Objective Sea

Sailing on the Objective-C sea, see?
Written by Cory, from Davander Mobile.
@corydmc on twitter, or email me objectivesea@davander.com

App Store Spam - 28 identical apps

In August, iOS developer George Talusan put 22 identical copies of the same app in the App Store. That’s 22 times, under 22 different names.

When I discovered this, a few months ago, I reported it to Apple immediately. Since then, he has put the same app in another 6 times, with a slightly modified UI. Apple does not seem to have responded.

I stumbled on this honeypot of apps while looking for a white noise generator during a bout of insomnia. The screenshot looked attractive and it was free, so I downloaded it. I’ve tried a few other noise generator apps, and this one was definitely not a good one. The sounds were alright, but it stopped playing sound the moment my phone went to sleep. Most other noise generators will continue playing. That said, even if this app was god’s gift to iPhones, it wouldn’t excuse the 28 copies spamming the App store and Clogging up your search results.

(Three variations on the one UI, depending on when this duplicate was last updated)

Some of the copies of the app are free, and some of them are $0.99 or $1.99. They all seem to have an in-app purchase to unlock the full feature set.

He’s since fixed the issue of background audio in some, but not all, of the duplicates. I’m sure it’s hard work keeping 28 apps up to date.

It’s in the store under the names Virtual Earplugs, Ambient Soundscapes, Power Nap - Soundscapes, iEarplugs, Noise Block, Brain Tuner - Focus, Nap+, iRelax - Soundscapes, Napbot, Meditator, Mood Tweak, Toga Sound, Dreambot, Babywaves, Hushbaby, iDream -Sleep Maker, iPacifier, SleepAid - Soundscapes, Mood Mod, Tuneout - Sound Blocker, Soundwaves, and Focus+. In December he added Soundscaper, Soundscaper Pro, Sound Oasis, Sound Oasis Pro, Sleep Maker and Sleep Maker Pro.

These apps are listed in the categories: Utilities, Productivity, Travel, Business, Medical, Lifestyle, Heathcare & Fitness, and Education.

This is a pretty big failure in the app approval process, and I’d be willing to bet it’s not an isolated incident. Each of these has been looked at by a real human being, who no doubt had access to their account history. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that these apps are all IDENTICAL. From what I can see without buying them all the only thing that varies between them is the icon, the name, and the app description. Either they have no directive to stop stuff like this from happening, or they have no system in place to catch it.

I’d love to hear about other examples of this kind of App Store SEO/spam.