By Cody Lee on Mar 6, 2014
In a settlement with the FTC earlier this year regarding a lawsuit over in-app purchases, Apple told the commission that it would issue refunds to those affected and modify its in-app billing system to make things more clear. The FTC agreed and gave the company until March 31, 2014 to make the changes.
In order to meet the government’s orders, Apple must alter its billing practices to obtain a user’s express consent before billing them for an in-app purchase, and provide them with an easy way to withdraw that consent. And according to a new report, Apple engineers are scrambling to meet the deadline…
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 27, 2014
Reuters is reporting that The European Commission has invited Apple and Google to discuss a flurry of user complaints surrounding in-app purchases. The move follows numerous media reports that center on disgruntled parents who were shocked to find that their children racked up vast credit card bills by making content purchases in free-to-play games.
The Commission is arguing that it’s Apple’s and Google’s responsibility not to misleading consumers. The Commission also called upon greedy app creators to provide “very concrete answers” in respect to in-app purchasing concerns… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2014
Parents whose kids were tricked into obtaining virtual items in iPhone and iPad games by way of the iOS In-App Purchase mechanism will get refunded over unwanted spending, according to Apple’s settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The penalty dwarfs Google’s $22.5 million fine in the Safari website tracking scandal.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was not pleased with the outcome, but acknowledged in a letter to employees that the company “has entered into a consent decree” over long-standing complaints over inappropriate charges in the App Store, alluding his company may have exhausted its legal options and didn’t want to risk an enduring legal battle with the government… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Oct 18, 2013
Next to developer allegiance, where advertisers are spending their mobile ad dollars could be the most significant sign of whether Apple or Android is winning. New numbers out today show Apple’s iOS is trouncing Google and it is the iPad that’s leading the way. Indeed, the Apple tablet was the target of more than 91 percent of mobile ad impressions.
What’s more, despite a near neck-and-neck race in terms of ad impressions on smartphones, the iPhone outperforms Android handsets for hauling in ad revenue. For example, while Android smartphones deliver 30.5 percent of mobile ad impressions, the platform receives just 27.7 percent of the revenue.
By comparison, although the iPhone receives 30.8 percent of impressions, it gets 36.44 percent of revenue, according to a mobile ad analytic firm Opera Mediaworks… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Aug 23, 2013
The U.S. Department of Justice Friday tweaked its ebook settlement offer, including emails between Steve Jobs and Apple’s marketing head. The revised settlement charges Apple altered its in-app purchasing policy “to retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disproved of.”
The email exchange between Jobs and marketing chief Philip Schiller discussed how to counteract an Amazon commercial showing how the internet retailers app allowed ebooks to be read on either the iPad or the Kindle… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 22, 2013
I don’t have kids yet. But when I do, I’m going to make sure that I take all of the necessary steps to prevent them from making purchases in the App Store. There are various ways to do this, and for me it’s just common sense—I wouldn’t leave them with real money.
But apparently, it’s not such a cut-and-dry matter for some folks. Take this story by UK’s Mirror publication, which went viral this weekend, about an 8-year-old girl racking up a staggering $6000 App Store bill on her father’s iPad by making several in-app purchases… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Jul 8, 2013
Candy Crush Saga could become the legal Crack of the app world. Initially belittled for its close resemblance to Bejeweled, Electronics Arts’ addictive freemium game, Candy Crush is now the poster child for the freemium model, raking in a record $633,000 per day, according to one estimate. The key is simple: get players addicted to the game, then charge for larger and larger fixes. Theoretically, the company behind Candy Crush could pull in $230 million in annualized revenue from this single app, even turning the game loose on Wall Street… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jun 24, 2013
Apple began sending out emails to some iTunes users this weekend, informing them of how the approximately 23 million people that are a part of the in-app purchases class-action lawsuit can apply for compensation.
The settlement, which will cost Apple in excess of $100 million, stems from a class action lawsuit filed against Apple by parents who complained that it was far too easy for their children to make in-app purchases… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 7, 2013
You wouldn’t think that an update to an app that maps out Wi-Fi hotspots would be newsworthy, but this new release from Boingo Wireless could have a significant impact on how travelers access the internet.
The hotspot provider updated its Wi-Finder app today with the ability to sign up for access to its wireless internet in-app. So signing up for a Bingo subscription is now as easy as typing in your iTunes password… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 26, 2013
In-app purchasing via mobile applications is receiving some unwanted attention, with disgruntled parents increasingly accusing the iPhone maker of doing too little to protect kids from falling prey of greedy developers who pressure them into buying items and in turn wracking up bills for unsuspecting parents.
The UK government, for example, is conducting a probe into iOS in-app game purchases and Apple previously settled a class action lawsuit over the controversial feature. Of course, iOS 6 has decent parental controls which let users disable in-app purchasing altogether.
While adding a warning for in-app purchases in freemium apps and moving age ratings atop App Store pages helped clear up any confusion as to the nature of in-app purchasing, Apple though it could do better and on Thursday launched a new App Store feature titled ‘Learn More About In-App Purchases’… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 13, 2013
Are iOS games pressuring children into buying items, sometimes wracking up bills for unsuspecting parents? That’s the focus of a probe underway by the UK government, concerned that in-app purchases may unfairly target children. According to a BBC report, Office of Fair Trading (OFT) wants to hear from parents with the hope games developers will follow laws already on the books to protect children… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 22, 2013
Apple today has added a new ‘Offers In-App Purchases’ warning in the description of App Store apps that utilize the feature. The new disclosure can be seen in the App Store, located just beneath the Buy/Free button of pertinent applications.
The move comes amidst multiple reports of children running up monster iTunes bills, unbeknownst to their parents, via in-app purchases. Earlier this month, a young boy from the UK racked up $1,300 in charges buying virtual donuts… Read More
By Sébastien Page on Feb 28, 2013
A few days ago, Apple agreed to settle a two year-old lawsuit with a group of parents over unauthorized in-app purchases made by their kids. The parents claimed that their kids had completed in-app purchases without their knowledge because of an oversight in the way in-app purchases actually work.
Of course, all this could have been prevented if parents had restricted the usage of in-app purchases in the first place, but admittedly, not everyone knows you can make in-app purchases, and more importantly, I don’t think everyone (especially parents) knows that you can turn off in-app purchases in iOS… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 25, 2013
Apple today has agreed to settle a nearly two year-old lawsuit with a group of parents over unauthorized in-app purchases made by their kids. The parents complained that the process’ lack of password requirement led to massive iTunes bills.
As part of the preliminary deal, which has yet to be finalized by a judge, Apple will pay eligible class members with a $5 iTunes gift card or the same amount in cash. And for those users who spent more than $30, it’s offering a full refund… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 23, 2012
Alexey V. Borodin, the Russian hacker who made headlines with a tool which lets anyone steal extra content in apps, no jailbreak required, is admitting defeat following Apple’s announcement that the in-app purchasing (IAP) exploit will be fixed in the shipping version of iOS 6 this fall.
In an unprecedented move, Apple gave developers access to a pair of private APIs in iOS, a temporary solution that effectively bypasses the hack. Borodin just publicly acknowledged that currently there is no way to circumvent Apple’s band-aid fix in apps updated to take advantage of the private APIs… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 20, 2012
Apple has started emailing developers today, with more information regarding the recently-discovered in-app purchasing exploit. Earlier this month, news broke of a hack that allowed users to acquire paid in-app content, for free.
The email contains a link to a new support page, posted on Apple’s developer website, that provides devs with information on the issue, and offers up a temporary fix. It also states that a permanent patch is coming in iOS 6… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2012
A flaw in the in-app purchasing mechanism in iOS that a Russian hacker exposed last week by leveraging a proxy server which enabled $30,000+ in sales of extra content may soon become a thing of the past as Apple is reportedly looking to contain the exploit by issuing a unique identifier in validation receipts.
This identifier apparently includes the Unique Device Identifier (UDID) for the device making the in-app purchase. The development is indicative remembering that the company recently began rejecting third-party apps over use of UDIDs. Apple was also thought to be readying tools for developers to let apps figure out users without resorting to UDIDs… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 16, 2012
Making good on its promise, Apple has started to block Russian servers which authenticate paid in-app content for free, The Next Web reports. The company is blocking IP addresses that host the rogue in-appstore.com domain by issuing takedown notices to hosting companies. PayPal has also intervened to block a private account through which donations had been collected, citing violation of its terms of service.
Despite this, hacker Alexey V. Borodin, the brains behind this controversial method, has already moved the servers to another country in an attempt to evade Apple’s legal requests… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 13, 2012
Earlier today, news broke of a new exploit in the App Store’s in-app purchasing system that allows users to gain access to paid content, free of charge. The method does not require a jailbreak, and can be completed in a few simple steps.
As you can imagine, this has caused quite a stir in the iOS community, forcing Apple to take notice. This afternoon, the Cupertino company released the following statement… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 13, 2012
iOS in-app purchasing mechanism which lets you buy digital items in games, upgrade to full versions of apps and purchase additional content, has been cracked by a savvy Russian hacker who posted a proof of concept video, embedded below.
First noticed by Russian blog i-ekb.ru (via 9to5Mac), the hack is credited to Russian developer ZonD80 who runs the conveniently named In-AppStore.com website where he collects donations to support development of the project.
What’s special about this method – and potentially devastating to the development community - is that it doesn’t require a jailbreak and can be completed in a few simple steps by even the most inexperienced users. UPDATE: contrary to reports that Apple took the proxy site down, developer confirms it’s simply under high load and says the info site is being moved to Blogger. Read More