We believe that what’s in our store says a lot about who we are

May 30 2019 by Jeff Johnson

According to Apple's new App Store - Principles and Practices page, "We believe that what’s in our store says a lot about who we are." I hope that's not true, because the App Store is rife with scams. Apple says, "It’s our store. And we take responsibility for it." I know that's not true. If you do a little looking, it doesn't take long to find scammers in the App Store. I've done it. Has Apple done it? I haven't found evidence that Apple takes responsibility for the App Store.

Five months ago I wrote about a scammer named "Emanuele Floris" who has an absurdly large number of apps in both the iOS and Mac App Store. At the suggestion of someone who works for the App Store, I also reported this scammer to Apple's App Review via email. And I reported the scammer to Apple Product Feedback. As of this writing of this blog post, this scammer's apps are all still in the iOS and Mac App Store. No action has been taken by Apple.

Recently I found another enormous scam in the Mac App Store. As a Mac developer, I'm primarily concerned with the Mac side. Don't make the mistake of thinking that scams are primarily a Mac App Store problem, though. As I said, Emanuele Floris has a large number of apps in the iOS App Store. If you want to read more about scams in the iOS App Store, take a look at Apps Exposed. In this blog post, though, I'm going to talk about a Mac app scammer.

On May 23, a friend of mine mentioned to me that he found a Mac App Store app whose "support" link was an incredibly scummy web site. I won't link directly to the site, because it may distribute malware, but the domain is mac-apps dot com. Visit at your own risk. This site illegitimately and probably illegally redistributes and resells other apps. Here's an example. Not authorized by Microsoft, I bet?
Office for Mac

The Mac App Store developer that linked to this "support" site was called Appinga Apps:
Appinga Apps

I complained publicly about this scammer, and my complaints must have caught the attention of someone important, because lo and behold, within five hours the scammer was removed from the Mac App Store:
Appinga Apps

Problem solved, happy ending, right? Not quite! On May 26, I found another Mac App Store developer, under a different name, with app support links to the same scam web site. This time it was "Appster Ltd":
Appster Ltd

Currently, one of Appster's scam apps, Viewer for Arlo Cam, is #20 in the Mac App Store Top Paid chart:
Mac App Store Top Paid

How did these scammers get past Apple's App Review in the first place? I don't know the answer to that question, but maybe you should request an answer from Apple. And request that Apple take responsibility for the App Store, removing Appster Ltd, Emanuele Floris, and other scammers. Otherwise, no App Store shopper is truly safe.

I want the App Store to be safe. I want the App Store to be a good experience. I sell my own apps in the App Store, and I hate that shoppers get scammed, I hate that legitimate developers have to compete against scammers. I hate that Apple sometimes even features scammers in the App Store. This is not the experience that anyone wants. Except the scammers, of course. What about Apple?


The developer "Android Essential" (What a name, huh?) appears to be part of the same scammer group as Appster and Appinga:
Android Essential

Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)