Sneaky Subscriptions walking in on the users in iOS’s App Store


Over recent years, the App Store has been developed very well, yet the ‘unseen’ paves its way in

Over the years iOS has got many developers to provide its users with a vast palette of apps with a subscription, and TechCrunch is out today with a look at how “sneaking subscriptions” are taking over some App Store offerings. The report goes through the various tactics employed by some developers to seemingly trick users into agreeing to App Store subscription charges.

In its research, TechCrunch found that the most-often offending applications are certain utilities, which offer functionality that can easily be found for free. These apps are ranked as some of the top-grossing apps on the App Store.

Degrading the App Store, the virtual marketplace for the apps is now way below its level

One such app is called “Scanner App,” which SensorTower data suggests earns some $14.3 million per year from App Store subscription revenue:

Tap around in the app and you’ll be constantly prompted to subscribe to a subscription ranging from $3.99 a week to $4.99 per month, or start a free trial. But the subscription following the free trial kicks in after only 3 days — something that’s detailed in the fine print, but often missed. Consumers clearly don’t understand what they’re agreeing to, based on their complaints. And many of the negative reviews indicate customers feel they got duped into paying.

Perhaps the most egregious offender was Weather Alarms, an app that was removed from the App Store this weekend by Apple, after TechCrunch tipped the company off on its practices. The app utilized what is known as a “dark pattern” to trick users into agreeing to a free trial, which then converts to a subscription of up to $20 per month.

As per TechCrunch’s research, the variety of App Developers; all aren’t be the same

As TechCrunch notes, many of these issues arise from consumers not reading the fine details. Many legitimate developers state these type of tactics are degrading the quality of the App Store as a whole.

David Barnard, developer of Weather Atlas and Launch Center Pro, for instance, says it’s “incredibly frustrating” to see Apple doing so little to prevent these scams:

“It’s incredibly frustrating how little has been done to thwart these scams,” he told TechCrunch. “It erodes trust in the App Store, which ultimately hurts Apple and conscientious developers who use subscriptions.”

Readdle VP Denys Zhadanov echoed those comments, saying, “I firmly believe this is not the future we should be aspiring for in terms of user experience.”

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Fathima has had her share of experience with various media ventures before getting with The iBulletin. She has been an active contributor to a number of magazines and at The iBulletin, she writes editorials related to Apple, the brand and its business.


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