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Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the built-in-garbage-collection dept.

Software 178

An anonymous reader writes "Molinker, a Chinese developer of iPhone apps, has been booted from the App Store after being caught trying to game the App Store review system. It seems reviewers were being paid off with free apps in return for 5-star reviews." This means the removal of over 1000 apps, described in this article as "knock-offs of existing applications."

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178 comments

Thank goodness! (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366842)

Now a user only needs to sort through 99,000 cheap knockoffs.

Re:Thank goodness! (4, Funny)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366978)

Now a user only needs to sort through 99,000 cheap knockoffs.

And a few hundred expensive ones.

Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (1)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367226)

Did anyone look at their other apps? From a reviewer page for ColorMagic (http://appshopper.com/photography/colormagic), their other apps are about 95% tour guide applications for various locations.

Yes, they were inflating their reviews. But it doesn't look like this company is doing cheap knock-offs of thousands of apps. This is just sloppy journalism (or no research done). Nothing like getting a story out there and over-sensationalizing it. It's not like it couldn't have stood on its own merit - Apple finally spanked somebody for over-inflating reviews (which should have happened long ago IMO).

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367318)

Are you kidding? there are companies out there that do a service for giving inflated reviews. It's not a new concept. [mobilecrunch.com] Lots of companies do cheap knockoffs, it's why iphone sounds like it has a ton of apps. Every app store has that same problem to some degree, but usually less so.

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (2, Funny)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367610)

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367946)

I bet that there is also a pro-democracy movement within China.

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368064)

there is, sadly most of them are in jail. Being an anti-astroturf PR pro is altogether more comfortable.

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368140)

Yeah, I should have said "Chinese government", that makes for a better analogy (because it really is likely that there are pro-democracy movements among the Chinese people, even if it is just the occasional guy who thinks his local administrator is a dick).

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (1, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367740)

The beautiful irony is that Apple will reject an app that duplicates the functionality of the device, but they're happy to let in several hundred apps that do the same stuff.

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (2, Informative)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368012)

How is that irony? Apple makes 20% of every app sold, so if you are dumb enough to buy multiple apps that do the same thing, Apple makes more money. Do you honestly think Apple doesn't want to make as much money as it can, and at the same time force users to use their apps, and not ones that compete with what they already have? Or do you think that somehow Apple has open user functionality, and not company profits, at the top of it's priority list? I mean we are talking about a company that won't even let you run their OS on hardware you didn't purchase from them.

Actually not true (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368582)

I cannot find a link now, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a report of some app rejected because the category was too full and the app didn't really offer anything new. It must have been a pretty extreme case because the flow of Twitter clients continues unabated, but they do at least seem to consider that aspect.

Re:Did anyone look at their other apps???!? (5, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368256)

One of the key elements for developers in the app store is visibility....and that means it is a numbers game.

Up until recently, each time an app is updated, it goes back to the top of the 'recently added' list, gaining fresh visibility and usually bumping sales of any other apps in the same vein by the same dev.

Apple has long told devs to update their apps at least once a month as customers interpret this as a sign of quality. Update an app...get back to the top of the list and your other apps get a corresponding boost.

One month ago, Apple changed that process to only allow brand new apps (v1.0) to go onto the recently released list...boom...updated apps flounder back where they last landed. This dev with over 1100 apps figured out immediately that in order to keep the flow going in terms of visibility meant that new apps had to flood in, with less focus on updates...the easiest way was to start kicking out more clones. The behind-the-scenes efforts meant not bothering with updates and a shift of labor towards new apps. Same 'visibility' effect....different approach. The change encouraged cloning by dishonest devs and discouraged incremental updates that help to grow quality for the honest devs.

Apple plugged one hole, and left another one open. Honest dealing devs lost a tool that prompted them to improve their apps over time while shady devs just moved to the other side of the street.

I sent my comments to Apple and the response was that they are aware and working on the issue. I told them they need to spend less time on blanket approaches that affect good and bad at the same time and more on reviewing individual apps for specific criteria so that good devs don't get mowed down in the process.

Re:Thank goodness! (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367562)

Now a user only needs to sort through 99,000 cheap knockoffs.

In sharp contrast to every other OS with apps made for it out there.

Re:Thank goodness! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367684)

Who all have only one single legitimate place to get them from... oh wait

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368026)

That would be a good point if a.) It wasn't sillingly difficult to find/install apps without a centralized place and b.) the other OS's weren't trying to rapidly head in Apple's direction.

Knock-offs (3, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366854)

described in this article as "knock-offs of existing applications."

The Chinese producing knock-offs of existing things? Surely you jest!

Re:Knock-offs (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369286)

That's nothing. Just yesterday I downloaded an app, and my computer produced a knock-off on the spot! And when I saved it on the hard drive, it produced another one. I couldn't tell the difference, but I've heard from Apple that they are indeed knock-offs.

How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the store? (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366874)

Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved, and yet somehow these guys have literally a thousand crappy knockoff apps?

The Plot Thickens (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366956)

Yes, that's right, that's the real interesting question. I suspect that somewhere in the Apple App Store Approval Work Flow Chain is a highly-greased QA monkey. I'll bet more money was spent on the outside reviewers and inside "expediters" than was spent on game design and development.

In America, that's called a "robust marketing budget."

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367018)

Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved, and yet somehow these guys have literally a thousand crappy knockoff apps?

They just submit them all and wait for approval?

In fact, it may be precisely why real developers have to wait for that long to get their apps approved... because there's 1000 "knock-offs" in the queue before them!

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367054)

Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved...

The quantity of apps on the app store suggest that you're mistaken. A few developers have had some high profile troubles (made high profile because they complain loudly...) but how many thousands of apps have been approved? I think that number would suggest that it's not as hard as people believe to get an app approved. If you're doing bleeding edge work that pushes the boundaries of what Apple considers acceptable, then you might have troubles. But, if you're doing that sort of app design work then you should expect some troubles and understand you might need to tweak and adjust to accomplish your goal (unless, of course, your goal is to get your app rejected and raise a high profile stink about it...).

Regardless, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of developers prove you wrong - it's not that difficult to get an app approved.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (2, Funny)

shog9 (154858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367158)

But, if you're doing that sort of app design work then you should expect some troubles and understand you might need to tweak and adjust to accomplish your goal

"Social debugging"?

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (3, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367186)

The quantity of apps on the app store suggest that you're mistaken...
Regardless, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of developers prove you wrong - it's not that difficult to get an app approved.

You can't really come to that conclusion without knowing the ratio of rejected apps to allowed apps. It could be that ten million apps have been submitted, and only about 1% approved. Or, it could be that 125,000 apps have been submitted and 80% have been approved. Only knowing the number that have been approved is not sufficient to make the claim that it's easy to get approved.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367268)

The quantity of apps on the app store suggest that you're mistaken. A few developers have had some high profile troubles (made high profile because they complain loudly...) Regardless, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of developers prove you wrong - it's not that difficult to get an app approved.

Instead of complaining about a few rejections, developers should be complaining about Apple essentially rubber-stamping thousands of apps that are just crappy knock-offs of other (possibly crappy) apps, diluting the value of worthwhile apps.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367308)

I think the users have been complaining about that longer than the developers.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (2, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367536)

pushes the boundaries of what Apple considers acceptable

The problem is that those boundaries are not defined. Which is why we get rejections on artistic grounds [politico.com] and other such stupidities.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367714)

I'm sure a $299/yr membership gets you more pull than than a $99/yr membership.


The again, 299 or 99, if Apple can get subscription fees for apps that will sell 1-2 qty per year is a gold mine.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367404)

It isn't so much that Apple's process makes getting apps approved, it is that it makes developing certain classes of apps difficult.

If your strategy is to shovel out hundreds of more or less cookie-cutter titles, the approval mechanism will just slow you down slightly. You'll presumably figure out the rough edges(dodgy API use, trademark stuff that pisses Apple off, etc.) out in the first few rounds, and the rest will just sail through. Plus, since you are basically just pumping and running, you don't really care about "I patched the issue two weeks ago; but Apple is just sitting on it" style problems because you don't bother patching.

The sort of applications that it hurts(which, not coincidentally, are the ones likely to be written by die-hard mac-heads with blogs whereon they can blog about their woes) are the complex and laborious applications(not worth the risk; because a very expensive bunch of labor could just go down the tubes if Apple says "no", and the little indie guys aren't big enough, like EA, to actually be treated as "partners"), or the applications that depend on careful iterative refinement(if delivering each bugfix takes 3 weeks because of Apple, you are doing indie dev work on a sclerotic corporate timescale), or applications that push technical boundaries(because apple is touchy about API use). Plus, unlike the chinese clone shop that just wants to keep its head down and get paid, the App Store rejection stories are, in many cases, also about people who have loved Apple since way back getting a good solid taste of Apple being callous, indifferent, unreasonable, and unapproachable. This makes them sad pandas. Sad Pandas always go to their blogs.

Copying approved apps (2, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367500)

If they're copying existing apps then they're copying something that was already approved. I imagine that the original developer would have already dealt with any hurdles.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367512)

don't believe the hype, most apps are approved quickly and with no issues. every single rejection that was hyped this year had real issues with it that Apple addressed with the developer and the dev chose to ignore it and become an attention whore. the one exception i read about was tweetdeck. Apple pulled the app due to bugs in a new release and it took a week for the bugs to be fixed and a stable release to make it to the app store.

if it wasn't for Apple doing a good job filtering, most developers would send buggy messes to the app store and fix it later. i already see a bunch of apps with nonsense advice like to completely uninstall it and reinstall it in case of problems.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1, Flamebait)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368342)

Do you know any of this for certain (and can back it up with sources) or are you just pulling this stuff straight out of your ether-hole?

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (0, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368948)

i'll read Macrumors a few times a week and they'll post links to blogs that tell the whole story. like with Rogue Amoeba and how the Mac Dev kit says you can use pictures and Apple told them exactly what they did wrong and they decided to just quit developing for the iphone

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (2, Interesting)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369120)

every single rejection that was hyped this year had real issues with it that Apple addressed with the developer and the dev chose to ignore

Sorry, but I fail to believe "every single rejection" followed this pattern. Do you even know how many apps were rejected? And do you honestly believe everything you read in a blog? What about the baby shaking app? You are telling me that was rejected for technical reasons?

Maybe not as hard as we think... (0)

MikeMo (521697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367574)

Maybe, just maybe, there is some Hype and Hysteria about Apple. Maybe most of the apps do get approved quickly, just like they say?

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (2, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367784)

Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved, and yet somehow these guys have literally a thousand crappy knockoff apps?

To be fair, when a developer gets their app accepted they don't normally write a blog and then submit it to Slashdot. Our view of the "problems" with the App Store is just distorted because we only see the (very) small number of people who have a problem.

Real developers have no problems getting their application tested and into the store just fine. If the "problems" we see were widespread, there would be nothing in the App Store to download.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (0, Redundant)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367912)

Have you actually seen the iPhone app store? There's like 50 different fart button apps. Infact, I've heard jokes that the app store is really the same 100 applications 1000 times over. The point isn't too far from the truth however. The app store is completely glutted.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1)

hudsucker (676767) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368214)

Which is pretty funny, because when Mac users are asked to explain why Windows has 100+ times more software products than Mac versions in any retail store, the answer is, "who needs 10 different versions of a word processor? The Mac market only sells the best product and doesn't bother with the crap."

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368390)

To be fair, reality has never intruded upon any Fanboy's logic processes in the past, Apple or otherwise.

Re:How in the heck did he get 1000 apps in the sto (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369550)

Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved

No, they don't. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks though.

Coming soon to Android.... (1)

Kagato (116051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366904)

They'll move onto the next platform. It's cheap to pay these guys to port.

Re:Coming soon to Android.... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367932)

iPhone apps are written in Objective C, Android Apps are written in Java with a completely different runtime library. That's not a port, that's a complete rewrite.

Those crazy Chinese! (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366906)

iChinese. iPlay joke. iPut peepee in your Coke!

Astroturf reviews are easy to spot. There are usually a flurry of similar looking reviews that praise the product, then these are followed by actual customer reviews. If the product is really good, the reviews will be good. If not, the contrast between the astroturf and real reviews will be stark.

Given the quality of other things that come out of China, especially in this festive holiday season, it is a good idea to be cautious of these things.

Re:Those crazy Chinese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367076)

iChinese. iPlay joke. iPut peepee in your Coke!

Seriously? That got moderated insightful?

Re:Those crazy Chinese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367164)

Whilst being a scientologist doesn't necessarily invalidate your opinion on absolutely every subject... ...oh wait, it does. FUCK OFF.

Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (4, Insightful)

maczealot (864883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366960)

Ok, so they were INCREDIBLY stupid in how they went about their astro-turfing. They literally had tons and tons of people review ONLY their apps and always give them 5 stars, it was only a matter of time till it was detected. So, if you are wondering how to do this better, just RTFA. The BIG kicker = Apple isn't going to refund any money, and the app dev isn't either.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (4, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367028)

Ok, so they were INCREDIBLY stupid in how they went about their astro-turfing. They literally had tons and tons of people review ONLY their apps and always give them 5 stars, it was only a matter of time till it was detected.

But it only was because an outside party drew Apple's attention to it.

Why didn't Apple themselves have some data mining in place to detect reviewer's "unusual" rating patterns (already the sheer number of reviews per reviewer should have raised flags)

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367082)

Apple don't care, they make money from the crap in their store, lots of money. Only when their fake image is tarnished will they act.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (3, Insightful)

Yold (473518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367430)

You are right, it would be trivial to do association analysis on this problem. The obvious answer is the quality of apps isn't important to Apple, as long as their Appstore is speckled with a handful of popular, high-quality apps that they can advertise ("there's an app for that..."). The more apps they sell, the more money goes into their own pockets. It took a blatant violation, which might hurt future sales due to fears of astro-turfing, for them to respond to this problem.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367910)

Easy. Whoever was responsible for coding it had to meet a checklist of features for his manager to be happy, and "go above and beyond the requirments" wasn't on the checklist. This is par for the course with corporate development.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367040)

Ok, so they were INCREDIBLY stupid in how they went about their astro-turfing. They literally had tons and tons of people review ONLY their apps and always give them 5 stars, it was only a matter of time till it was detected. So, if you are wondering how to do this better, just RTFA. The BIG kicker = Apple isn't going to refund any money, and the app dev isn't either.

Why would the developer refund money if the apps do what they were supposed to?

Plus, everyone should know by now that ratings are subjective, and the interweb lies.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (2, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367206)

Why would the developer refund money if the apps do what they were supposed to?

If the apps did what they were supposed to, why fake reviews?

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367418)

If the apps did what they were supposed to, why fake reviews?

Because there are so many apps on the app store, even getting your app noticed at all is difficult. A new app with no reviews may not get a single download, or a very few at most. After that, if no one has left a review (and only a small fraction of app users will review the app), your app is lost in the noise of all the others. Having a bunch of five star reviews makes it more likely people will see and download your app.

Re:Article = Scam Guidebook 2.0 (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367918)

I thought every app on the App Store was rated 4 stars ... or at least it seems that way! The ratings system must be pretty gummed up, since an app has to be completely non-functional to get less than 3 and a half stars.

At The Risk (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366976)

At the risk of sounding perhaps trollish or inflammatory, or even over-generalizing, I have to ask why, over the course of the past couple of decades or so, perhaps longer, have the terms "China" and "cheap knockoffs" become synonymous?

Out of curiosity I headed over to this list of Chinese inventions [wikipedia.org] and I am surprised to see the numerous inventions by, and subsequent contributions to, humanity by the Chinese people.

It seems to me that they are quite capable of making new products and contributing new ideas, so why do they not do so? Why are there repeated examples of this sort of blatant copying? Can anyone clue me in here?

Re:At The Risk (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367148)

In order to find the answer to your question, let's take a look at the Middle East and consider that this wasteland of genocidal religious fanatics was once home to the most advanced mathematics in the world only 500 years ago. Mashallah.

Re:At The Risk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367968)

This "wasteland" also kept the Western culture alive when Rome was sacked. The Bible, Greek/Roman myths, astronomy, Plato, and many other core pieces of Western history were saved by the same people.

I just wonder what has changed, causing this devolution from arguably the most scholarly place in the world today to the anarchy and chaos of today.

If it wasn't for Persia, Europe would likely have had a much weaker Renaissance period with little scholarly info to base on (even stuff like Ptolemy's epicycles eventually led to Kepler's ellipses.), or perhaps no Renaissance at all, instead the wars between the dukedoms would have gone on until some outside empire would have formed and would have had easy pickings.

Re:At The Risk (3, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368242)

I just wonder what has changed, causing this devolution from arguably the most scholarly place in the world today to the anarchy and chaos of today.

The mongol invasion caused it. When they conquered Baghdad, then the main and most scholarly city, they razed the libraries. Their culture never recovered afterward.

Re:At The Risk (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368352)

Gengis Khan: We need to do something about these people. They do things with numbers, things I don't fully understand.

Underling #1: I've got an idea. Let's kill off all the people that do things with numbers you don't fully understand.

Underling #2: That leaves us with suicidal raging lunatics. They'll kill themselves off over time anyway.

Gengis Khan: Good plan dudes. It'll only become a problem if they find a way to explode with shrapnel and shred anything near them. Plan approved. Make it so.

Re:At The Risk (2, Insightful)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367540)

*snip*

It seems to me that they are quite capable of making new products and contributing new ideas, so why do they not do so? Why are there repeated examples of this sort of blatant copying? Can anyone clue me in here?

Because invention and innovation take time and actually cost money. Cheaply copying something is, well, cheap and makes money very quickly.

Re:At The Risk (4, Insightful)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367568)

It seems to me that they are quite capable of making new products and contributing new ideas, so why do they not do so? Why are there repeated examples of this sort of blatant copying? Can anyone clue me in here?

Mao happened between then and now. When you have a monolithic culture where standing out gets you beat down, and it's easier to just copy something than come up with something new, you get crap like this.

Re:At The Risk (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368032)

There are over 1.3 Billion Chinese. Even if a very small percentage of them are creative, they should still be out-inventing every other country in the world. Obviously, the majority of them are better at copying. This might be due to an educational system that stresses rote memorization and discourages independent thought. My experience with Taiwanese CS grads was that they were very good at doing exactly what you told them to do, but if an unexpected situation came up, they were reluctant to handle it on their own. Of course, that is a generalization based on a very small sample set, so it doesn't apply to all Chinese.

Re:At The Risk (2, Insightful)

fudoniten (918077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368686)

Well, there's the whole starving-to-death thing. When you're struggling to survive, it's a little harder to be creative and inventive. The speed of progress and innovation in the US and Europe was closely correlated with the amount of surplus food they had (and have) lying around.

China has only recently (almost) got rid of that problem. Now they're playing catchup. They're making a ton of money creating 'knock-offs', and building their infrastructure in the process.

Expect China (and India) to be the most innovative countries on earth in, oh, I dunno, twenty to thirty years.

Re:At The Risk (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368058)

Japan was thought of in the same light in the 60's and 70's. Heck at one point in the history of the US, we were also the cheap, knockoff producer. In fact, I would say that we still are in respect to food (Cream Cheese => Neufchâtel; cheese, parmasean => parmigiano-reggiano; Hershey's chocolate => real milk chocolate; ).

Over time, their economy will grow up just like ours did ( only 200X faster).

Re:At The Risk (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369490)

In fact, I would say that we still are in respect to food (Cream Cheese => Neufchâtel; cheese, parmasean => parmigiano-reggiano; Hershey's chocolate => real milk chocolate; ).

At the risk of straying WAY off-topic...

US mass-market foods are definitely cheap knockoffs. "Cheap" is the operative word, not "knockoff" :)

The small-market high-end foodstuffs in the US can compete with any country. In rural NJ, I can find a cheesemonger with 30 or 40 locally made artisan cheeses, some of which, IMO, are better than the "inspiration" cheeses they copy in style and production method. Beers? The US is at the leading edge globally. Wine? Well, if you like California fruit bombs, we've got 'em. We've also got excellent Pinot Noir out of Oregon and Washington. Meat? Fuhgeddaboudit. We get great meat if we're willing to pay for it.

I know I'm rambling a bit, but I don't think it's fair to make generalizations based on a comparison of mass-produced US foods with local high-end foreign foods.

* I live in a rural area close to two very major metro areas. What's available to me is likely far different from what's available to someone living in Indiana. YMMV, etc.

Re:At The Risk (4, Interesting)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368182)

The likely, but not Slashdot-friendly answer is the lack of IP protection in China.

Someone commented on here before that it is an innovation wasteland in China because they know everybody would immediately copy anything they created.

Re:At The Risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368212)

For the same reason Japan was doing the same thing, 30 years earlier? First the build our stuff for cheap, then they learn to rip off the plans and build cheap stuff that doesn't quite work, then they up the quality while keeping it cheap and Toyota takes over the world.

Re:At The Risk (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368688)

Duh, what are you, slow?

We aped everything in England and Europe until we started kicking their asses. One difference I suspect, though, is the economic pressure is much worse there than it was here.

Re:At The Risk (1)

freedomseven (967354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368990)

The Chinese culture through the centuries has had explicit disincentives to innovation and independent thought. In America, we say "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." In China they say "the nail that stands up, gets beaten down."

On the other hand they have had remarkable cultural stability along with an ability to recognize the value of technology . Even during regime changes, the new boss was very much like the old boss, culturally. So, their innovations tend come at a slower pace. But, the Chinese have tended to hold on to their technology from regime to regime and have done a very good job of protecting their culture.

The fact that the Chinese have little respect for other peoples IP is not surprising at all. I have done a fair amount of manufacturing in China and another key difference that I have noticed is in the contract process.

When westerners sign a contract, we view that as the end of negotiations. The Chinese that I have contracted with have always viewed that as the beginning of final negotiations. At one point it got so bad, that we bought a small factory in China so that we could fix our cost basis.

Which scam? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366980)

This scam was so effective that the applications regularly rose to the tops of charts. One, called ColorMagic, even made it into the Staff Favorites section of the store (which brings some doubt as to whether these are actually staff picks at all).

Suggests? What it shows is that either "staff favorites" is noting more than an advertising section called "staff favorites" under false pretenses (grounds for a law suite anybody?) OR that the apple staff participated in the scam.

Re:Which scam? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367056)

Suggests? What it shows is that either "staff favorites" is noting more than an advertising section called "staff favorites" under false pretenses (grounds for a law suite anybody?) OR that the apple staff participated in the scam.

You cast a thousand nets and chances are good you'll catch a fish.

Re:Which scam? (2, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367096)

Well, it would be reasonable for the staff to only review high ranked apps for the Staff Favorites list. If the ColorMagic app doesn't suck too much it could be a legitimate selection.

Do these iPhone apps use... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367034)

JBOSS? We use JBOSS at work, it's great. Everybody should use JBOSS.

Cannot Rate Paid Apps Downloaded For Free (4, Interesting)

Czmyt (689032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367196)

This hardly seems like news, except that Apple messed up by allowing people who received free, promotional copies of paid apps to rate those apps. If Apple were to prohibit that and also remove any such ratings then that should solve the problem.

They cut the end of the article... (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367224)

... it should have continued thusly:

But can Apple be blamed for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals? For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole App Store system? And if the whole App Store system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our computing institutions in general? I put it to you - isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

Re:They cut the end of the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367632)

But can Apple be blamed for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals? For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole App Store system? And if the whole App Store system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our computing institutions in general? I put it to you - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

That's America for you, we outsource everything but guilt.

Clear Cut (2, Interesting)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367246)

I guess they better remove all the apps that have sales, as they are discounting themselves in order to gain positive reviews! Or is that somehow different because they aren't from China?

Re:Clear Cut (1)

MooglyGuy (1455165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369006)

Great strawman argument, bro! You should try some ad hominem next, or maybe post hoc ergo propter hoc.

gaming your competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367416)

now all you have to do is add 5 star reviews to your competition and wait for ...
App gets pulled for review bias - WIN WIN WIN
App goes gold and makes the developer rich - LOSE LOSE LOSE

Or claim your completition is gaming your reviews but you are adding them.
Or claim you are inflating your own reviews to scam your competition, oh, no wait ...

A Chinese Sybil Attack (3, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367486)

A Sybil Attack [wikipedia.org] is from multiple if not more personalities (sockpuppets of the same person or group) that use the reputation system to gave favor in one person's or group's favor.

Any good security system should have a countermeasure for detecting a Sybil Attack, and it looks like Apple's App Store just implemented such a thing to detect more Sybil Attacks in the future.

Yes it is also Astro Turfing. Now if the Sybil Attacks rated other applications at random ratings, they might have gone undetected and passed off as just another user. But because they only rate one group of applications, they can be detected and thus action be taken by Apple et al to deal with it.

Duh (0)

JM78 (1042206) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367522)

The App Store is full of bogus reviews - its taken this long for Apple to boot someone? WTF? There are a huge number of apps with 1-star reviews along with an equal number of 5-star, "this sweet app is awesome!!!" reviews mixed in. When reviews are that polarized it is glaringly obvious which developers are paying for positive reviews in order artificially inflate their ratings amidst the plethora of negative responses.

Honestly, the App Store needs a better rating system; one which flags apps who have blatantly polarized ratings/reviews.

Re:Duh (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368194)

It sounds like the display of the review data is broken, it should be evident, at a glance, that a given set of reviews are one-sided.

Knock offs? How ingenious!! (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367616)

"this article as knock-offs of existing applications"

Aside from the web 2.0 services, aren't all the other applications essentially knock offs from PocketPC or PalmOS apps? I mean music players, photo manipulators, pac mac, pinball, and card games, funnies, and such have been around for what, 7years? (Since the Tungsten W).

Still no bookmark sync :( (1)

VMaN (164134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367880)

The last version had bookmark sync greyed out, now it's missing completely... AAARGH

FC Tasks by SCO Group - more fraud? (1)

the saltydog (450856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368002)

Check the nyms giving it 5 star reviews - many similar to the aliases Darl McBride and family have used in the past at the Yahoo Finance SCOX/SCOXQ.PK message boards... coincidence?

You'd Have to be Nuts to Develop for that Platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368018)

Hey, it's great that a crapplication developer got what they deserved, but there's absolutely no way I would ever write software for such an insane prostate-yourself-before-Apple platform. At least with .NET, there's some considerable lag between the time that Microsoft looks at your app and decides what modifications to make to the framework to break it and when your app doesn't run any more.

How many apps could just be web pages? (1)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368718)

How many apps could just be web pages?

How many apps could just be web pages if there were a couple more form controls for rich internet applications?

The app store is beginning to look more like a paywall attack on the web.

Scoundrels! (1)

BuddyFriend (1653333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368846)

Gaming the system? Who knew they were so unscrupulous. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to speak with my WoW gold courier.

Of knock offs and and "reviews" (1)

javalizard (781952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368940)

Is the practice of paying others to write reviews of your app banned? Is paying them to write only 5 star reviews banned? My thoughts are that if this practice isn't specifically banned, how can you just knock a developer completely out? Maybe a warning and removal of all "paid" comments would be better and then if they continued doing it, then ban them? This one strike rule is highly confrontational in nearly all places. It doesn't do justice to humanity: to err is human. If you don't fix your erring ways, then i can understand such force against that one individual. (things like illegal downloads, and turning off the internet b/c of it is highly problematic for many reasons. One is that it restricts the family members or others in the place as well who haven't done anything). Regardless, requiring one to be non-human is very degrading.
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