Apple Bans Chinese Developer, Cleans Up iPhone App Store

A software maker that gamed the system gets banned

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Yesterday, Apple expelled 1,011 iPhone applications from its lucrative App Store after catching a Chinese developer rigging its product ratings system. The company, Molinker, evidently offered free programs to users who gave its low-quality apps a five star rating. While most tech bloggers are applauding Apple for cleaning house, others are saying more needs to be done to rid the App store of "junk apps":

  • Sends a Clear Message, applauds "It seems heavyhanded, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Apple has not been shy of banning developers with hundreds of apps before. The message is clear, the company doesn’t tolerate cheating. Not one bit."
  • Apple's Beating Google at It's Own Motto, observes Zack Urlocker at Info World: "Despite the fact that Apple was making money off Molinker, the company didn't hesitate to do the right thing: It banned Molinker and all of its applications. It looks like Apple gets 'Do no evil' maybe even better than Google does."
  • Apple Caught With Its Pants Down, writes Charlie Sorrel at Wired: "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)."
  • Finish the Job, Apple, pleads Philip Elmer-DeWitt at CNN Money. He says the App store is full of worthless applications. Among the worst offenders is "Brighthouse Labs, a shadowy company whose 1,855 titles clutter up the App Store's virtual shelf space with one-off recipe-, quote-, and sports-fan apps." He complains that these unscrupulous companies make it "that much harder to find the apps that are worth buying."
  • This Calls for a Ranking System Overhaul, writes Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb: "As more and more applications fill the virtual shelves, users will need a better ranking system than what's currently in place. We hope the geniuses at Apple are working on something like this right now."
  • More Where That Came From, writes Jason D. O'Grady at ZDNet: "With the amount of money at stake in the white hot App Store it’s inevitable that someone would try to game it. It’s neither the first nor last time that it’s going to happen."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.