Apple Bans 1,000+ Apps from a Single iPhone Developer

App Store cleared of some of the low-value content

By on December 8th, 2009 14:19 GMT
A person keeping in touch with the iPhone photography blog Iphoneography has sounded the alarm over a developer’s unfair practices of posting positive reviews and five-star ratings to his own apps. Apple was quick to act and removed all 1,000+ applications developed by Molinker. This is not the first time Apple pulls hundreds of apps in one move, pulling their developers’ license as well.

Iphoneography reveals that, while looking through the applications offered by iPhone developer Molinker, tipster SCW noticed that roughly 90% of the reviews came from a group of people who only reviewed Molinker applications. This was a clear signal that the developer was likely reviewing his own apps. So, SCW fired off a letter to none other than Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller, asking him to investigate. Portions of the letter in question can be found below.

"Attention Phil Schiller,

MAJOR FAKE AppStore Reviews & Ratings ALERT:
Please investigate for I have just looked at 44 of the reviewers who posted reviews for this Molinker Inc app "NightCam Pro" & EVERY Review except 2 of the 44+ are ALL FAKE 5 [star] reviews.
[...]
I would also like to highly suggest to take a deep look into not only the "reviewers" but I will almost bet that all of these users redeemed "Promo Codes" for these apps in order to only access the US app store & publish these endless slew of fake postings. All to increase the developers ratings, status, sales & ultimately have a pay-off when potential customers see such high ratings & then just buy the apps. Then if any poor reviews are made they will be over shadowed by the unlimited amount of amazing 5 Star reviews posted by fake users.
[...]
This truly is an absolute disgrace & I will not let this go unnoticed! The public deserves to be aware of such a scam & ultimately legitimate purchases by users of any MoLinker app should be refunded. Molinker apps possibly should all be pulled & the developer banned & fined.
"

According to Iphoneography, “In the blink of an eye, all trace of Molinker was gone.” The entire catalog of Molinker’s 1,011 applications has disappeared, taking the shilled reviews down with them. Apple’s Phil Schiller (talk about a predestined name) reportedly responded to SCW, saying, “Yes, this developer’s apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either.”

In hiss original letter to Schiller, SCW wrote, “I think I deserve an investigations reward for unearthing this blatant attempt at misleading & stealing from the public.” We’d say the reply coming from Apple’s exec is reward enough, but we wouldn’t mind doing a story entitled “Apple Rewards App Store Private Detective” so, may SCW’s wishes be granted.

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