App Store dreams vs scams

What's the difference between a Lottery Ticket and a developer making apps? Give up?? The developer has a better chance at winning the lottery and has to do way less work than on making an app and striking it big. Still, developers do not give up hope and are churning out apps by the dozen, flappy this, flappy that, flappy floppy, what not...

The Current Scenario

Have a look at the Top Charts in your country, I guess it wouldn't matter which country as more or less the top charts would have similar apps on the top, unless they conflict with the national pass time of a particular nation. Flappy bird caused a massive stir, in fact more than Bubble Ball did a couple of years ago, more so because the mechanics of the app were so simple and easy to replicate. So started the barrage of flappy re-skinned clones, it is surprising to see that on the top charts, there is or rather are re-skinned flappy clones, what is it with the people? Flappy Wings - FREE, Flying Cyrus - Wrecking Ball, Splashy Fish, Flappy Miley, Flappy Schapelle (a rip off on Schapelle Corby I guess), Flappy Wings, Ironpants, Flappy Swim, Flappy Devil, Flappy Duck and we are talking the top 100 list here, Clash of Clans figures on 104 and Boom Beach on 54. Not only that, read any twitter feed or a tutorial site, every one of them is making a Flappy bird clone.

That isn't bad, so what's the go?

Yes and No. If you recollect there was a time when were book apps, some developers simply recompiled the shell of an app with a txt file and post it as a book app. Apple hadd then cleaned out all the crap from that developer. Plus these books were paid apps. There is nothing wrong with this as it does not hurt anyone, or at least that’s what you think.

Firstly, do you know what is mulch? For those that don't, it is the small pieces of wood (generally) that are spread around plants to prevent the weeds from growing, plus it also enriches the soil. Similarly, there the converse is true, when these cr-Apps form a layer over the one of two apps that you as a developer create, no one would know about it as it is obscure and hidden. Would you dig into the layers to search for an app? That is too much work, it could be faster and easier for a developer to create another app that has the functionalities that your app would provide. So it Smothers your app's presence.

Secondly, It takes away from the revenues that you could have earned. For every app, there are several that are FREE and have similar functionality. It is surprising to note that one may tire of kissing frogs before finding a prince, but free downloads, keep them coming... So, you would have almost lost the market since there are fewer and fewer takers, and the ones that remain are burnt with a bad experience.

They are as much in the business as you are

Yes, Fair Dinkum. However, that is no longer a leveled playing field when you find out that even apps are scams. To quote the first app scam, "I am Rich" that sold for $999. Come to think of it, that was hardly a scam as that has paved the loophole to scams. Then there were apps that had icons and names similar to those of popular apps and worse of them all is the cheats for "XYZ" app. Then came the apps that are simply signed by another developer and re-packaged as their own. Lastly Piracy and Jailbreaking also took away a share from developers. Now when you look at that context, how strongly do you still believe in a fair go? Is it Fair Dinkum??

EA, HalfBrick etc have made it

Yes, there are these companies that have made it on the app stores, even SuperCell, they came in with a clone of Farmville, but they had wonderful immersive graphics and their plants did not wither away and die because you were late (not everyone has free time, all the time) Then they came up with Clash of the Clans, another farming game with a bit of strategy or action. Having come from the CnC series, I thought this was amazing. There are success stories and these apps also look AAA quality. There are other gems like the Lost City, the developer made a stir, earned a million and has a new release. The point remains that there are other talented developers that have tried their best to recreate the expereince but have not succeeded. The bottom line comes down to if you were an inventor and made the most wonderful invention and a big corporation made an upgrade to an existing product, but spend millions to tell people that this is the NEW product, which one do you think would sell?

Is Marketing the way to go?

That’s exactly what a lot of people thought. Earlier no one bothered with spreading the word, Developers were known in their circles and those followed the development via the developers blog and purchased the app when it was released. Then came the new market of Press Releases, You could find most of them starting with "I am a 15 year old..." and every few months it would reduce by a year. Looking at this market, there were hundreds of review sites that popped up overnight. Some even started charging for their reviews and would write a marketing speil for the app, some would also award them their "Choice Award" badge or give them a 5* rating. This marketing worked only for so long,users would read reviews on the app page and decide otherwise, so a new business started, paid fake reviews. The idea behind this was amazing, the users posting a review would get points which were redeemable in either in-app currency or iTunes card, etc. I recollect an app forced you to rate then with a 5* to get extra in-app currency, that was the last I know I spend time on that app. There are other syndicates that pay users money to rate apps, download apps, etc. It all seems legit and harmless, after all when you need more gems in Clash of Clans to get that extra Builder of create Dragons, Minions, etc this is the easiest and a FREE way to do so.

Is that all?

Well, if you think that is ok, after all morals are not the point of discussion here, then... There exist some organisation that *assist* app developer to reach the top carts for a fee. Does that not make you wonder, the power of their social network gets you downloads (for a fee) where as your own social networks might not even retweet the message (you are not paying them followers with something). This is founded entirely on the basis loopholes at Apple Store *algorithms* an app reaches the top charts if it makes a certain amount of money in a day or if it sells a particular number of apps. Earlier developers would make their apps free for a day, allow people to scavenge off the app for free and then push it back to paid, by then the spike in downloads would have pushed the app to some prominence and continued purchases and thereby revenues. So when the companies started off, they would charge a fee to promote an app and expect the developer to make it free for that promotional period, so started the free-app-of-the-day type sites. This was a double whammy for the developers, they were losing money to the organisation and then via free. So the new modus operendi of these companies is that they have Bots/People that purchase the app and thereby spike the app into the top charts, and then once its in the charts, the users ARE non-intelligent and would download the app because it was in the top charts. It is also called the 30% bribe to Apple, because the developer pays for purchasing their own apps to get into the charts. Apple has no ethical concerns on this and why should it, after all as far as they are concerned, it was 100's of accounts that made these micro-transactions and hey, 30% coming in is not bad at all.

How does paying 30% work, come again!

The developer sets aside an amount, users buy that app with that money, the developer gets 70% of that back when Apple pays. The app moves into the top charts if it hits the $10,000 mark in a day and once it is in the charts, it does not fall out immediately and the intelligent community buys the app because it is in the top charts.

Another variant of this scam also involves pushing the price up to $999 and it needs fewer people to buy the app at this price and push it onto the charts.

So what is so wrong about it? That's ingenious

Yes it is. What is also ingenious is that fact that this is what constitutes fraud, however it is safe due to the loopholes. In fact if you look at it, Automobile manufacturers spend money on Promotion and advertising, the more you see a vehicle and hear about it, the more you are tempted to get it. It is similar in this case too. The app is seen by more and thereby coveted and downloaded, thereby keeping the momentum going, which then helps the developer to recover their costs.

AND This is where the second part of the scam starts...

Every second person wants to become an App Businessman, I say App Businessman because not all of them are developers, most want to hire the services of a developer and designer, re-skin some source code and sell the repackaged goods. The success of this depends entirely on the fact that the app reach top charts to prove that it makes $10-20K a day. The developer than posts the Source Code of this wonderful Top of the charts app on the store for sale. Where as the app itself is a template that is compiled and re-skinned which itself would have been obtained for free or for a nominal fee.

With this, firstly it is the developers that are disadvantaged since Apple does not promote your wonderful app that will change the world or revolutionize gaming and on top of that it also deprives you of the probable revenues.

Secondly, since developers are always looking for the formulas of how the App store *lottery* works, they are conned into purchasing the source of an app that seems like a topper but in reality is just a scam.

Links (Paid)!/id814004548?mt=8 (Free)


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