Apps whose business model is based on subscriptions and in-app purchases are becoming increasingly popular, and even Apple supports this practice on the App Store. However, some developers have abused this system to trick users into prepaying supposedly free macOS apps.
As reported by the developer Jeff Johnson on Twitterr, there are several apps among the most downloaded apps in the Mac App Store that are just “bait” to get money from customers even though they are offered as free apps.
One of the apps Johnson pointed to is GCalendar for Google Calendar, which is currently the 40th most downloaded free app on the Mac App Store in the US. Anyone can download it for free from the app store, but the app has no functionality unless you pay for a license offered through an in-app purchase.
There is not even a trial period or limited functionality for the user to explore the app before paying for a license. Still, the app is rated four stars on the App Store – despite having several negative reviews written by real users. The same developer has eight other macOS apps available on the Mac App Store with the same approach.
This developer has 9 apps in the Mac App Store, which all seem to have the same “business model”: free download, with in-app purchase, but the first time you open the app, it requires a one-time upfront payment. buy, otherwise it does not work at all. No trial, no subscription.
As Johnson explained, these developers are taking advantage of the App Store allowing anyone to download and review free apps. This way, they can easily place the app among the top downloaded apps on the app store with good ratings.
The 9to5Mac take
While Apple persists in its rhetoric against sideloading by claiming that the App Store protects users, the company doesn’t seem to care about fraudulent apps.
The company proudly claims that it has a rigorous review process for deciding which apps get into the App Store (something it uses to justify the commissions developers pay Apple), but the App Store (especially the Mac’s) is full of deceptive apps. .
As I wrote before, the Mac App Store really needs major changes to become a serious platform for developers and users. Unfortunately, there is no indication that these changes will happen any time soon.
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