photo app scam follow up

We recently ran a story about a pretty extensive iOS App Store “crap app” scam ring. Click here to read our original post.

Score one for Apple. It looks like many of the developers named in that story and others have had their developer accounts suspended and most or all of their apps pulled from the App Store.

Our piece was a follow-up piece to a story Glyn Evans wrote on The iPhoneography Blog back in August, 2012. In a follow-up comment on The iPhoneographers Network, visual artist Susan Maxwell Schmidt also lists many of the apps and developers involved in this scam. I’m fairly certain that this particular scam ring had been around for a while even then. The fact these developers were allowed to continue to churn out copies of the same poor quality, low-res photo apps for so long illustrates how little had been done, even though Apple had been contacted last summer.

Yesterday, though, the ever vigilant Noel Chenier posted the news in a comment on my original story:

“Happy to report that Apple appears to have taken note of this and removed the offending apps and developers from the store. +1 to Apple for helping out honest developers trying to produce great apps.

“No doubt these guys will try again, so keep your eyes peeled and report any that reappear.”

Noel is one of the small, legitimate developers that scam apps damage. He’s created a series of photography assignment generator apps for iOS (

An iTunes search now brings up no relevant results for many of the developers and apps named in both stories.

He’s correct in his assessment. These shady devs will probably be back sooner rather than later. In fact, several of the scam app developers named last year are still on the App Store and still releasing cloned, low-res photo apps for $2.99.

Be wary of photo apps from:

  • MadPhone/hong luo
  • AaaBe Media Group/Ying Dan Nie
  • Adagio Media
  • Zhi Ming Bao

Their apps are most likely sketchy and low res. And there are probably still others who both Glyn and I missed in our reports.

For now, it looks like these guys are out of the crap photo app business:

  • Ai Qing Zhang
  • Apex Digit
  • Autoalias Digital Co.
  • Automax LLC
  • Cai Xia Bao
  • Dan Lei Su
  • Jiehua Deng
  • Ping Hau Luo
  • Shu Ping LING
  • Wang Jian
  • Ying Ni Nie

As long as the App Store is open, there will be shady developers who exploit the system and cheat its customers for a fast monetary kick. A free system needs to be open in order to protect and nurture the thousands of legitimate developers who try to create the best, most useful apps they can.

Enjoy the temporary break in the storm. The bad guys will be back. Stay vigilant.



Update 01: Updated with link to story on The iPhoneographers Network