Developers Complain as App Store Feature Promotes Rip-Off Apps

Apple has featured a number of apps with disproportionately expensive subscriptions on the App Store, arousing the ire of some developers.

app store blue banner
The ‌App Store‌ feature on the Australian ‌App Store‌, first highlighted by Beau Nouvelle on Twitter, is called "Slime relaxations" and reportedly features apps that are non-functional and seek to charge disproportionately costly in-app purchase subscriptions.

One of the apps, called "Jelly: Slime Simulator, ASMR," features a $13 per week subscription to get past its paywall, amounting to $676 per year. Apple's App Store Review Guidelines state (with emphasis our own):

If we can't understand how your app works or your in-app purchases aren't immediately obvious, it will delay your review and may trigger a rejection. And while pricing is up to you, we won't distribute apps and in-app purchase items that are clear rip-offs. We'll reject expensive apps that try to cheat users with irrationally high prices.

The fact that such apps have passed the ‌App Store‌ review process to be awarded a special feature from Apple on the ‌App Store‌ has induced outrage in some developers, such as Simeon Saëns of Two Lives Left, who took a closer look at one of the apps.

Given that at least some of these apps charge $13 per week, it is difficult to not see them as breaking ‌App Store‌ guidelines, so it is particularly surprising that they were actively featured by Apple on the ‌App Store‌.

Top Rated Comments

ouimetnick Avatar
12 months ago
This poor review process really doesn’t help Apple’s argument that the App Store should be the only place to get apps for the iPhone & iPad. Not only do they “review” and allow these sham/scams, they actively promote them.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iterva Avatar
12 months ago

Are the featured apps automated or something? How does this even happen? lol
My understanding has been, up until this point at least, that it is manually curated. Which makes this even worse.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The_Gream Avatar
12 months ago

Could they have submitted the app for lets say $1.00 per week then once approved upped to $13? or something like that?
I know that a number of the apps that have behaved this way: Fortnight was one such game, it made it through the review and then on a set date, it started running code that was against the rules. Probably what’s been happening here - seeing as Apple doesn’t see the code. So the App only has to make in through the review processes and then bam hidden actions can take place.
Personally, any app that does this should get a perma ban!!!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
12 months ago
Who the hell would subscribe to a mobile game for 700$US a year? That is crazy
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anijake Avatar
12 months ago
Could they have submitted the app for lets say $1.00 per week then once approved upped to $13? or something like that?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iterva Avatar
12 months ago

Personally, any app that does this should get a perma ban!!!
I agree. And no exceptions!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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