Dash, a popular app that developers used to reference documentation offline and manage code snippets, was recently pulled from the App Store following charges of review fraud. Apple claimed the account was linked to second account with over twenty other apps and involved in almost a thousand incidents. The developer of Dash, Kapeli, has claimed he didn't realize the link existed and that he wasn't responsible for the fraud. Previously, Apple provided me with the following comment on the situation:
"Almost 1,000 fraudulent reviews were detected across two accounts and 25 apps for this developer so we removed their apps and accounts from the App Store," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "Warning was given in advance of the termination and attempts were made to resolve the issue with the developer but they were unsuccessful. We will terminate developer accounts for ratings and review fraud, including actions designed to hurt other developers. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, on behalf of all of our customers and developers."
At the time, I also reached out to Kapeli — Bogdan Popescu — for a comment. He has now sent me this statement:
At this point it's impossible for me to protect my family and my private life anymore, so I'd like to tell the history of Kapeli and of everything I've done so far.
In 2010 I made my first app, moveAddict. It was well received and although it's 6 years ago and it is my first app, I still stand behind it and am proud of it.
Back then I was a student at Coventry University and asked my mother to set up a Romanian bank account for me to use for my app business. Although I was the only one to use this bank account, it ran under her name.
I also made and released other apps, DockView being the most notable and best received of my products. I also launched some less successful apps: Switché, iGuard, iSecure, iClap and Stay Awake.
In 2011 the Mac App Store was launched and I enrolled my Apple developer account. I was using the bank account my mother had opened for me.
In 2012 I released Dash. It was very well received, but I continued to support and take care of my other apps as well.
I helped and encouraged her as much as I could, including paying for her first membership year using my credit card. Throughout the years I helped her whenever she asked me to, with coding issues or other things like converting images to icons for her apps. I also gave her Xcode projects I had and used as templates for new apps.
In 2014 I realised that there was no possible way for me to support and develop all of my apps anymore and decided to focus on Dash exclusively. I told my family about this and they thought I wasn't rational, because my old apps were still making some money. My mother proposed I move some of my apps to her account and that she would handle the support and maintenance for those apps. I transferred the following apps: moveAddict, iGuard, iSecure, iClap and Stay Awake.
Since then I've been focusing on Dash.
In early 2015 I finally got around to open a bank account in my name and have updated my developer account to send payments to it.
When Apple said that the 2 developer accounts used the same bank account, what they meant was that the bank accounts used the same owner name until 2015. The 2 developer accounts never sent money to the exact same bank account (different IBAN). I have never received any money resulting from the actions of the other account.
I did not want this story to blow over as it did. When Apple closed my account, I just wanted to notify my customers so that they knew how to migrate to the direct version of Dash.
Once Apple told me what happened, I collaborated with them and did not talk to the press during that time. I also complied with their request to make a blog post telling the truth, which I sent a draft of, but never received a response. I thought I could leave my family out of this, but following Apple's statement the Internet kept digging, so I had to come forward and tell the whole story.
I was not aware that the other account was involved with App Store review manipulation. I stopped following what she was doing after a while.
I did not want to release any information on the developer that was behind the accused activity, in order to protect her identity.
Opinions have varied widely and changed rapidly as additional information has become available. But I don't think the situation will, at least not anymore. Apple's previous comment reads like their final statement on the matter, and it seems unlikely we'll see any further resolution.
Some developers in these cases have started fresh with new accounts. What happens next with Dash, though, we'll have to wait and see.