07-14-2015 04:12 AM
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  1. Mike9k's Avatar
    My research says more than 60% of the US new+rising game top chart ranks currently look like rip-offs (stolen apps and or icons). I'm not talking about copy cats or similar games but the exact same game as is already in the store with a different publisher, name and/or icon. The current state:

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    Some examples from the top 48 ranks above in detail to see what I'm refering to:

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    I contacted microsoft concerning this problem last month. No reaction or response so far. I contacted windowscentral concerning it this month. Also no reaction or response so far. What can be done about this?
    05-21-2015 09:15 AM
  2. Chris_Kez's Avatar
    Wow, that is deplorable. Shouldn't this be should be front-page news at Windows Central?
    05-21-2015 09:24 AM
  3. Joe920's Avatar
    Wow, nice reporting. So how does this scam work? Is it the original publisher of an app that sticks a new icon on their app and resubmits? Or does the code get stolen and resubmitted with a new icon?
    05-21-2015 10:14 AM
  4. Mike9k's Avatar
    Wow, nice reporting. So how does this scam work? Is it the original publisher of an app that sticks a new icon on their app and resubmits? Or does the code get stolen and resubmitted with a new icon?
    I don't belive its the original publisher as there are now to many with similar characteristics.

    *the majority of the resubmitted ones has a new publisher with only that game
    *if you start the game there is sometimes a new splash screen (I have seen logos from the hunger games in non related games) - why would the original publisher steal the icon and insert a stolen "the hunger games" splash screen when resubmitting the game?
    *some of them show still the original game title inside the game (look at the first example "Soldier Stickman" the original game title is even on the screenshot)
    *there seems to be some ranking manipulation or they have an effective way to climb the US new+rising charts shortly after release. From 50-100 and after that there are way less of them. The majority is between 1-50 of new+rising. But the normal top free chart are also starting to get filled slowly.

    I noticed them around the start of last month.
    Joe920 and RumoredNow like this.
    05-21-2015 11:53 AM
  5. Torcher Death's Avatar
    Maybe MS would start to crackdown on such apps once it's closer to the other app stores, till then just let them live for the sake of numbers
    05-21-2015 12:04 PM
  6. Joe920's Avatar
    Really great job investigating this. This should definitely be a story on WindowsCentral. I'm still curious how these guys get their hands on code to submit. Does anyone know?
    05-21-2015 12:11 PM
  7. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Wow. Pretty fantastic job putting all this together, Mike9k. I submitted it to the Tips line @ WC. Contact | Windows Central

    I think it is up to any original Developers to contact Microsoft about their copyrights being violated...
    gpobernardo, jojoe42 and Mike9k like this.
    05-21-2015 12:28 PM
  8. Mike9k's Avatar
    Maybe MS would start to crackdown on such apps once it's closer to the other app stores, till then just let them live for the sake of numbers
    I believe having a good ranking system with quality games that will receive updates from its original developers is more important than blowing up some already high numbers the most users probably wont care about that much.

    I think it is up to any original Developers to contact Microsoft about their copyrights being violated...
    Yes I would agree if the top 50 weren't so full with them. But if from the top 50 more than every second one is such a type it lowers in my opinion the quality of the store and as such the experience for any user.
    Last edited by Mike9k; 05-21-2015 at 12:49 PM.
    920Walker, MikeX74 and trivishal like this.
    05-21-2015 12:38 PM
  9. tgp's Avatar
    Maybe MS would start to crackdown on such apps once it's closer to the other app stores, till then just let them live for the sake of numbers
    That reminds me of this article on Neowin from November 2014.

    To quote the relevant paragraph:

    The current Windows Store development community is quite small, even if you include the Windows Phone devs, when compared to the iOS community and Android. Microsoft knows this and the Windows Store is still not filled with quality apps. Yes, there are large numbers of apps in there but there is also a lot of crap like an SNES emulator that is in no-way legal. But its a numbers game here for Microsoft - if they blow out all the crap apps, the store will be a barren desert as opposed to junkyard with a few gems sprinkled about.
    05-21-2015 12:54 PM
  10. Mike9k's Avatar
    To quote the relevant paragraph:
    Concerning your quote:
    I don't believe it was that way but if one wants to say back then it has been a junkyard with a few gems then the junk pieces have found now a way to float on top.
    How much of the users will start to dig through the junk down for the gems? If MS doesn't react it will likely get worse as developers who port from android or ios will have less success because there are dozens of junk games in front of their game who got there by manipulating the ranking. The resulting lower rank leads to less revenue which makes it less likely for them to port other apps or to continue publishing updates.
    Last edited by Mike9k; 05-21-2015 at 04:15 PM.
    gpobernardo likes this.
    05-21-2015 03:33 PM
  11. yihong kang's Avatar
    Does the original apps available in windows store? If yes, those rip-off apps should be taken off, if not, it is OK to have those rip-off apps. At least, they are taking care of windows users who were ignored by the original app makers.


    Rip off and cheating the ranking are not the same thing. A rip-off app (a very good rip-off) can be fun and ranked high by the users. No body gonna check the publisher to see whether it's rip-off or not.


    However, if any app cheats the ranking, no matter whether it is a rip-off app or not, it should be banned.
    Heine Kristensen likes this.
    05-21-2015 04:21 PM
  12. Mike9k's Avatar
    Does the original apps available in windows store?
    All of the ones marked by me above have the original app still in the windows phone store.

    Rip off and cheating the ranking are not the same thing.
    Yes, I don't care about the normal copycats. If a game like flappy bird isn't ported by the publisher and someone makes a similar one with his own graphics and code thats ok. The phone users will sort the good from the bad ones out. The real problem starts with the combination of resubmitting a lot apps and manipulate the ranking.
    05-21-2015 04:52 PM
  13. yihong kang's Avatar
    All of the ones marked by me above have the original app still in the windows phone store.


    Yes, I don't care about the normal copycats. If a game like flappy bird isn't ported by the publisher and someone makes a similar one with his own graphics and code thats ok. The phone users will sort the good from the bad ones out. The real problem starts with the combination of resubmitting a lot apps and manipulate the ranking.

    In this case, it's a huge problem of windows store.

    I do notice another problem with Windows store rating and ranking. Many apps were released as free apps and earned a good rating, then suddenly, they increased to some ridiculous price but still preserved the reading and ranking they earned when they were free.

    If Microsoft is serious about the unified store, they should get this right before the release of windows 10.
    05-21-2015 05:33 PM
  14. arjunan's Avatar
    They Ripped Off Drawtopia?
    THEY RIPPED OFF DRAWTOPIA?
    THEY RIPPED OFF DRAWTOPIA!!!!!!!!??????!!

    tmark86 likes this.
    05-22-2015 11:51 AM
  15. syspry's Avatar
    This is a symptom of an ailing app store. Blackberry had the same issue, probably still does. A lot of scam developers flock to struggling app stores with a poor selection of apps hoping to sucker people into thinking "yay [app name] is finally on [WP/Blackberry]!!"
    05-22-2015 11:51 AM
  16. Angry_Mushroom's Avatar
    Closing the app gap with crap. This is neither acceptable, nor justifiable.

    Maybe MS would start to crackdown on such apps once it's closer to the other app stores, till then just let them live for the sake of numbers
    No. MS SHOULD crackdown on this hard. This is filling the grain bin with sand, and covering the top with grain. If you missed the Animal Farm reference, let me clarify. MS is filling their app store with garbage and spam. This is not closing the app gap in any way if you have 30 duplicates. There is no justifiable reason for blatant plagiarism and stealing. Stealing someone's else's work, posting it up elsewhere as your own is just... uhh... pretty sure that's actually illegal.
    05-22-2015 03:37 PM
  17. tgp's Avatar
    Closing the app gap with crap. This is neither acceptable, nor justifiable.
    The Store numbers have been advertised lately as growing rapidly. I agree, it is neither acceptable nor justifiable. But yet, if you don't actually look at the Store, these spam apps help in a way. I wouldn't be surprised if that plays into Microsoft's decision of what do do about them.

    The Play Store and even Apple's Store have plenty of garbage in them as well. But yet, as I actively use all three, I would have to say that WP's seems to be the worst of the three, even with its lower numbers. Even Google's million plus app Store doesn't seem to be nearly as rife with junk, percentage wise at least.
    Laura Knotek and trivishal like this.
    05-22-2015 03:50 PM
  18. Yazen's Avatar
    Have you ever thought that there is high demand for popular Android/iOS apps? It's only common sense that Windows App developers want to make apps that users demand, and users demand "Rip-off" apps!
    05-22-2015 04:12 PM
  19. ntice_521's Avatar
    No way does it help Windows Phone to have a store filled with scam apps. It makes the store less useful, reduces revenue for developers, and ultimately reduces the number and quality of apps.
    05-22-2015 08:19 PM
  20. Jazmac's Avatar
    I think the YOUR research story is quite co-incidental. I read some garbage posted by this quack on CNET just this morning and it was repeat with PURE hatred of all things Microsoft. The story made it sound as if Microsoft a co-conspirator in the thefts. The story focused a lot on some movie app that allows you to watch unreleased movies and how many stars it has but the story spends NO TIME AT ALL on the massive amount of piracy that exists and has existed with android apps. I keep saying the closer to the release of Windows 10, the more the trolls will be coming out from under every bridge everywhere.
    neo158, jefbeard911 and raycpl like this.
    05-22-2015 08:36 PM
  21. Joe920's Avatar
    So how is this not a story on windowscentral.com yet? Mike9k already did all the hard work! It's negative publicity, but I think MS not doing anything would have worse negative long term impact.
    05-22-2015 08:44 PM
  22. Jazmac's Avatar
    So how is this not a story on windowscentral.com yet? Mike9k already did all the hard work! It's negative publicity, but I think MS not doing anything would have worse negative long term impact.
    When did Windows Central became the official spokespersons of Redmond? Or IMore become the spokes persons of Apple or Android Central become the official spokespersons of Google? I thought these were blogs free to talk about whatever they choose to talk about. I also though these forums were the property of Windows Central ergo, your answered your own question. It IS on Windows Central.com the moment the OP posted it. End of story.
    Laura Knotek and jefbeard911 like this.
    05-22-2015 10:43 PM
  23. Joe920's Avatar
    ergo, your answered your own question. It IS on Windows Central.com the moment the OP posted it. End of story.
    Um.. I meant "I think this warrants an article hosted on www.windowscentral.com". Note to self, be explicit.
    05-22-2015 11:38 PM
  24. Yazen's Avatar
    No way does it help Windows Phone to have a store filled with scam apps. It makes the store less useful, reduces revenue for developers, and ultimately reduces the number and quality of apps.
    There's a difference between scam and "rip-off" apps. Scam implies that deceit is involved, whereas a "rip-off" app is intended to emulate/clone a target app.

    It's common sense as to why the Windows store has many clones.
    Laura Knotek and jefbeard911 like this.
    05-23-2015 12:02 AM
  25. Angry_Mushroom's Avatar
    So how is this not a story on windowscentral.com yet? Mike9k already did all the hard work! It's negative publicity, but I think MS not doing anything would have worse negative long term impact.
    Likely as tgp said above. The actual percentage of the apps being ripoffs doesn't really warrant much attention. Best we can do, and something MS recommends is reporting the app if it is sketchy, or breaking the TOS set by MS.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-23-2015 01:07 AM
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