Potentially good news in the fight for App Store justice today: Alas eBook’s fraudulent Flash Video Expose has been removed from iTunes.
As most of you know, the app in question is the latest scam to make its way through Apple’s approval process, and — after listing it in our AppFresh Daily section due to its meteoric rise in release-day ratings — we learned the app was not what it claimed to be.
Alas eBook tried to make a last-minute save once the bad PR started thundering down, appending Flash Video Expose‘s official description with a heavy, all-caps disclaimer. Before, the app promised:
» 100% FLASH WEBSITES supported. Play millions of flash video without any limitation.
» 100% web-based FLASH GAMES supported. Play Facebook games, Miniclip games and many other flash games right on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad!
» Super fast HD video and audio real-time streaming. NO WAITING TIME!
After, potential customers were informed the following:
DISCLAIMER: THE APP PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT ADOBE FLASH. THIS APP CANNOT PLAY FLASH CONTENT.
THE WEB BROWSER IN APP CANNOT SHOW FLASH CONTENT TOO.
A juicy contradiction, right?
Unfortunately, though the app is now gone from iTunes, it is unclear whether Apple pulled it or Alas eBook is simply trying to hide its misstep in preemption of potential App Store investigation. Right now, the latter seems more likely, as many of the company’s other apps — which seem just as misleading and altogether fraudulent — are still available. Here are some of the seediest titles:
The New York Times
$6.99, 28 ratings (4.5-star average), only one review:
This is not an app. It is a brief two page history of the Times. It appears to be an app that will give you the news but is not. The cost is unbelievable.
Book For iWork
$9.99, 40 ratings (4.5-star average), three five-star reviews (fake), several one-star reviews (real) calling shenanigans:
Reviews indicate this is a productivity app. It’s a $10 VERY short book. Just a few pages. Don’t waste ten bucks like I did trying to get some kind of iWorks interface for the iPhone.
Oxford English Dictionary Review
$4.99, 5 ratings (one-star average), five reviews, all one-star:
The price and description make you think you’re getting access to the OED. Instead you get a few utterly useless factoids @about@ the OED. Unethical and misleading.
The list goes on.
So, if you’re upset about this kind of unscrupulous behavior, send this article (and any other similar coverage you find online) to Apple Customer Service. Hopefully (and almost certainly), Apple will see through the woolen blinders and ban Alas eBook outright.
(And, yes, I think we all agree that Apple needs to move faster on implementing and rigidly enforcing a stricter set of approval guidelines.)