With 1.3 million apps listed in the App Store alone and 30,000 new apps joining the store every month, the app market is probably one of the most competitive markets in the world at the moment. Most businesses and developers use a range of marketing techniques such as app store optimization to make their app standout, however, a growing minority now choose much more immoral methods to secure downloads and make money.
It is no secret that bots that create fake click and install IDs have been deployed to boost apps for some time now, they are fraud tool used for mixing traffic to grow volumes and lower costs. But bots make up just a single portion of a growing list of fraudulent practices that are infecting the app market.
Android is another example for a market open to fraudulent practices. Open source code is often exploited to ‘steal’ downloads. By copying an Android app’s open code and creating an APK file, you can essentially ‘own’ the whole code within the app including, crucially, the tracking code. This APK code can then be linked to a website to create a self-standing ‘app store’, with real apps, detached from the actual Google Play store. Fraudsters manage to not only make money from downloads and in-app purchases, but also to benefit from stealing marketing campaigns for the app from its developer.
Above all, fraudsters enjoy the silence. Developers generally aren’t keen on informing the world when their app has been subjected to fraud. Consequently, as information on these practices is not being shared, countermeasures are difficult to deploy.
However, this doesn’t mean that the situation cannot change. Raising awareness to the subject is important, there are practical methods a developer can adopt in order to minimize the potential risk of being a subject to fraud. We offered some techniques in a recent article published on ITProPortal.