Virtual phone number apps are gaming the App Store with duplicates

If you’ve searched the App Store for an app to get a second phone number, fortunes are you met dozens of apps with very few differences. A handful of business are spamming the App Store with duplicated apps. This approach is against Apple’s rules.

The App Store Review Guidelines are detailed rules that define what you can and cannot do on the App Store. As soon as you sign up for a developer account and submit an app to the App Store review crew, you agree to comply with those rules. It’s a long substantiate, but governs 4.3 entitled “Spam” is easy 😛 TAGEND

Don’t create multiple Bundle IDs of the same app. If your app has different versions for specific locations, athletics units, universities, etc ., consider submitting a single app and accommodate the fluctuations consuming in-app acquisition. Likewise avoid piling on to a category that is already saturated; the App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps once. Spamming the collect is liable to your removal from the Developer Program.

A tipster looked at a specific category in the App Store — VoIP apps that let you get a second phone number and send and receive calls and verse from that new numeral. I looked at that category myself, and here are the results of my investigation.

Companies don’t even try to hide the fact that have submitted several different versions of the same app with various reputations and icons. But core pieces remain the same. Apple hasn’t enforced its own guideline properly and developers took advantage of that grey area.

Example 1: TextMe

As you can see on the company’s website, TextMe currently operates three apps and is open about it — TextMe Up, TextMe and FreeTone. These three apps all have an average of 4. 7 stars in the App Store with 100 000 recollects in total.

The wording is slightly different for each app. TextMe Up lets you “call& verse anyone in the world from your mobile, tablet, and computer, ” while TextMe tells you “get a brand-new phone number and start texting and attaining calls for free” and FreeTone is all about “[ enjoying] free announcements& text to the phone numbers in the US and Canada.”

But if you look at the App Store screenshots, the company doesn’t even bother changing the screenshots or market copy.

” Our apps have a different marketing target ,” TextMe, Inc. co-founder and co-CEO Patrice Giami told me in a phone interview.” They share the same code cornerstone, but we can activate or deactivate some features in order to differentiate the apps. We manage that depending on the competitive environment and if we need to optimize spread .”

Giami too believes that his corporation complies with the App Store specifications.” Apple is doing a highly systematic recollect — we’re always scrutinized because we liberation a lot of app informs. We’ve never been signalled or contacted by Apple — they’ve never said that we’re exhausting complete clones of the same app ,” he said.

TextMe uses the same developer account for its three apps, Text Me, Inc. Apple could easily compare those apps if it wanted to.

Example 2: BinaryPattern and Flexible Numbers LLC

This case is a bit more sophisticated. The corporation behind these apps has two different developer accountings and tried to differentiate its App Store listings a little bit. Similarly, buttons and colours vary slightly from one app to another, but it’s the same piece set.

Here got a few screenshots I took 😛 TAGEND

Texting/ Announcing Phone Burner

Smiley Private Texting SMS

Texting Shield- Phone Number

Burner Phone Numbers SMS/ Calls

Business Line Phone Number

I’ve reached out to BinaryPattern/ Flexible Numbers and haven’t heard back.

Example 3: Appsverse Inc.

This time, Phoner, Second Line and Text Burner all share the same make history. Even though these apps let you do the same thing, Appsverse has secreted its app in three different App Store lists — practicalities, productivity and social networking.

By doing that, the company’s apps may be found in numerous lists. Text Burner is No. 88 in social networking, Second Line is No. 74 in productivity and Phoner is No. 106 in utilities.

It seems a bit counterintuitive as Appsverse separates their downloads between various apps. But I believe the main reason the company is exhausting multiple apps is for keyword optimization and App Store search results. It then picks a different list for each app, but it’s a side effect.

Appsverse communicated me the declaration of independence 😛 TAGEND

The guideline helps a healthy App Store ecosystem that is good for both makes and users. It impedes proliferation of similar apps that does not have a differentiation in business model, aspects, exert cases and demographic appeal.

Example 4: Telos Mobile and Dingtone Inc.

On paper, Dingtone and Telos look like two different apps from two different corporations. I downloaded the Dingtone app and signed up with my email address. I then downloaded the Telos app and signed up with the same email address. Here’s the send I get 😛 TAGEND

I’ve reached out to Telos/ Dingtone and haven’t heard back.

A level playing field

These corporations haven’t done anything illegal. They took advantage of Apple’s lack of oversight on an App Store guideline. Exhausting multiple different versions of the same app is a lot of App Store optimization programme. This behavior, you can pick a different name, different keywords and different categories. Risks are potential purchasers are going to see your app in their App Store search results.

While Apple is often quite strict when it is necessary to App Store guidelines, it hasn’t enforced some of them. And this is unfair for app makes who play by the rules. They can’t compete as effectively with companionships that know that they can ignore some rules.

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