For some reason, Apple still seems to struggle with removing bad actor apps from the App Store in a timely manner. Latest case in point is Adware Doctor, a top ranking $4.99 Mac App Store app, that appears to have been stealing users' browser history and uploading it to a server in China.

From Daring Fireball:

Here's a report from April 2016 suggesting that the glowing reviews for Yongming Zhang's apps were all fake. Fake reviews are perhaps the single biggest problem with the App Store. It's a rampant problem. I really think Apple should crack down on the practice. It's scummy, and it's not surprising to find out that a scummy developer would do even more scummy things. Even if Apple isn't willing to commit the human resources to tackle review fraud across the entire App Store — a Sisyphean task at this point, to be sure — they surely ought to tackle it for popular apps, and Adware Doctor was very popular. This app's success, sketchy description, and the developer's history of bad behavior should have set off alarm bells inside Apple.

That bit comes after Gruber asks how the app got to be so popular, why Apple failed to take action when it was reported, and why the developer hadn't already been escorted out for previous offenses.

One of the worst things for users and for Apple is how reactionary the company often comes off in situations like this. Yes, even Apple has limited resources (please Google "mythical man month" before beating the billion-dollar dead horse any further into undeath) and is subjected to endless scrutiny for any administrative act it makes on the App Store, but that's the price it needs to pay for being Apple and running the App Store.

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Both Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue's teams — yes, both are still actively involved in the App Store — have gotten much better about review times and redesigns and addressing customer and developer needs. But that just makes the ongoing problem of scam apps even more glaring, and something that might only be addressable by moving from glacially reactive to nimbly proactive.

I think even some of the more controversial App Store actions in recent years would receive a far greater benefit of the doubt if Apple was seen more actively engaging obvious scam apps as well, instead of being persistently asked why so many remain on the App Store for so long.

VECTOR | Rene Ritchie


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