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Biggest FRAUD in the Top 25 Free Ranking

02-05-2012, 04:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Biggest FRAUD in the Top 25 Free Ranking

NOTE: If you are a developer for the app store, I STRONGLY encourage you to take the time and read through this experience that I had yesterday.

So yesterday I was looking at different ways to promote my new app (I've tried AdMob, but it turned out to be too expensive before) and I came across this ad network which guaranteed to get my app into the Top 25 in the app store at a relatively cheap price ($5000). This sounded very different from other ad networks, so I asked how he was promoting it and if has has done the same promotion for other developers. He then pointed me to the US App Store and literally WALKED DOWN the Top Free iPhone Apps rankings with me on the phone and named the following developers as current clients of theirs:

#4 - Tiny Pets
#5 - Social Girl
#6 - Fluff Friends
#10 - Pet Town
#12 - Crime City
#13 - VIP Poker
#16 - Sweet Shop
#19 - Top Girl

He said this developer called Crowdstar is quite aggressive and has both of their apps (Social Girl and Top Girl) in the Top 25.

I was totally SHOCKED when I heard that there were 8 apps on the Top 25 Free App store that were all promoted by them. At this point, I was pretty curious on how he's able to do that (I was told by an AdMob sales person before that it takes a lot of money and traffic to promote an app to the Top 10). That's when he let loose the BIGGEST FRAUD ever, he said he had outsourced someone to build him a bot farm and the bots will automatically download his clients' apps and drive up their rankings!!! He even told me that even though I might see my app climb up the app store, they aren't "REAL" at first until it gets to the top and that's when REAL HUMAN players will start seeing my app and play it.

This was getting quite crazy, on one hand, I really wanted downloads for my new app, but at the same time, this sounds like a HUGE FRAUD. I told the guy that I'll need to think more about it, but he then warned me that Apple already KNEW of this issue and has already taken action and banned a developer called Dream Cortex recently for botting. He said that's why he's charging me only $5000, it would have been more expensive before, but he's trying to get as many clients as possible before Apple stop the botting.

It's really disheartening to know that Apple is aware of this issue, but yet, they still allow these 8 apps on the app store to use bots. For all these time that I've been working hard at developing my app, I am very disappointed to know that these 8 other apps are getting insane exposure on the app store by paying a mere $5000.

This really needed to be looked into. I will be honest to everyone that I did considered paying that $5000 at one point, but I decided not to because deep down I really love developing apps on this platform and it saddens me to know that's the way to be successful on the App Store.
02-05-2012, 05:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 536
Welcome to the real world.

post count = size of your ego

02-05-2012, 06:07 PM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,988
Originally Posted by Dubstep View Post
Welcome to the real world.

This, basically. Ever since the App Store went online and people figured out how much money there is to be made on it they've been trying to game it. This outfit isn't the first, and it won't be the last. The free to play world is filled with things like this now, whether it's bot nets download games or under the table deals to funnel new players into an existing game.
02-05-2012, 06:45 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Coralville / Iowa City
Posts: 83
02-05-2012, 07:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 4
It's called *********. The person that I talked to on the phone is called ****.

Last edited by walterkaman; 02-05-2012 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Got PMed by someone to filter out the name so other people don't starting using them to bot.
02-05-2012, 07:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 134
Apple is surprisingly slow to respond to this. I know that they took down Temple Jump soon after I tweeted about it. Yeah... it was my tweet! And not the fact the Keith called them on it. My TWEETS ARE POWERFUL!

But whatever the reason they are only doing isolated take downs right now, and only if enough bitching arises on an individual title. They need to have a comprehensive and timely solution to botnet pushed apps.

Developers that use them need to also be banned. Plain and simple.

Now... back to making the worlds greatest iOS game.

02-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Sorry guys, didn't think enough to not post their name. Thanks to the person who PMed me immediately, I've updated it already, hopefully not that many people saw the name.
02-05-2012, 08:02 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Coralville / Iowa City
Posts: 83
Sorry, I didn't even think of that. I wanted to shame them and make sure unwitting developers didn't hand over money thinking it was a legit service, didn't even think it could promote them.

02-05-2012, 09:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 127
Wow...That's a downer...

Poor, selfish humans we are...
02-05-2012, 09:17 PM
Originally Posted by DomAjean View Post
Wow...That's a downer...

Poor, selfish humans we are...
Great games will succeed on their own merit regardless of promotion techniques used by others. I'm about to start on my own iPhone game, and yeah this is interesting news, but it doesn't make me any less confident that my own game will do well.