07-14-2015 04:12 AM
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  1. hack14u's Avatar
    This.
    05-25-2015 09:19 PM
  2. MonkeyDance's Avatar
    Forgot to say, I sent an email to my local Microsoft evangelist about the clone of Drawtopia a couple of days ago, before I knew any of this extra information or how many games had been affected. He's on holiday at the moment but when he gets back to me I'll bring this up and see if we can get the info passed on to someone at MS who can help.
    RumoredNow, neo158, Mike9k and 4 others like this.
    05-25-2015 10:44 PM
  3. jefbeard911's Avatar
    60% of the top ranks in US new+rising isn't enough to warrant much attention?


    That won't help much in this situation. It will take some time until they get removed after the original publisher sends a complain. Also they can just resubmit it with a new publisher name and stolen icon. My research, the complaint from the original publisher and micorosofts takedown is probably more work than it is for them to submit it and they are the only ones who earn something with it.

    Since I made the list there are already 4 new ones of this kind in the top 48 (in two days).
    New ones of this kind as of today: rank 6:Pumpkin Zombie Rider, rank 8:Into the Whirlpool, rank 8:Pixel Mario, rank 19:Wilderness Defense. (From: Chasing Zombies, Raving Rabbids(splash), Pixel Hunter, Forest Tower Defense(also stolen))
    All of them with release date between 5/17/2015 and 5/18/2015. I don't really have the time to search every other day or so for the 4 new stolen games and their original source to inform the publisher & microsoft and if lucky see how they stay there for a week until taken down. Its not like I get paid cleaning up the top 48. When someone has found a way to fill the top ranks with their stolen apps micosoft has to fix first the ranking loophole they use otherwise its tilting at windmills.
    Mike9k,

    One question - Why are you so invested in this? What's your motive of going into so much detail and effort to point this out?

    I noticed that this is your first post and that you joined the WC community 21 May. Something's up..Do tell?
    05-26-2015 01:09 AM
  4. Mike9k's Avatar
    Microsoft will almost certainly know about it by now since they'll be getting flooded with copyright infringement claims and customers reporting fake apps, the more people that make a claim the more obvious it becomes.
    I'm not so certain about this. How much of the developers will notice it? How much of them look regularly into the charts and for the ones who do it they have to click their actual copy to notice it. Something like this:

    untitled-1.png

    probably won't look suspisious enough to click on it.

    It was noticed by me last month so I sent microsoft early last month 6 games of the top ten from new+rising and 3 who just appeared that day with the source for each but got no reaction and all of them are still in the store.
    As far as I can tell they will only remove it if the original owner writes a complaint. So Physical Pan is the first one of this kind I should see removed.

    Forgot to say, I sent an email to my local Microsoft evangelist about the clone of Drawtopia a couple of days ago, before I knew any of this extra information or how many games had been affected. He's on holiday at the moment but when he gets back to me I'll bring this up and see if we can get the info passed on to someone at MS who can help.
    If someone like that could forward it that would be perfect.

    One question - Why are you so invested in this? What's your motive of going into so much detail and effort to point this out?
    Ok, some personal rant:
    Im not the person to surf regularly on forums about smartphones as for me its rather simple: my smartphone needs only some basic functions + games and all of the three big ones have the basic functions so its about games.
    My main phone in the past was android but there is the problem with the updates one is lucky to get and what annoys me the most is their permission system. It feels like every second game requires way to much permissions. Why does a normal game have to know what other apps are running, access accounts/contact details, use gps, take pictures and videos, run at startup, power device on/off, send sms and so on? Thats just ridiculous. I browse the game charts every day and it is really annoying if you see a new game that looks interesting but it wants the permission to send sms, access contact details or such so you are forced to accept that or not play it at all. Basically it feels like one needs a second android device only to install the games without concern. So I switched to windows phone as main device because their permission system appeared to be better and I was happy with it. But last month this rip-off games showed up, they are filled with fake comments & ratings, i don't trust them and they clog the chart places where I daily look for new interesting games. I personally don't care that much about the rip-off part because there will always be some fishy developers and as long as the users can sort them with the ranking its not such a big problem. But if they clog half of the top new+rising charts where I browse daily for new games it gets really annoying, damages the other developers and doesn't help getting new good games to wp.
    05-26-2015 06:32 AM
  5. jefbeard911's Avatar
    I'm not so certain about this. How much of the developers will notice it? How much of them look regularly into the charts and for the ones who do it they have to click their actual copy to notice it. Something like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Untitled-1.png 
Views:	130 
Size:	46.2 KB 
ID:	105362

    probably won't look suspisious enough to click on it.

    It was noticed by me last month so I sent microsoft early last month 6 games of the top ten from new+rising and 3 who just appeared that day with the source for each but got no reaction and all of them are still in the store.
    As far as I can tell they will only remove it if the original owner writes a complaint. So Physical Pan is the first one of this kind I should see removed.


    If someone like that could forward it that would be perfect.


    Ok, some personal rant:
    Im not the person to surf regularly on forums about smartphones as for me its rather simple: my smartphone needs only some basic functions + games and all of the three big ones have the basic functions so its about games.
    My main phone in the past was android but there is the problem with the updates one is lucky to get and what annoys me the most is their permission system. It feels like every second game requires way to much permissions. Why does a normal game have to know what other apps are running, access accounts/contact details, use gps, take pictures and videos, run at startup, power device on/off, send sms and so on? Thats just ridiculous. I browse the game charts every day and it is really annoying if you see a new game that looks interesting but it wants the permission to send sms, access contact details or such so you are forced to accept that or not play it at all. Basically it feels like one needs a second android device only to install the games without concern. So I switched to windows phone as main device because their permission system appeared to be better and I was happy with it. But last month this rip-off games showed up, they are filled with fake comments & ratings, i don't trust them and they clog the chart places where I daily look for new interesting games. I personally don't care that much about the rip-off part because there will always be some fishy developers and as long as the users can sort them with the ranking its not such a big problem. But if they clog half of the top new+rising charts where I browse daily for new games it gets really annoying, damages the other developers and doesn't help getting new good games to wp.
    Well said.

    I salute you sir!

    Cheers.
    rhapdog likes this.
    05-26-2015 08:34 AM
  6. syspry's Avatar
    My main concern is the reasoning behind this is to obtain data from peoples devices. Just looking at the data privileges on some of these apps is frightening. MS need to take more action before it gets out of hand.
    I don't think you're too far off. Over the years I've also noticed a lot of these sketchy developers are located in countries where software pirating is also prevalent. I don't expect this to change because the governments of those nations appear to have little regard for Western companies or their copyrights and turn a blind eye to it. In some significant cases pirated software is professionally packaged and sold as if they were legitimate products on open storefronts.

    I hate to succumb to xenophobia but its become so bad that I've adopted the habit of trying to determine where a developer is located before I install an app as an extra step in protecting my data. User ratings and number of downloads aren't a reliable measure of legitimacy anymore due to the unreliable nature of tech awareness of the average Jane/Joe
    neo158 and RumoredNow like this.
    05-26-2015 10:58 AM
  7. MonkeyDance's Avatar
    I'm not so certain about this. How much of the developers will notice it? How much of them look regularly into the charts and for the ones who do it they have to click their actual copy to notice it. Something like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Untitled-1.png 
Views:	130 
Size:	46.2 KB 
ID:	105362

    probably won't look suspisious enough to click on it.

    It was noticed by me last month so I sent microsoft early last month 6 games of the top ten from new+rising and 3 who just appeared that day with the source for each but got no reaction and all of them are still in the store.
    As far as I can tell they will only remove it if the original owner writes a complaint. So Physical Pan is the first one of this kind I should see removed.
    Very true, the only reason I found out about it is because a fan notified me on Facebook, I don't have time to check the store generally unless I've just released a new app and I'm checking how it is performing.

    The good news is it looks like my copyright complaint has gone through and Physical Pan has now been pulled :)

    My main phone in the past was android but there is the problem with the updates one is lucky to get and what annoys me the most is their permission system. It feels like every second game requires way to much permissions. Why does a normal game have to know what other apps are running, access accounts/contact details, use gps, take pictures and videos, run at startup, power device on/off, send sms and so on?
    Whilst I agree with you about most of this and updates definitely are poor on Android a lot of the time permission requests are pretty innocent.

    Android just makes permissions sound dodgier than they actually are. For example if a game wants to have achievements with google play games it needs to request 'access to accounts', it only actually uses the account names so google play games knows there are accounts to login to, 'location' is often used for targeted advertising (I don't personally do this with my apps though), 'access to protected storage' sounds really dodgy but its just for game saves... its something android should work on really.

    Of course some games will abuse permissions and request permissions they don't need but for the most part they just sounds scary and the actual usage is pretty innocent... or maybe I'm being a bit naive and think most developers are like me and try to treat their players with respect and privacy instead of trying to fleece them.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    05-26-2015 04:53 PM
  8. Jazmac's Avatar
    Is your post directed to me? If yes, I don't care about battles between the platforms. All I wan't is to get the store back to the state it was 3-4 months ago.
    It was but forgive my insolence on your post. I was wrong to go there with you.
    920Walker and jefbeard911 like this.
    05-27-2015 09:01 AM
  9. Mike9k's Avatar
    Good to hear about the Physical Pan beeing removed.

    Android just makes permissions sound dodgier than they actually are.
    This is a bit offtopic so just a short list to explain my experience a little bit better. The list is about how often a permission is required in the current free games top 50 from android & wp (without the ones who are easier to understand concerning games like internet, music library, usb access and such):

    Windows Phone:
    37x phone identity (id that is unique for device & publisher but not device-wide, type of phone, ram and such)
    20x user identity (id for the user account but anonymized)
    11x phone dialer (as far as I know for ads but needs user confirmation to start the call)
    2x location

    Android:
    2x add or remove accounts
    22x find accounts on the device
    23x read phone status and identity (similar to wp)
    5x use accounts on the device
    1x download files without notification (downloads from appstore will be tested by google for maleware but not these files)
    1x create accounts and set passwords (is it really necessary for the game to handle this? As there is only one with this permission out of 50 I presume not)
    6x approximate location
    4x read your contacts (for a game?)
    11x retrieve running apps (for a game?)
    7x run at startup (for a game?)
    1x disable your screen lock (for a game? There is a specific permission to keep the phone awake so why manipulate the screen lock who protects my phone from others accessing it?)
    2x draw over other apps (for a game?)
    2x modify system settings (for a game?)
    2x install shortcuts (for a game? I don't need a game placing shortcuts for me)
    Last edited by Mike9k; 05-27-2015 at 01:47 PM.
    05-27-2015 01:22 PM
  10. Marcos Buccella's Avatar
    Wow wtf is going on?
    05-27-2015 01:46 PM
  11. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Mike9k, truly I applaud what you are doing here. This is great info.

    But also, let us not forget that consumers bring a lot of this onto themselves. They do not educate themselves as they should and they get so CRAZED to have Apps out the wazoo for FREE and exhibit such a gimme, gimme, gimme attitude that it is no wonder there are some who will exploit that.

    Most don't care about piracy, they view it as good and their God given right as a human being to get everything free... P.T. Barnum would be so proud of the mobile industry today he would shed tears of happiness.
    05-27-2015 01:51 PM
  12. rhapdog's Avatar
    Nice to see Windows Central has acknowledged this with an article and that Microsoft is addressing it as well now.

    See? Starting this thread did get someone's attention. Thank you, OP, for helping to watch out for the WP ecosystem.
    05-27-2015 04:45 PM
  13. RumoredNow's Avatar
    05-27-2015 05:14 PM
  14. MonkeyDance's Avatar
    The timing of the MS blog post and the article do suggest that it might be a reaction to this thread, but neither mention the huge problems that Mike9k uncovered here: you can decompile other people's hard work, then resubmit it to the store as your own, and then cheat the ratings system.

    The fact that these three separate major issues are not even mentioned is pretty disappointing to me. I can understand that from MS, but it makes WinCentral look biased in my eyes. Well, biased or clueless, can't tell which. No disrespect! :)
    True but sometimes its best not to publicise these things too much because it could make the problem more widespread, if its all over the internet then more hackers might find out and start joining in.

    Acknowledgement and a more stringent review process is a good start, I've the passed the info on to the MS Evangelist I emailed anyway, not sure if he'll be able to help but at least we know people at MS are aware there is an issue.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    05-28-2015 06:18 AM
  15. Mike9k's Avatar
    Microsoft is addressing it as well now.
    The blogpost states its not related to intellectual property compliance:

    While these guidelines will be implemented to ensure compliance with Policy 10.1, they are not related to intellectual property compliance (more information on intellectual property protection is available here). As always, we invite anyone that is concerned about misuse of their intellectual property to submit notices of infringement to our reporting tool here.
    How we are improving Windows Store app catalog
    05-29-2015 04:23 AM
  16. Mike9k's Avatar
    Well lets move to the next problem concerning the rip-off apps I'm talking here: fake ratings
    This is something in the hands of microsoft and it would help if this gets fixed while they work on the store.

    Here is how the top 47 in a store with fake ratings looks like (its the UK store as the US had a small hickup while I was collecting this):

    uk-29.05.2015.jpg

    30 out of 47 games in the top list have fake ratings.
    Here are some examples how such fake ratings look like:
    (All of the following screens are again from the US store)

    rating-28.05.2015-1.jpg

    rating-28.05.2015-6.jpg

    rating-28.05.2015-3.jpg

    rating-28.05.2015-7.jpg

    rating-28.05.2015-4.jpg

    The fake rating creates also an interesting effect as the ones behind this don't seem to care if they break the stolen game so there are some with issues like unpassable sections or ads hiding areas needed to play. As they don't generate fake ratings all the time and will usually stop at one point it produces the interesting effect of seeing nearly perfectly rated games with over 1000 ratings but the rating details visible (now from real users) complain only about problems.
    Here are two examples for this:

    rating-28.05.2015-5.jpg

    rating-28.05.2015-8.jpg
    05-29-2015 06:31 AM
  17. noersetiawan's Avatar
    Wow finally found this thread.
    05-29-2015 07:21 AM
  18. 920Walker's Avatar
    What are the numbers posted in fake ratings? Are those the call in numbers for voting during the last season of American Idol? In all seriousness, this issue needs an immediate fix. The fake ratings are what appear to have these garbage games listed at the top of new + rising. They may be new, but its only their stench that's rising, and it doesn't smell pleasant, it's making me nauseous.
    RumoredNow and Mike9k like this.
    05-29-2015 07:25 PM
  19. neo158's Avatar
    I've just found another developer ripping off Android apps called Small reptile.
    Jazmac and 920Walker like this.
    05-30-2015 08:45 PM
  20. Mike9k's Avatar
    I've just found another developer ripping off Android apps called Small reptile.
    Yes I have seen a couple like him. They use the exact same name(if free), icon, graphics and gameplay but in my opinion they are still a smaller problem in relation to what is going on currently. The reason: it doesn't look like they have fake ratings, they usually have a couple apps per account and their release cycle is slower.
    Small reptile as an example has close to half of his games from Ketchapp (majority is from apple) so the route Microsoft offers should work for him. If Ketchapp contacts Microsoft concerning a handful of their games with graphic, icons and name stolen chances are Microsoft would lock the complete account.
    Last edited by Mike9k; 06-02-2015 at 07:25 AM.
    RumoredNow and neo158 like this.
    06-02-2015 07:03 AM
  21. runesel's Avatar
    Good to see a thread on this problem. I tweeted this on the 19. may:

    <tweet>
    @wpdev @dvlup Am I the only one noticing all the apps with lots of fake 5 star reviews in the wp store? New + Rising list is infested #wpdev
    </tweet>

    Thank you Mike9K for collecting all the information! Hope this gets fixed soon, it's really destructive for honest devs. I have a new game ready, but waiting with release until this is sorted out.

    Rune
    Joe920, RumoredNow, Mike9k and 1 others like this.
    06-02-2015 06:02 PM
  22. noersetiawan's Avatar
    This thread needs to get the attention. Even a non WP user pointed this out to me as he browse the Store.

    Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
    runesel and Mike9k like this.
    06-26-2015 03:07 AM
  23. runesel's Avatar
    I can't understand why nothing is being done with this. Just look at:
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...onandadventure

    Farm Splash Juice, Deluxe Fruit, Deluxe Diamond Rush, Ski Racer, Free Kodly Fruit, Slice Fruit Blast etc.... all with fake reviews.
    920Walker, Mike9k and Joe920 like this.
    07-06-2015 03:48 AM
  24. Mike9k's Avatar
    I can't understand why nothing is being done with this. Just look at:
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...onandadventure

    Farm Splash Juice, Deluxe Fruit, Deluxe Diamond Rush, Ski Racer, Free Kodly Fruit, Slice Fruit Blast etc.... all with fake reviews.
    Yes if you sort by rating its really bad.

    I have seen some disappear and reappear as new release but I'm not sure if microsoft is removing the old ones or if they remove them on their own to re-release with a new publisher name.

    Some examples from the current new+rising US top ranks of this type (the images are for games who got removed and where I had a screenshot):

    new: Virtual Ping Pong Free (7/1/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...1-1daaf9abffbf
    old: Ping Pong Master (removed)
    fnbc70b.jpg

    new: Crisis Train (7/5/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...d-33fb5fa0bbf0
    old: Happy Train Town (5/30/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...6-0bbd463bb6be

    new: Konsion Monster Car (6/30/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...1-ae11bf2fb3f0
    old: Big Foot Go Home (removed)
    natygto.jpg

    new: Peaors Bubble Shooter (6/29/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...4-9f6e2a57df98
    old: Fruit Shooter Bubble (removed)
    sdhadkf.jpg

    new: Mountain Car Racing (7/2/2015)
    https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/s...8-86be69953702
    old: Jam Dangerous Climbing Hill (removed)
    1.png
    Last edited by Mike9k; 07-12-2015 at 11:33 AM.
    RumoredNow, runesel and Joe920 like this.
    07-12-2015 11:13 AM
  25. runesel's Avatar
    Nice, good to see an article about it! Lets hope the store cleaning speeds up.
    07-14-2015 04:12 AM
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