Following my report from yesterday, Apple has removed many of the apps I pointed out. When you try to find them on the App Store, they are no longer available.
App Store Review Guidelines are very clear when it comes to app duplicates. According to rule 4.3, you can’t release the same app multiple times on the App Store as it is considered as spamming.
But that rule has been poorly enforced, and some companies have taken advantage of that. In my original report, I focused on one category in particular — VoIP apps that let you get a second phone number and send and receive calls and texts from that new number.
Developers release multiple versions of the same app so they can use different names, different keywords and different categories. This way, they can cover a wide range of keywords when you’re searching for an app in the App Store.
So let’s look at the developers I called out yesterday. It’s still unclear if some of these apps will reappear after some changes.
TextMe Up Second Phone Number — REMOVED
Free Tone – Calling & Texting — REMOVED
Text Me – Phone Calls + Text — REMOVED
BinaryPattern and Flexible Numbers LLC
Texting/Calling Phone Burner — STILL AVAILABLE
Smiley Private Texting SMS — STILL AVAILABLE
Texting Shield – Phone Number — REMOVED
Burner Phone Numbers SMS/Calls — REMOVED
Business Line Phone Number — REMOVED
Phoner 2nd Phone Number Text — REMOVED
Text Burner – Texting Anonymous — REMOVED
Second Line – 2nd Phone Number — REMOVED
Dingtone – WiFi Calling & Text — REMOVED
Telos Second Phone Number — REMOVED
This case illustrates once again that Apple holds the keys to the App Store kingdom. The company acts as a judge and can make or break some companies.
Some of those companies have released clones of their apps and benefited from that strategy for many years. The main issue here is that App Store rules aren’t enforced consistently.