Apple's new app rules tighten grip on China's tipping

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As always, Apple is very strict about the ways their users can watch their live streams. It could foster various communities of virtual content producers like those in China. I opened App Store to browse the top grossing apps.

Analysts say that by making tipping an "in-app purchase", Apple is aiming to make more money out of Chinese users.

This means developers can add tipping features without worrying about getting kicked out of the app store, as long as they are willing to give Apple 30%. Apple has since shut them down. The whole post is really worth the read, but the bottom line is this: by buying a few strategically picked search ads and using a bit of SEO, a shady developer can make tens of thousands of dollars off a garbage app by aggressively pushing users to buy subscriptions.

Lin said that in spite of the poor grammar and punctuation associated with the VPN app's title and description, the app was bringing in $80,000 a month in revenue, according to Sensor Tower, an app analytics platform. It was available from a seller named on the site as "Ngan Vo Thi Thuy" and despite the outrageous price, the app has managed to make it onto the app store's top earners list for the past two months.

The VPN app offers to "auto scan duplicated contacts, merge or delete", as well as a full scan which will "scan for dupplicate (sic) name, phone, email, no name, no phone, no email".

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Apple didn't respond to Mashable's request for comment on app subscriptions or whether those who had unwittingly paid exorbitant amounts for app subscriptions would get refunds.

The other problem is Apple's relatively new app advertising system, App Store Search Ads, which Lin found several scam apps abusing.

And perhaps more importantly, their subscription fees start from $4.54 per month; around 1/20 of the fee for this scam app on the US App Store. Apple introduced at last year's WWDC as way to cut through the 2 million or so apps on the store. Search ads ensure it earns the top spot when you search for terms like "qr scanner" or "qr code", giving it more visibility and, to some, credibility than its legitimate counterparts. They're taking advantage of the fact that there's no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look nearly indistinguishable from real results, and some ads take up the entire search result's first page.

CSO Online has asked Apple for comment and will update the story if it receives a response.

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