Apple pulls API doc browser Dash citing 'repeated fraudulent activity'

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple has pulled Dash, a popular API documentation resource, from the Mac and iOS App Stores, claiming that developer Bogdan Popescu manipulated reviews to get more downloads.









On Wednesday Popescu received a notification that his iTunes Connect account was being shut down for "fraudulent activity," according to MacRumors. The company is said to have refused to elaborate at first, but after Dash's removal gained some public attention, Apple eventually told Popescu he was accused of manipulating reviews, for instance by paying for positive ones.



Popescu has denied any wrongdoing, but said that Apple informed him its decision is final and can't be appealed.



In unusual executive-level involvement, Apple's worldwide marketing head Phil Schiller blamed Dash's removal on "repeated fraudulent activity" in an email response to a person called Matthew Eis.



Apple has been known to reverse course on App Store removals if it later determines that a mistake was made. Because Dash is no longer being sold by Apple, though, the controversial reviews are no longer visible. Developers can still buy Dash as a direct download.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 601member
    and 9to5Mac posted an article yesterday bashing apple for pulling the app saying "under no circumstances should it be ok for Apple to pull the developers apps without explanation ",
    and the "developer has lost all available revenue streams for his software with no obvious recourse" and "hopefully the issue can be resolved so Dash can return to the App Store" and "it most likely was an innocent error by Apple that will be reversed".
  • Reply 2 of 12
    I think Apple are well aware of download numbers and usage of the app and didn't take this lightly. (Also indicated so by Schiller who looked into the matter directly as well.) If Phil Schiller has looked into it and upheld the decision - you can bet your ass it was happening and not in a small way.
    SpamSandwichDeelronstanthemanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    I think Apple are well aware of download numbers and usage of the app and didn't take this lightly. (Also indicated so by Schiller who looked into the matter directly as well.) If Phil Schiller has looked into it and upheld the decision - you can bet your ass it was happening and not in a small way.
    My thoughts exactly.

    When the story first came up, I didn't really think the developer was being entirely honest. Something didn't feel right.

    Now that we've seen Schiller look into it, there really isn't any doubt. Schiller isn't an idiot, he certainly wouldn't send an email like that knowing it would go public without being 100% certain that he's correct.

    It would've been nice to see a more detailed explanation of what went down, but I guess in most cases these shut downs occur because of obvious fraud and they've never considered that anyone they're shutting down deserves any reason for it (because the "developer" probably already knows exactly why they've been shut down).
    Deelron
  • Reply 4 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Something still smells fishy here!    Dash was one of the few developer oriented APP's that I felt was worth paying for.    Installed it on both my iPAd and Mac.   I'm not likely to go off App Store to buy and install either so I guess I'm screwed.  Hopefully there is a more Neptune investigation 
  • Reply 5 of 12
    rgh71rgh71 Posts: 112member
    wizard69 said:
    Something still smells fishy here!    Dash was one of the few developer oriented APP's that I felt was worth paying for.    Installed it on both my iPAd and Mac.   I'm not likely to go off App Store to buy and install either so I guess I'm screwed.  Hopefully there is a more Neptune investigation 

    The galactic police are really busy these days, but I'm sure once they wrap up their Saturn investigation they'll get right on it!  ;)

    EsquireCats
  • Reply 6 of 12
    croprcropr Posts: 960member
    Too bad as Dash I the only app I ever paid for on the Mac app store.  Do I have to use the free Zeal alternative, or do I have to bypass the Mac app store?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    hungoverhungover Posts: 603member
    If Apple were confident that he had been manipulating reviews why did they wait until the day that he tried to move his app from a personal to a business account?

    I have no idea if the guy was manipulating them or not, unfortunately the lack of an appeals process means that many people will simply believe Apple and assume that he is a liar.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    hungoverhungover Posts: 603member
    cropr said:
    Too bad as Dash I the only app I ever paid for on the Mac app store.  Do I have to use the free Zeal alternative, or do I have to bypass the Mac app store?
    you can download the app directly and if you already have a copy, they will transfer the licence.
    hoodslide
  • Reply 9 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    rgh71 said:
    wizard69 said:
    Something still smells fishy here!    Dash was one of the few developer oriented APP's that I felt was worth paying for.    Installed it on both my iPAd and Mac.   I'm not likely to go off App Store to buy and install either so I guess I'm screwed.  Hopefully there is a more Neptune investigation 

    The galactic police are really busy these days, but I'm sure once they wrap up their Saturn investigation they'll get right on it!  

    I'm sitting here half laughing my ass off and half angry at iPad autocorrect. At least it wasn't a Pluto investigation that would be way out there.
    stantheman
  • Reply 10 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    hungover said:
    If Apple were confident that he had been manipulating reviews why did they wait until the day that he tried to move his app from a personal to a business account?

    I have no idea if the guy was manipulating them or not, unfortunately the lack of an appeals process means that many people will simply believe Apple and assume that he is a liar.
    I think this is the big problem, who has this story right?   I don't know of course as I'm only a user of the App but I do know the app is very well regarded in the developer community and as such would get a very high rating feedback wise.   At the moment though it feels like Apple screwed up.   

    Frankly if if I was a developer and thought I was in the right I'd take Apple to court for defamation of character or something similar.    Frankly it is a big insult to have your business disrupted like this if you have done nothing wrong.  On the other hand if you did do something wrong then I guess you do nothing.  It is pretty obvious that something is seriously wrong with Apples policies here though, the lack of an explanation and proof is disturbing to say the least.   

    netmagehoodslide
  • Reply 11 of 12
    wizard69 said:
    hungover said:
    If Apple were confident that he had been manipulating reviews why did they wait until the day that he tried to move his app from a personal to a business account?

    I have no idea if the guy was manipulating them or not, unfortunately the lack of an appeals process means that many people will simply believe Apple and assume that he is a liar.
    I think this is the big problem, who has this story right?   I don't know of course as I'm only a user of the App but I do know the app is very well regarded in the developer community and as such would get a very high rating feedback wise.   At the moment though it feels like Apple screwed up.   

    Frankly if if I was a developer and thought I was in the right I'd take Apple to court for defamation of character or something similar.    Frankly it is a big insult to have your business disrupted like this if you have done nothing wrong.  On the other hand if you did do something wrong then I guess you do nothing.  It is pretty obvious that something is seriously wrong with Apples policies here though, the lack of an explanation and proof is disturbing to say the least.   

    This comment does not accept Apple's explanation, but builds a case out of hypotheticals. "It is a big insult to have your business disrupted ... if you have done nothing wrong. Yeah, IF. The "lack of an explanation and proof" in the article suggests that you believe this article (or other journalism) is the place where Apple provides explanations and proofs.

    What is the anti-Apple view? From some accounts, it appears that a successful app developer who generates revenue for Apple was singled out for no good reason and ejected from the App Store. That story is missing a few essential details before I buy it.

    Apple has earned plenty of goodwill with me, so until the evidence is stronger than a bunch of what-ifs, I won't second-guess the company's decisions. Without any more information than this article contains, I would bet that this developer has had multiple prior warnings from Apple. My second bet (longer odds) would be that he has done more than juice the rating of his app. Rule-breakers break rules.

    I appreciate the ratings provided by the App Store and iTunes Store. If Apple policies can prevent developers from manipulating them, they are highly useful. If it can't, the ratings amount to false advertising and fraud. I don't see how Apple can run a $25 billion business without imposing any quality controls on the process.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    There is so much fake praise generated by app developers that Apple would have to yank thousands of apps if fake reviews are a problem for them. Of course, it cuts both ways, other developers pay to sabotage their rivals with false negative reviews. It's a sick game that they take a tool that is supposed to help consumers buy with confidence and they make it a mess.
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