Scam app AmpMe rakes in $13m on the back of thousands of fake reviews

6 months ago 88

Following a self-congratulatory press release in which Apple lauded its App Store and plethora of services, another scam app has been outed by critic Kosta Eleftheriou. A music app named AmpMe has an in-app purchase that enables a $10 per week subscription that runs $520 per year with the business built around thousands of fake App Store reviews.

Eleftheriou outed the app via a long Twitter thread in which he details how the app has been able to amass income of around $13 million since 2018 — mainly thanks to the huge number of reviews that have been left in an attempt to make the app appear legitimate. Those fake reviews are from names that are so obviously non-genuine that it's laughable.

💰 How to make $13,000,000 on the App Store:


— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) January 10, 2022

Notably, one of the few real reviews left for AmpMe appears to be from someone who runs their own fake review business — and they reckon they know exactly what's going on.

This could be a good app, but the morons who are in charge of their ad campaign must also handle their pricing. I have a side business that specializes in fake reviews, so I know fake reviews when I see them. The cost to value for this app is way the heck off. Under no circumstances should anybody be expected to pay 20+ dollars for something like this. It is asinine. I'm probably going to get an auto response of something of the sort "hi, we're sorry you did not like our app please contact our support we would love to hear your feedback, vada yada" like I said, this could be a good app but it's young clueless developers are looking more to make money and then produce in a quality product.

The Twitter thread also points out that Apple has featured AmpMe repeatedly and as recently as August of last year.

If you’re worried about Apple taking action, worry not - they're also making millions off your app, and they’re happy to keep featuring it on the App Store, time and again:

— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) January 10, 2022

Many have since pointed to Apple's claims that it keeps these kinds of apps out of the App Store and that it has teams of people checking apps for similar practices. The problem Apple has is the sheer scale of the App Store and the number of apps in it, making it impossible to police fully. However, perhaps some more rigorous checks are needed before featuring an app in the App Store when it's so obviously buying fake reviews.

There is no doubt that the App Store is one of the best iPhone features in many ways. But it's far from perfect.

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