It’s time for an App Store scam app crackdown

Bill Mount

Any enterprise knows the biggest problem with rapid business expansion is scale; as a company’s business grows, it will face a range of unintended consequences. One of these can be a stealthy scourge of scam apps being sold at app stores, including Apple’s own. We didn’t see this coming Did […]

Any enterprise knows the biggest problem with rapid business expansion is scale; as a company’s business grows, it will face a range of unintended consequences. One of these can be a stealthy scourge of scam apps being sold at app stores, including Apple’s own.

We didn’t see this coming

Did we see this coming? Of course we did.

Cast your mind back to the early days of the App Store and you may recall the “I Am Rich” app, which cost $999.99 and did almost precisely nothing. It consisted of a glowing red button and an icon which displayed the words:

“I am rich

I deserv it

I am good,

healthy & successful.”

Eight people purchased the app before Apple removed it from the store after Dan Frommer called it “a joke that smells like a scammy rip-off” while Brian X. Chen said those who spent their money on it proved themselves to be jerks.

While two people got refunds, six people held onto the app — so at least some people actually liked the chutzpah. 

That was then, then when there were a few hundred thousand iPhones. Now there’s more than a billion in use. That could mean big business for a successful scam, even as users become more accustomed to subscription-based services.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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