Apple Removes Dash From App Store, Says It's Because Of Review Manipulation

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Apple has unceremoniously booted the popular Dash app from its App Store, curtly informing its developer Bogdan Popescu of its decision via email on Oct. 5. The “Notification of Termination” message also came with the shutdown of Popescu’s iTunes account.

Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager that is available in both Mac and iTunes stores. Its developer cited that its capabilities include the storage of snippets of code and the instant generation of offline documentation sets for more than 150 APIs.

In the email sent to Popescu, Apple merely cited that it is pulling Dash out because of what it called as fraudulent activities. This was not explained in detail and the developer was naturally caught flat-footed and initially unsure what just happened.

“Yesterday I sent Apple a request to migrate my account from an individual one to a company one,” Popescu posted at Kapeli. “A few hours ago I received a ‘Notice of Termination’ email, saying that my account was terminated due to fraudulent conduct. I called them again and they said they can’t provide more information.”

As news of Dash’s fate began to surface online, bits of information have emerged to explain what actually transpired. For example, in an email sent to Matthew Eis, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, confirmed that the app is engaged in fraudulent activity.

“We often terminate developer accounts for ratings and review fraud, including actions designed to hurt other developers,” Schiller explained. “This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, on behalf of all of our customers and developers.”

Popescu himself has since updated his post, saying that Apple informed him later on that the company discovered evidence of App Store review manipulation. The developer denied this charge. This could, however, prove fruitless since the Apple decision, as was the case in the past, is deemed final and can no longer be appealed. Popescu can take heart, however, with the fact that Apple has a history of reversing itself when it comes to this issue once it finds that it was mistaken.

There are also developers who are now vouching for Dash, citing that the app is useful and effective and, therefore, Popescu does not need to manipulate anything to gain positive reviews.

The lack of comprehensive information coming out of Apple and the fact that one can no longer examine the reviews of the deleted app continue to perplex observers. There is even a proposition that Popescu did not do anything wrong and that the problem is either caused by a third party, who maliciously targeted the app or Apple’s flagging system simply made a mistake.

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