AMPME Not there A brand new app that popped up to dupe unsuspecting users with their money. See photo above this post? It’s from 2015, when we first covered the idea: an app that can sync a room full of smartphones to a single giant speaker at no charge. But As App Store Scam Hunter Costa Eleftherio ExplainsApp looks Seriously shady after more than six years – if you downloaded it yesterday, it would immediately try to sell you an automatic recurring subscription for $9.99 per week. That’s $520 a year, an incredible amount if you take it out as a party trick and then forget to cancel.
appfigure guess The app has grossed $13 million since 2018.
As we discussed last April, it’s ridiculously easy to find scams on Apple’s App Store — just follow the money and look at the reviews. If you see an app that charges ridiculous subscription fees yet still has loads of five-star ratings, something may be off. And if those reviews look downright fake, and the app is barely functional, you’ve probably spotted a scam.
What’s not easy to find: A company accused of fraud is willing to stand up for itself. Most are completely silent, but when we reached out to AMPME for comment, we received a reply from its support email address. Here it is in full:
The free version of our app is the most popular version and most of our users have never paid a single penny. Given its reception and popularity, AmpMe is an important app and works as advertised.
To claim that our users are typically paying $520 per year does not reflect reality. For example, in 2021, the average user who subscribed and took advantage of our free trial paid a total of $17. If you take only paying users, the average annual subscription revenue is around $75. Internally, this has reinforced our belief that AmpMe’s pricing is transparent, with clear and easy opt-out processes.
With regard to reviews, we listen to the feedback loud and clear. Over the years, like most startups, we’ve hired outside consultants to help with marketing and app store optimization. More monitoring is needed and we are currently working on it.
We always follow Apple’s subscription guidelines and are constantly working to ensure their high standards are met. We also respect and value community feedback. Therefore, a new version of the low cost app has already been submitted to the App Store for review.
We can’t confirm AmpMe’s numbers, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. There are at least three other interesting facts in that answer:
- AmpMe isn’t denying that it hired someone to pump its brand into the App Store. Nor is it promising not to do so in future. It is simply pointing to a flaw elsewhere. Maybe it’s outraged its advisors faked these reviews. Maybe it’s just annoyed that they got caught.
- As a result of this investigation AmpMe is reducing its price. In fact, the company’s update has already been approved and is live on the store. It’s $4.99 per week or $260 per year right now.
- AmpMe isn’t abandoning its membership strategy, which the company believes is “transparent with clear and easy opt-out processes.”
I downloaded a copy of AmpMe, and I have to admit it’s not as clear as I expected when I heard the news. While it absolutely hits you with a subscription request the moment you open the app, gets you three days of free membership, and it’s hard to spot a little “X” to bypass that screen, the app At least clearly states how it’s going to charge immediately in big white letters.
And if you hit the “X” and unsubscribe, the app seems functional—if only as a way to watch music videos from YouTube, sync while you rando or chat with friends— As multiple-phone-as-speaker functionality is locked behind AmpMe’s paywall.
So the fact that Apple isn’t pulling it from the App Store (and instead helping AMPME clean up the more obvious fake reviews, according to techcrunch) doesn’t really surprise me. It’s not one of the worst offenders, and the position of the tech industry is that many, many companies benefit from the “oh, forgot to cancel my subscription” phenomenon, including Apple.
But as I suggested in September, the world’s most valuable and profitable company, which sells privacy as its brand and claims to put customers first, could do much more to show it. . It may lead here rather than follow. It can prevent profits from oblivion, provide automatic refunds if people are defrauded, prevent auto-renewing subscriptions by default, and turn off the star rating system that allows review fakes to flourish. gives. Last October, it took one of those suggestions and actually brought back a way to report App Store scams. We have more.
I wonder how much of this whole “outside consultants” idea goes into the consideration that Empmy mentions. This isn’t the first company Eleftherio has revealed, where a seemingly legitimate app that’s been around for years sparks a new set of fake reviews, and a new screen advertises an exorbitant subscription price that you’ll need Have to pay for launch or dismiss for the first time. (Many of these screens look pretty much the same.) I wouldn’t be surprised if companies are going to buy this exact service for older apps in exchange for a cut in revenue. (Looks like this might not be the first time the CEO of AmpMe has cashed in on an older app.)
If such a company has contacted you, or has worked for such a company, I would love to talk to you. I’m at [email protected]