Apple removes VoIP application clones from the App Store
Following my report yesterday, Apple deleted many of the applications I reported. When you try to find them on the App Store, they are no longer available.
The App Store’s review guidelines are very clear when it comes to duplicating applications. According to rule 4.3, you cannot publish the same application several times on the App Store because it is considered as spamming.
But this rule has been poorly applied and some companies have taken advantage of it. In my initial report, I focused on one category in particular – VoIP applications that allow you to get a second phone number and send and receive calls and SMSes from that new number.
Developers release multiple versions of the same application in order to be able to use different names, different keywords and different categories. In this way, they can cover a wide range of keywords when you search for an application in the App Store.
So let’s look at the developers I called yesterday. It is not yet clear whether some of these appearances will reappear after some changes.
Second TextMe Up phone number – REMOVED
Free dial tone – Call and send SMS – REMOVED
Text Me – Phone Calls + Text – REMOVED (Update: this one is back on the App Store)
BinaryPattern and Flexible Numbers LLC
SMS and call phone burner – ALWAYS AVAILABLE
Smiley Private SMS – ALWAYS AVAILABLE
Text messaging screen – Phone number – REMOVED
Burner phone numbers SMS/Calls – REMOVED
Business Line Telephone Number – REMOVED
Text of the operator’s 2nd telephone number – REMOVED – REMOVED
Text Burner – Anonymous SMS – REMOVED
Second line – 2nd phone number – REMOVED
Ringtone – WiFi calls and text – REMOVED
Telos Second Telephone Number – REMOVED
This case illustrates once again that Apple holds the keys to the kingdom of the App Store. The company acts as a judge and can make or break certain companies.
Some of these companies have published clones of their applications and have benefited from this strategy for many years. The main problem here is that the rules of the App Store are not applied consistently.
Many clones in other categories
The clone plague is far from over. Many categories also use this App Store optimization strategy.
JPEG Labs has launched four different applications that allow you to print photos in Walgreens or CVS stores around you. They all do the same thing but have different names and keywords. (They also tell you to leave a comment right after opening the application.)