eleftheriou discovered that the "UPNP Xtreme" app, which claimed to let users stream video to a TV, presented the system's ‌App Store‌ rating box as soon as it opened. The rating box could not be escaped from and it was not possible to tap the one or two-star ratings for most users, according to Eleftheriou.

One of Apple's best practices documents states that developers should "avoid showing a request for a review immediately when a user launches your app." UPNP Xtreme sought good reviews to rise up the ‌App Store‌'s rankings, using exploitative tactics to become more visible than legitimate developers' apps, but also drive more users to engage with the scam. The app now appears to have been removed from the ‌App Store‌.

Eleftheriou has previously brought attention to scam and copycat apps on the ‌App Store‌ and raised concerns that Apple is not doing enough to stop these apps during its ‌App Store‌ review process. Eleftheriou experienced the difficulty of contending with scam apps with his own FlickType Apple Watch keyboard app, which was mired by scam copycats that Apple was allegedly reluctant to remove.

Earlier this year, Eleftheriou brought a lawsuit against Apple for a variety of allegations related to his experience with FlickType, including negligence and anticompetitive conduct.

Top Rated Comments

Techwatcher Avatar
16 weeks ago

Suspect. This will be fixed promptly though, so no worries.
Forget a fix, suspend or ban the app and refund everyone if purchases were made.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cosmosent Avatar
16 weeks ago
The BIG picture, if the Judge in the Epic vs Apple court case gets wind of this, one of Apple's main arguments just went out the window !
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
16 weeks ago
This comment requires at least a like or love to be read, anything less and you don't get the function.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
16 weeks ago

Forget a fix, suspend or ban the app and refund everyone if purchases were made.
The problem is if those purchase that happened outside of the 30days would have already been processed to those Scams.


Apple needs a system that leverages the community (like maps letting users report things) and lets users flag apps as bad & provide the detail - so the scale of identification and removal can be seriously increased for things like this (or for example apps given names to try and trick users). These are things the community could identify to snuff out quite quickly.

Needs to be a big red button right up a the top and lets the user provide the details. Might need a set of folks (users but paid for the work perhaps) to triage them before they get into the serious, address this, pipeline.
App Store used to have that. A big button called Report a Problem, Guess what happen to it ?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
16 weeks ago

The question is whether they would listen. I used to report bugs to Apple, which was time consuming, and I stopped doing it because they were never followed up on.
Same here. I've reported so many bugs, even in betas, gathering diagnostic data, screenshots and videos, etc. and my reports just vanish into the aether with nary a response.

Even a "This is a duplicate of bug #xxxx" would be a million times better than nothing.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randyhudson Avatar
16 weeks ago
This is the kind of quality vetting that $72 billion/year buys you.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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