Piracy prompts iPhone developer to put ads in game

A developer of an iPhone game says piracy is threatening Apple's iPhone Apps Store business.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

When James Bossert saw he that his Whack 'em All iPhone game had 400 new users in one day last week he initially got excited. But that sentiment quickly changed when he saw that only 12 people had paid 99 cents for the game on Apple's iPhone App Store. Bossert e-mailed the person who claimed to have cracked and distributed it and posted the response on his blog.

"As many iPhone and iPod touch owners have discovered, Apple's iTunes App Store has many flaws which render it useless to the common user," the pirate, whose alias is "most_uniQue," wrote. "Apple has chosen to allow a multitude of ridiculous, worthless, poorly-represented applications through its 'strict' screening process, nearly all written by mediocre programmers with a dream of getting rich quick. Many of these programmers game the reviews system, misrepresent their application in the description, and generally try to swindle the honest buyer."

The pirate then suggested that Apple offer trial versions of the apps and that Bossert offer an ad-supported version of his game.

"Most_uniQue" said he used Crackulous, "one-tap" cracking software developed by Hackulous, to crack the app. After cracking 35 apps, he is retiring, he told Bossert in their surprisingly friendly e-mail exchange.

These pirated apps run only on iPhones that have been jailbroken, or opened up to third-party applications without Apple's authorization.

According to Bossert, this is not an isolated incident.

"Many developers are upset that the (Apple) digital rights management is broken and nobody has gotten a response from Apple, that I know of," Bossert, co-founder of Fairlady Media, told CNET News on Tuesday. "The pirates are so far ahead of Apple now that ... games are cracked the day or the day after they are released."

An Apple spokesperson said the company had no comment.

Bossert said he plans to release a free, ad-supported version of Whack 'em All within a few weeks as a result of the piracy. "I'll leave the 99 cent version out there and see what happens," he added.

Pirating of iPhone apps appears to have been going on since at least last July with the pirating of the Super Monkey Ball from SEGA.