Apple is apparently cracking down on applications that they consider to be clones of other popular apps on its App Store. Evidence of such a crackdown comes from web site VideoGameWriters, who noted that one particular app developer – who is fond of using "familiar titles" for his apps – seems to have less of them available on the APP Store today.
Anton Sinelnikov now has nine apps left for sale, down from 68. According to VGW, apps with questionable titles such as Plant vs. Zombie, Angry Ninja Birds, and Temple Jump, and more were just some of the apps removed. While some of these apps proved to be successful, some would argue that that success was based on brand confusion and tricking customers who may have wanted the "real experience" as opposed to a generic knock-off. Some apps, like Temple Jump, were out-and-out scam apps.
Natalia Luckyanova, co-creator of Temple Run (the original hit game), told VentureBeat: "These clone/ripoff issues can be very complicated and often devolve into the ethics of cloning and inspiration in the game industry. Temple Jump, however, was a scam intended to trick customers into thinking the app is related to Temple Run. It had a similar icon, vague description, and a single screenshot that did not show any gameplay. And FYI, there was no gameplay. Clearly, they succeeded in their scam, because nearly all of the reviews were from users saying they thought this was a spinoff of Temple Run and felt they were tricked out of their money."
She added that the game hurt her team: "It was upsetting to us to see some people suggesting we had anything to do with this scam app. We work very hard to create polished products, and this was damaging our brand."
“Due to the popularity of Temple Run, which has had over 30 million downloads, this scam got to #1 Top Paid app two days after launch," said Luckyanova. "Having something like this sit at #1, with thousands of angry reviews and a whopping 1 star review average, clearly hurts the App Store customer experience. I’m sure Apple was also getting bombarded by refund requests. Pulling it off the store was clearly the right decision made in the interest of App Store users."