Regarding that 'I Am Rich' App - Use a Credit Card instead of a Debit Card on your Account

Our beloved series of tubes has been going crazy over the "I Am Rich" application from the App store. It's a $999 application that does nothing but prove you've got $999 to blow on an application which displays a red diamond. It's a little funny, as Kottke points out, as a commentary on the iPhone as status symbol.

The question, though, is whether or not Apple should have let it up in the first place and whether they (or the original developer) should have taken it down. Kottke notes that Apple really shouldn't be in the business of pulling apps based on bad taste and we're inclined to agree. Both in our podcast and here and there throughout the aftermath of the 2.0 software announcement, we expressed concern that Apple's total control of what goes up on the App store has the potential to be abused.

On the other side of things, however, is the concern that Apps -- especially useless, thousand-dollar apps -- are a little too easy to purchase. Gizmodo reports that there was a review up on the app (pictured at right) that detailed one user's sorry tale of accidental purchase.

We're going ot go ahead and express two opinions here. One: buyer beware. We don't want any added complication in purchasing apps (though we could compromise and say any app over $50 would require another approval step). We'll also add that, like the consumerist always tells us, we recommend that you attach a credit card to your iTunes account instead of a debit card that's attached directly to your checking. That way if something goes wrong, it's not your money that's missing while you work fixing your purchasing snafu.

The second opinion we'll express a little more provisionally. Given that we'd rather have Apple include crappy apps than have them censor, it's not going to be too long before it starts to feel like the iTunes Store is going to need better ways to discover and evaluate apps. We don't know if trial software is in the cards, so in the meantime keep an eye on our review section and our iPhone Software forum -- both are good resources to get other users' opinions before you buy.

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Reader comments

Regarding that 'I Am Rich' App - Use a Credit Card instead of a Debit Card on your Account

12 Comments

To use the excuse of it "being a joke" as to why he clicked on the buy button...well, the jokes on him. I would never do that, even as a joke, so I wouldn't have to worry about this happening to me.
Don't be an idiot.

Man, that developer is brilliant. :) and that buyer is a total maroon. Give him his money back and then, for the good of all mankind, sterilize him.
Ultimately, this kind of stuff is going to run up Apple's support costs, so it's really in their interest to better "police" the store. It's a shame when consumers need to be protected from themselves (esp from something as mundane as buying software), but on a realistic level, it's just necessary sometimes.

Asking Apple to hold the hand of morons is absurd. The comment of using a credit card instead of a debit card is a good idea... but if people are dumb enough to click on a thousand dollar app just to see what will happen then they should pay the thousand bucks. It will be an expensive lesson, but I bet he would learn it!

They should rename the app from "I am Rich" to "I am stupid and $999 poorer" I must admit though, it is a scam. Mistakes can happen especially with the ease at which you can spend money in iTunes, something like this should be banned.

@Conrad: Why not review it for our Lightning Reviews in the forum? Almost a sure better Dieter would promote it to the front page :)

As if Apple is going to give him a Mulligan? I don't tend to ask Amazon for a "Do over!" when I click to buy the widescreen plasma that I can't afford... maybe I should. Hmm.

One of those "morons" (as you call him) that bought it was a very elder lady.
What if YOUR mother mistaken got a credit card bill for $1000 for something that didn't do anything.
Would you help he get her money back... or just (also) call HER an 'moron' and slam down the phone?
100% of the people that bought it... said they wanted their money back. Is that how you tell what a great piece of software is must be?
It was fraud... pure and simple. Ask any judge that regularly jails con-men.

Hahaha!
I don't see how this can be called a scam. If you go into a shop that sells stupid things for stupid people at stupid prices, then for a joke agree to purchase one of these stupidly-priced stupid things, then you're plainly and simply stupid. Same applies here.
The app does not appear to claim to be anything other than what it is, and by its very nature could be considered a work of art. Of course, I'm of the opinion that a vast continent in the art world is inhabited by stupid people.
If you click on the the app with a thousand-dollar price tag, then confirm that you agree to buy it, then there is no fraud. If you're an elderly woman who doesn't understand what you're doing when you click on an app that has a thousand-dollar price tag, then you're still stupid - you just happen to be old and female too.
Stupidity is what should be made illegal - the creator of this app should be praised for a great idea, well executed. He/she should also be suing for lost profit due to the removal of the application from the store.
Ask any intelligent human that regularly has to deal with stupid people.