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Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews 178

Posted by timothy
from the built-in-garbage-collection dept.
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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Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews

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  • Thank goodness! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:49PM (#30366842)

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

    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:01PM (#30366978) Homepage

      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? 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
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        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: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by amicusNYCL (1538833)

          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: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Mister Whirly (964219)
            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 y
            • Not only that but just because two apps have the same function doesn't mean they do said function equally as well.
          • Actually not true (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SuperKendall (25149)

            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.

            • Probably because Twitter users are pretty vitriolic and easy to whip into a frenzy.

              You mean TwiddleNiplr was rejected? How am I going to tweet my tweeps while I'm tweeking my teats now?!?!
      • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:32PM (#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.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          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.

          And here in lies one of the many problems with Apples Pathological Control(TM) system. It leaves the entire system open to gaming and manipulation by developers. It's a lot harder to game an open system as you have to deal with too many variables, with Apple you only have to trick Apple, with an open, user rated s

    • by SoulRider (148285)

      wouldnt that be 98,999 cheap knockoffs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

  • Knock-offs (Score:4, Funny)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:50PM (#30366854)

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

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

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:52PM (#30366874) Homepage Journal
    Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved, and yet somehow these guys have literally a thousand crappy knockoff apps?
    • Maybe he submitted 10 000 apps.

    • The Plot Thickens (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:59PM (#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."

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:04PM (#30367018) Journal

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

      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 sh

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by shog9 (154858)

        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"?

      • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:17PM (#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.

      • 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 crap

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MobyDisk (75490)

        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.

      • by Dare nMc (468959)

        it's not that difficult to get an app approved.

        Sure, but apple has been known (see google voice) to approve them, and only seriously review them if they start selling, ie after you have spent your money, but before you made a profit.
        If your writing quick little ain't that cute games, who cares if a few get kicked. On the other hand if you have just $10,000 and spent 6 months and all your money to buy a mac... to make your killer app, then get some generic apple response "it violates our polices, but which ones, and why we are keeping secret." Does y

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:35PM (#30367404) Journal
      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.
    • by harl (84412)

      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mr_Silver (213637)

      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 "probl

    • by abigor (540274)

      Real developers have trouble getting even small numbers of apps approved

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

  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by AntiRush (1175479) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:53PM (#30366884) Homepage
    Great, a new way to remove my competition from the app store. Post good reviews on their apps!
    • ah, i see someone has already tried this by modding your post funny! too bad slashdot doesnt remove comments unless under the duress of a lawsuit.
  • They'll move onto the next platform. It's cheap to pay these guys to port.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      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.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        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.

        Android has been able to use apps written in C++ since 1.5 and that was two releases ago, granted with Androids rapid release times that was only six months ago.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          Objective C != C++, although both are based on the C programming language. Still requires a rewrite, although less of one, since the C code can remain the same. Runtime environment is still completely different, and multitasking is handled differently.
          • I believe you can write in C or C++ on the iphone as well, though the UI APIs will no doubt be totally different.

            • by Locke2005 (849178)
              Since Objective C is a superset of C, yes you could write in C. But I believe you need to use Objective C to access most of the functionality of the iPhone. Granted, my iPhone and Android development knowledge is not up to date.
    • by mjwx (966435)

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

      Two things will kill people like this on Android. User Ratings and User Comments. Once a scam like this is noticed all this persons applications will be relegated into one star hell with enough "this is a scam" comments to ward off any potential visitors. One developer or even a group of developers will have a hard time going up against the entire community.

      Picture what happened with Spore and Amazon, thousands of user comments a

  • by maczealot (864883) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:59PM (#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.
    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:04PM (#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)

      • by Yold (473518) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:37PM (#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.

      • Or even better,

        Check the stats on their own database (i.e. the App Store).

        I found this just now: http://www.iappphone.com/stats/ [iappphone.com]

        The top 5 "Submitters"

        Brighthouse Labs - 1855
        Iceberg Reader - 1369
        Molinker Inc. - 1011
        FidesReef - 825
        iLike inc - 588

        From 15 minutes of research, its pretty clear to see that Brighthouse Labs, Molinker and FidesReef were (/are) definitely polluting the App Store.

        In some cases, its very clear why Apple have introduced the "In App Purchasing" - most of these should probably disappear

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      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 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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

    • Re:At The Risk (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:14PM (#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.

      • by Kenja (541830)
        Come on... Kentucky isn't THAT bad. And I dont think they where ever that good at math.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BearRanger (945122)

      *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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimbobborg (128330) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:48PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by GlassHeart (579618) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @05:08PM (#30370316) Journal
        I disagree. I think China is simply undergoing a stage of development exactly like Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan before it had gone through. I'm fairly certain that China will outgrow this and begin to build its own world-class brands over the next few decades, and also fairly certain that another country will take up the world's demand for cheap knock-off products when that starts to happen. It's called "moving up the value chain."
      • by mjwx (966435)

        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.

        Mao didn't create this. The monolithic type culture you describe exists everywhere in Asia from Korea and Japan to Thailand and Malaysia, its drilled into them from a young age that it's not a good thing to be different.

        That being said, it is not that much different to how the culture in the west has d

    • It is much cheaper to copy others work then to do you own.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      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
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fudoniten (918077)

        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 mos

    • 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).
      • 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, I

        • I know what I'm talking about, at least when it comes to Italian foods. I specifically didn't include wine in that list. Domestic craft beers compare pretty well with the imports, but IMHO, still lack when compared to European beers consumed on tap in country.

          There are some really good American Artisan Cheeses, but I don't think the Parmesan or Neufchâtel compare to the originals.
    • Re:At The Risk (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MontyApollo (849862) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:28PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EvilIdler (21087)

      You might want to check out the MP3 player market, particularly so-called "Chipods". Tons of fake products (literally tons), and just as many that merely copy Apple design without using the name. The worst fakes have copies of all the printed material included with originals. I also have a small collection of Sony-branded USB storage, not one of which has been inside a Sony factory. A trip to the high-tech areas of China would show you just how bad it is. Enter any electronics store, and marvel at all the m

    • Re:At The Risk (Score:4, Interesting)

      by icegreentea (974342) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @05:30PM (#30370596)
      Because cheap knock offs seems to make us a shit load of money right now.

      Ok, I am a Chinese-Canadian, and among my immediate circle of Chinese-Canadian friends, we are share similar feelings in regards to Chinese ingenuity and such. We're all proud of our previous contributions to human discovery. My parents harped on and on about that when I was a kid. We are all sure that the Chinese people are still very smart. For example, Taiwan for all intents and purposes is Chinese. Identical culture, identical language, pretty much the same education based mindset. We (my parents are from Taiwan) managed create all sorts of high quality products. Chip foundries? Like half of them are in Taiwan. Asus? Taiwan. Hell, you want another example? ATI was founded by a Hong Kong immigrant.

      At the same time, we know that we make retarded amounts of money selling cheap ass products. Why? Cause you stupid North Americans (including myself) want cheap ass products. I'm still talking about Taiwan here. Basically, North American shipped so much of their manufacturing base to Asia that any given Asian country is likely to be selling high quality 'brand name' products and crappy knockoffs at the same time. For example, nearly all Underarmor is made is Thailand. Thailand also exports a ridiculous fraction of cheap tourist shirts to North American cities.

      What I guess I'm trying to say is that, Asia is connected to cheap knock offs cause thats how we made our money. That was the first thing that North American companies offloaded into Asia. Like another poster said, that's how Taiwan and Japan and Korea started. Factories pumping out cheap stuff. That eventually brought in enough capital that each country started its own companies that grew, and now produce high-quality products.

      You'll be seeing that out of China sooner or later. For now, you guys seem happy throwing shit loads of money at China for making shit products. So they're going to keep doing it. But there's an entire middle and upper class in the large cities who are very well (often Western) educated. Just like the last wave of educated people kick started the current manufacturing growth spree, the next wave is going to make knowledge based industries, and higher quality products grow and explode.

      Face it, its pretty much impossible over the long run for North America to hold its lead against Asia. The population base is fucking huge. And they are every bit as smart and ambitious (maybe even more ambitious) than North Americans. The best you can hope for is some sort of mutually favourable relationship where North America gets to keep most of its stature.
    • 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?

      They're business-oriented. The point of a business is to get the highest profit margin. All other things being equal, you get a higher profit margin by copying something successful, because A: you have lower R&D costs, B: lower marketing costs, and C: lower risk that your product won't be successful. So in an environment where you *can* succeed by copying, that's the smart thing to do.

      There are plenty of Chinese innovations. We don't hear about them because they're moving at the same pace as every

  • by Czmyt (689032) <steve@czmyt.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:17PM (#30367196) Homepage
    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.
  • ... 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
    • Yeah we are, it's what we do best badmouth the system. When it comes time to change the system, that's when we go "Rogue"
  • Clear Cut (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:21PM (#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?
  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:41PM (#30367486) Homepage Journal

    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.

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

  • 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.

  • People are being paid to rate an app with 5 stars but not saying so. That's now illegal.

    It's a stretch, but I would expect that rating an app is equal to blogging supportively about it.

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