App Store scammer makes $10,000 a day from a $10 game template

Red Bouncing Ball SpikesAll healed of the “Flappy Bird” addiction which supposedly prompted its creator to remove the free-to-play game from both the App Store and Google Play? Hopefully, you didn’t seek comfort in the arms of a similar title, “Red Bouncing Ball Spikes”, or I have some bad news.

To be clear, I’m referring to the paid version of “Red Bouncing Ball Spikes”, not the free flavor. Wait, why were there two variants of such a basic, almost primitive-looking little arcade game? Let’s just say it’s a long story, and cut to the chase.

The $0.99 title reached the heights of the App Store’s charts through illicit ways, at one point snatching the number 2 spot in the paid section, until it finally fell back to the obscurity it deserved. So justice was ultimately served, though it appears Apple had nothing to do with its downfall. Plus, the game is still up for grabs.

But let’s back up a second, and quickly recap the scamming tactics employed by one Mateen Pekan, also known as Firoozeh Moraday, the developer of the game in question. He had released “Red Bouncing Ball Spikes” as a paid app using a $10 GameSalad template back in December 2012. It suddenly shot up to the top of the App Store after an update for the game was released on January 30, 2014, even though it offered nothing special to deserve the “honor”.

One way a developer can game the system is by using a network of iTunes accounts to purchase enough copies of the app to push the gross sales of the game to $20,000, so that it gets featured in the top grossing apps list. Usually apps that have high gross sales also have high number of downloads, but according to App Annie, the paid app had high gross sales but lower downloads, which seems to suggest that the developer may have used that loophole. According to the Appsfire CEO Ouriel Ohayon, a top paid app in the U.S. App Store can make “tens of thousands” per day in downloads.

He even tried to sell the app on Apptopia, a marketplace for apps and templates:

This app is in the top 5 in overall paid apps on the app store making $10,000 a day! On Febuary [sic] 5th and 6th it was the #2 app in overall paid section with very little promotions. 50,000 downloads in less than a week.

We are willing to negotiate.

Apptopia decided to remove the app from the website, due to the bad publicity surrounding the developer, but at the time of the takedown, the developer was asking for $250k.

What’s worse is this Mateen Pekan has reportedly stolen source code before, so why his “work” is still welcomed in Apple’s App Store and Google Play is beyond me.

[via Tech Crunch]