App Store Scam: Don't believe the Apps with 5-star Reviews until you read 1-star too

Kosta Eleftheriou, a mobile app developer, has a new mission beyond software development: to combat what he perceives as a widespread scam problem tarnishing Apple App Store's legitimacy.

Eleftheriou, the creator of the famous Apple Watch keyboard app FlickType, has been openly criticizing Apple for slack enforcement of its App Store regulations, which has allowed scam apps and clones of popular software from other developers to flourish. These apps are on top of the iPhone app store because of flattering reviews and five-star ratings that are primarily faked, he claims.

It has been discovered that an app that required at least a three-star review to function made it through the Apple App Store's review process.

The "UPNP Xtreme" program, which purported to enable users to stream video on a TV, flashed the App Store rating box as soon as it launched, according to iOS developer Kosta Eleftheriou. According to Eleftheriou, most users were unable to escape the rating box and could not tap the one or two-star ratings.

"Developers should refrain from showing a request for a review immediately when a user runs your app," according to one of Apple's best practices manuals. UPNP Xtreme sought positive ratings to climb the Software Store's rankings, employing deceptive strategies to make its app more prominent than those of legitimate developers and encourage more people to interact with the fraud. The app appears to be no longer available on the App Store.

Eleftheriou has previously voiced concerns about fraud and copycat programs on the App Store, claiming that Apple is not doing enough to prevent them during the review process. With his own FlickType Apple Watch keyboard software, which was plagued with fraud copycats that Apple allegedly refused to remove, he has learned how tough it is to deal with fraudulent apps.

Eleftheriou filed a complaint against Apple earlier this year, alleging carelessness and anticompetitive activity in connection with his experience with FlickType.

His outspoken criticisms, which have drawn the attention and backing of a slew of other iOS app developers, highlight the growing chasm between Apple and the software developers it relies on. It comes at a time when the business is facing unprecedented antitrust scrutiny and legal challenges from competitors over its management of the App Store, which is believed to have brought in more than $64 billion last year.

"We take all reports of fraudulent behaviour seriously, and we investigate and respond to each one. The App Store is intended to be a safe and secure destination for customers to download programmes, as well as a lucrative opportunity for developers."

"On the App Store, we do not allow fraudulent behaviour and have strict regulations in place for apps and developers who try to game the system. Over half a million developer accounts were cancelled for fraud in 2020, and over 60 million spam user reviews were eliminated."