When a product or service enters into a state of high demand, there are plenty of people looking to wrongfully take advantage of others’ desperate attempts to procure those products and services. Such grifting isn’t lost on the iTunes App Store, and we have a new app scam to report to you: Flash Video Expose.
Released a couple of days ago by Alas eBook, Flash Video Expose is an app that everyone will want to keep far, far away from. Alas eBook hopes to dupe those still awaiting a true Flash Player equipped web browser for iOS into ponying up $9.99 for a useless app. The developer claims Flash Video Expose is able to flawlessly process all Adobe Flash content on any website. Quite simply, it’s a completely bogus claim.
We took a closer look at this app, interested to see if the debatable promises were true. Their “demo” link points to a page with an embedded HTML5 video player, which is supported in Safari, and the screenshots provided in the App Store are just as deceiving. The South Park and Facebook game captures appear to be splices from a web browser with a Flash plugin, and CNN and Vimeo are already iOS-optimized. As I said earlier, it’s all just hogwash.
Why does this have positive ratings? It is extremely likely those are inaccurate as well. It is true that Apple no longer supports rating an app acquired using a promo code, but that doesn’t mean devs can’t simply pay users or gift a copy for others to falsely rate the app. In fact, all of Alas eBook’s apps seem to be a similar con to unsuspecting iDevice owners. Therefore, move along quickly if you happen to be offered any of Alas eBook’s products.
What if I’ve already purchased one of their apps? The iTunes Store policy states, “All sales and rentals of products are final.” However, Apple has made one time exception refunds in certain cases. Contact iTunes Store Customer Service, including your order number, with a claim that Flash Video Expose by Alas eBook is inaccurately described and you’d like a refund of your purchase. It isn’t a guarantee, but definitely worth a try.
How do these apps and developers make it past the stringent App Store review team? That’s a very good question, and one I can’t answer with any real certainty. It is by no means unheard of for apps with clever descriptions and screenshots to slip by. The App Store review team is after all just people, and likely instructed to more thoroughly scrutinize certain things above others. Hopefully, with enough complaints, Apple will realize their mistake and revoke this developer’s iTunes App Store privileges.