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‘Spam Apps’ Developer Banned from App Store

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Maybe a little bit of good news on the App Store front today “ although tainted by the fact that one good, positive action on Apple ‘s part also raises a lot of the same old ugly questions about ‘the process ‘ used in reviewing apps.

Over the past few weeks, Apple has been much-maligned for keeping apps such as Google Voice off the App Store. But what if Apple deleted a completely useless app from the store? What about 900 useless apps – all from one developer? Apple has decided to test those waters: it has revoked the developer ‘s license of one of the App Store ‘s most prolific developers, Khalid Shaikh, founder of Perfect Acumen.

When MobileCrunch uses the word ‘prolific ‘ to describe Khalid Shaikh they are using it as a synonym for spamtastic.  Here ‘s a little more detail on just how prolific he had been until Apple shut him down (emphasis mine):

Khalid Shaikh has been making a killing off the App Store through questionable means. In less than 9 months, Khalid Shaikh and his 26-employee team (most of which are in Pakistan) have published 943 applications (thank you TapMetrics for validating these numbers). That ‘s roughly 5 apps a day, every day, for 250 days. All of these apps have gone through the entire Apple review process, sometimes taking as long as six weeks to get reviewed, and have been published on the App Store. Users have bought these apps in droves; Khalid has refused to give official numbers but we gather from his comments that it ‘s a few thousand dollars in sales per day. This business was making solid money until last Friday, July 24, when Khalid Shaikh was officially banned from the store. Without advance notice or forewarning of such an action, Apple revoked Khalid ‘s developer license and asked him to remove all of his apps from the store.

And here ‘s a little more insight into the philosophy driving Khalid ‘s development efforts:

He has told us over the phone that he is not concerned about creating particularly valuable apps. Instead, he says, he ‘s going for ‘less product value ‘ and ‘more monetization. ‘ So, instead of developing one or two apps and charging $0.99, Khalid prefers to create hundreds of apps and charge $4.99.

Jeez “ nothing like the old ‘Less value, More Profit ‘ slogan to ensure that your apps appeal only to those who really just don ‘t know any better when shopping. 

So I would imagine not too many folks are going to be shedding tears about this particular developer getting kicked or about the over 900 useless apps that go away with him.

But this also is yet another reminder of some of the bad questions that keep getting raised about the whole ‘non-process ‘ of App Store reviews.  Like

How the flying did any or ALL of those 943 apps get approved in the first place?

Why on earth did it take 9 months and 943 apps before this action was finally taken?

Then there ‘s this nugget from Apple ‘s ‘You ‘re Outta Here ‘ letter to the developer:

Apple has informed you of numerous third party intellectual property complaints concerning over 100 of your Applications and reminded you of your obligations to obtain the necessary rights prior to submission of your Applications. Nevertheless, we continue to receive the same or similar types of complaints regarding your Applications despite our repeated notices to you.

Again, why did it require over 100 such transgressions to get round to shutting this guy down?

If the answer to some of those questions is that this action is just a first example of a new crackdown on apps that infringe copyright, or on developers that produce spurious and spammy apps at ridiculous rates, then I ‘m all for it.  If it ‘s just a fluke, then I ‘ll just keep scratching my head I guess.

You can read lots more gory detail on this developer at MobileCrunch ‘s post about all this “ HERE.

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  • I think it's about time for Apple to make actions against these kinds of developers, if they really are. This is just the first step for Apple and I do hope that it will do the same actions against others.

    • If there are others that are publishing apps with copyright material they have no rights to, which imagine there are, I hope Apple's going to pursue them and get rid of them as well.

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  • I'm an app developer for Android and this guy has flooded the Android Market with apps that are in the same vein… basically he charged $4.99 for what amounted to be a slideshow with about 5 pictures. Reading the comments on some of these reviews was actually quite funny.

    I guess he was hoping for people to download and forget to refund. But I'm glad Apple's app store decided to pull his apps – it appears Google's done the same with his apps on the Market. Very happy to see some kind of moderation in place – Google has no approval board for apps but it appears they'll listen if enough people complain.

    Man, I wonder if someone at Apple's app store approval group was on the take… I've heard really solid apps getting banned but all of Khalid's get approved? Sounds fishy to me.

    • I don't know about on the take, but it is baffling how more than 900 apps can just slip through and be in the store for so many months. Hopefully some of these recent actions are a sign of Apple stepping things up on an on-going basis, not just gestures to grab some good PR.