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App Store review complaints continue as devs face copypcats

In February, 9to5Mac reported that the popular Authenticator app was facing iOS copycats. At the time, complaints about the App Store review process were rising. But six months from there, it doesn’t seem much has changed as 2Stable developers are now facing the same issue, raising the fundamental question of Apple’s App Store as a gatekeeper from scammers and “a place you can trust.”

Authenticator app creator Kevin Archer posted a Twitter thread about the issue. He writes:

Scammers are on the App Store again with a new developer account, but the same app and of course weekly subscription. They’re using the same strategy, requesting a review in the onboarding stage to get more ratings, the same 5 screens [as his app], and a weekly subscription at the end.”

In a few sentences, even the more naive Apple customers know that even if Archer wasn’t dealing with a copycat, this app would already be infringing a few App Store policies.

What impresses Archer is that the scammer developer didn’t even “change the design or text of their main screen. It’s identical to the old version that they copied from our app. The same website layout that they used in the past for their privacy policy and the contact form” is also used here.

app-store-scam-9to5mac authenticator app

The scammers are using unfair techniques, specifically, simulating or buying downloads for specific keywords on App Store, and at the moment the app is climbing positions. Soon, more and more users will get scammed for $239/year.

Not only this is the second time in six months that the developers face this issue, but this shows how little Apple is committed to changing its approach to avoid scam apps and fake developers’ accounts. With just a “Report a Problem” option for Authenticator creators to try to reach Apple, this hurts small business entrepreneurs as they can’t pay for specific keywords in the App Store search – or buy downloads, as these copycats are doing.

9to5Mac’s Take on App Store scam over 2Stable’s Authenticator app

It’s frustrating how Apple deals with scammers. Every now and then, we report stories about multimillion-dollar scam apps on the App Store. More than once, the company “mistakenly” featured these applications on its store.

As Apple faces lawsuits across the globe, with the Epic vs. Apple case being one of the most high-profile disputes over the company’s App Store power, Apple needs to do more to make the App Store the place customers can really trust.

Last October, Apple brought back the Report a Problem link to help fight scams with two significant improvements, but as it’s the only tool available to get in touch with the App Store team, developers struggles until Apple finally takes these scam apps down or end these fake dev accounts.

Finally, don’t forget to check 2Stable’s incredible Authenticator app on the App Store here and read our story about the app here.

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