Twitter user and app developer Kosta Eleftheriou has discovered a super sleazy way for an app to gain good reviews on the iOS App Store. A UPNP Xtreme app—which claims to let users stream videos to their TVs—would not let users open the app itself without giving it at least a 3-star review.
Eleftheriou tweeted a video of him trying his hardest to get into the app. He tried pressing “Not Now” quite a few times with no avail. He wasn’t able to press 1 or 2 stars as a rating, and was only able to press 3, 4 or 5 stars—which is pretty scammy.
As shocking as this is for me, Eleftheriou has been reporting of many other suspiciously scammy apps on the App Store. He has tweeted about several iOS games for children that are actually secret online casinos.
“If you think you can trust App Store ratings, you haven’t been paying enough attention. This is the iOS *system* rating prompt, not a custom look-alike one. The worst part? This trick is EXTREMELY easy for any developer to do, and not limited to this app,” he tweeted.
The app itself is not available in Malaysia, but Eleftheriou added its ratings page full of negative reviews depicting frustrated users who have also been forced to leave a review. User Chevurim wrote that the rating notification popped up before they even had a chance to use the app.
According to Eleftheriou, the app developer has more than 15 million downloads and “millions in revenue”. He also claims that Apple is keeping silent because is takes 15% – 30% of the cut and ignores customers complaints.
“With no competing app stores on iOS, Apple doesn’t care enough to improve their ways,” he continued, “The lesson? Stay vigilant, and don’t fall for their marketing. The App Store is not a place you can trust.”
Earlier this year, Eleftheriou filed a lawsuit against Apple earlier this year. He accused the company of “exploiting its monopoly power” over iOS apps to make billions in profits at the expense of small application developers and consumers”.