Drama: accused of being a russian spy for building semi-successful application and having a Russian last name

    • openin
    • loshadki
    • drama
    • appstore
    • privacy
  • modified:
  • reading: 5 minutes

There is some drama for you, my dear reader.

It was a regular day. I was skiing with my skydiver friends when I received that email. At first, I thought this was one of those emails, you know, we can do SEO for you, build apps, hire you, promote you, teach you.

But no, this was a personal email that I have never received before. A person, claiming to be a Mac AppStore vigilante or a security researcher, told me that they found an abusive behavior in my application. So I took it seriously.

Hi Denis

My name is John and I am one of many Mac AppStore vigilantes(if you want to know more about me search for privacyis1st - I am the one who took down the TrendMicro data-stealing operation a few years ago and many others - https://latesthackingnews.com/2018/09/12/apple-removed-trend-micro-apps-involved-in-data-exfiltration-from-the-mac-app-store/)

Just Google privacyis1st.

Ok, I can give you some respect for that. You seem a little arrogant, but if you do what you claim to do, maybe you can help developers and users with issues reported in this article Scam iOS Apps Still Raking in Millions in Revenue on App Store

You suggested googling your alias. I did. I could not find anything. Yes, only one tweet about finding one app was stealing user data. I am sure there are many more. Keep doing what you are doing.

Now let’s get to the point. First of all one of my A.I scanning algorithms triggered the following alerts for your application named OpenIn:

A.I.? Seriously? You probably heard this joke, right?

  • Difference between machine learning and AI:
  • If it is written in Python, it’s probably machine learning
  • If it is written in PowerPoint, it’s probably AI

Ok, you can call it an A.I., I will call it a script.

1. Abuse of the Mac AppStore review system by publishing fake reviews - how I know that, simply, your app has 0-10 maximum downloads per day. On the average score, you could not achieve those reviews in a genuine way with that amount of downloads

It is simple. Be respectful of your users. Give them access to you, don’t hide under aliases. Publish your applications in places where it is allowed: ProductHunt, relative subreddits, and any communities that will find it useful. If you have an email where users can write, you can talk to them, hear feedback, discover bugs, and fix them.

ProductHunt rated the app pretty well. Some users on Reddit found my app pretty useful.

Also, I am a hard worker. If users say something does not work, I go and fix it. Send them a reply that the issue is resolved and always add a note that the best way to support the app is written review. Some users happily write it.

2. Abuse of the Mac AppStore review system - the review texts are written in the same manner

Should I be sorry for that? Should I tell my users to please check other reviews and make sure that yours will not be similar?

3. Black SEO rank for the keyword: “chrome” (which I monitor since it is very used by apps to cheat people). How I know that - in past 2 days your app ranked quite well on the chrome keyword but it does not have any downloads (your app didn’t grow in the free downloads top more than the top 400. This means that you are using Black SEO techniques to rank fast and trick Apple systems.

I know nothing about Black SEO. But have you tried to look at the app? Maybe there are some things that relative to Google Chrome? I feel like you suggested using Google before. Have you tried it yourself?

Now I give you the chance to stop everything and take the honest way. One of my A.I algorithms are already set to monitor your apps and if it will report that you are continually doing “dodgy” stuff, a report will go directly to the Apple team and will result in your developer account closure.

Please do. Maybe your little script can boost my app downloads? Also, App Store connect is not really useful. Please tell me when my app will get to the Top 200 apps.

This will be my first and last email to you.

Good, I don’t really want to hear from you again. Unless you want to keep me posted on some stats you can get out of the App Store.

P.S Apple will find quite nice my findings regarding a Russian origin developer (Gladkikh - is a nice RUS name)

Ok… bud… That is low. I just looked at Twitter, and it seems like you are from Germany… Are we playing a game? Who can say mean things about each other? Not that it should matter, but I am U.S. Citizen, originally from Russia. History of the nation, location or ethnicity should not define the person, right?

I hope the best for you and do it legit.

I don’t really think you do.

Good luck John

Good luck to you too, bud. Just a few suggestions for you.

First, If you want to keep calling yourself a researcher, please do some research before firing off random half baked accusation. Maybe try using Google, find out about the person. Maybe you can find many articles, discussions on various forums, public talks, public profiles in social networks, work history, and some other projects or companies built by that person.

Second, think before you write.

And the last, fix some bugs in your script_ai.py.

Sincerely yours, Russian Spy.

P.S. Today was a happy day, my app was accepted in the SetApp store, and I keep getting positive reviews, feedback and feature suggestions! If you are interested, check it out loshadki.app/openin.

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