Apple pulls duplicate App Store VoIP titles accused of exploiting search categories

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Apple has scrubbed a number of VoIP apps from the App Store following a report that some developers were creating clones to capture more search traffic.

The deleted apps come from companies like Appverse, Dingtone, TextMe, and BinaryPattern/Flexible Numbers, TechCrunch said. A pair of named apps — Smiley Private Texting SMS and Texting/Calling Phone Burner — are still available.

App Store guidelines specifically ban duplicate apps. The accused parties are said to have used the practice to catch people browsing different keywords and categories.

The problem isn't limited to VoIP apps, TechCrunch noted, pointing to developers such as JPEG Labs, which has four apps letting people print photos and CVS and Walgreens stores. Another, MailPix, is not only operating in the same manner, but reportedly acquiring apps such as Photobucket's only to turn them into clones.

It's not clear whether Apple is aware of any photo-printing scams.

Apple has long struggled with keeping fraudulent apps in check. Most titles are believed to be legitimate, but some issues have included developers tricking people into subscriptions, and even cocaine and meth trafficking.


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