December 21, 2014

A Spammer Responds: "We Will Flood the Android Market"

Photo: freezelight

When we reported on AppBrain’s claim that 6,000 spam apps from three developers had disappeared from the Market, we naturally wanted to confirm whether Google had in fact removed them, or if the developers had done so themselves. We haven’t heard anything from Google, but one of the developers let us know how he was feeling about the situation. As you’ll see, he is not exactly contrite.

The gentleman who contacted us did not give his name, but represents So Wallpaper, a developer whose entire slate of 1,500 apps was removed this week. One thing’s for sure: he didn’t willingly take them down.

“I can’t believe it. Our other good apps were also removed.” Acknowledging, I guess, that most of them were bad. (I should note that English is clearly not this guy’s first language. I’ve taken the liberty of editing his remarks into standard English.)

So, why did he publish so many apps? “We didn’t want to have to do that. But the Android Market doesn’t have many people who like to pay for apps. So how is a developer to live? Just off of ad revenue?”

And then he dropped some fascinating information, along with a threat. “We have many developer accounts, such as avgirl.inc, rosa, honggang.li, and gogopwz. Each of them also has many apps.” I checked, and these four developer accounts are all still active in the market, accounting together for more than 1,000 apps, most of them adult in nature. “We will still flood the Android Market until it provides a better profit environment. We will fire in the end! We welcome other developers to join with us.”

My guess is that none of the developers that read AndroidGuys are interested in joining So Wallpaper in this endeavor, but let us know in the comments.

While there’s an argument to be made that Google unilaterally removing these apps is a step down a slippery slope to Apple-like control, I am perfectly fine with them doing some thorough cleaning of this sort. If it means that the overall number of apps stops rising or even falls, so be it. I’ll take quality over quantity, signal over noise.



  • chaosrabbit

    Perhaps they should go back to farming gold in Wow?

  • http://twitter.com/velazcod velazcod

    What an idiot, I mean, I’m a developer, and the android market is not yet at a point in which you can make as much money as you can on Apple’s App Store? Why? Simply because of total number of subcribers.

    You can still make money the right way, here’s a tip: DEVELOP QUALITY APPS, and you will see, don’t try to be rebel and start a revolution just because your main goal is not to make quality apps but to make stupid spammy apps. Just for your attitude, dear developer, you deserved to be banned from the Android community, we don’t need you, you will not help.

  • DroidAddict

    Doesn't it cost a small amount of money to the dev if the user gets the app fee refunded? If so we could all start buying and getting refunding within the 24 allowed period. ;-)

    Suck it spammers.

    • http://twitter.com/TeslaCoilSW @TeslaCoilSW

      Generally no. It will only increase their download count, though you could leave bad feedback. I believe a credit card chargeback will cost the developer some money, but I don't recommend doing that.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/anas_qtiesh anas_qtiesh

    That's why we can't have nice things.

  • http://www.savina.net/blog Raphaels

    I am with Google on this one, though they should work on adding more countries into the paid list and add few more payment options (will come soon it seems).

    Sending thousands of apps in the market to get revenue based on a small part of a the large number… is spamming and nobody likes spams.

  • http://babyesp.com Peter

    @DroidAddict
    No the dev doesn't get charged anything for app refunds within 24 hours. If you have a credit card chargeback you will get charged a bit.

    • John

      Google should make it more obvious to newbies that you can get a refund within 24 hours. I've only had an android phone for a month and haven't bought any apps yet. I assumed that there would be a refund option, but I bet there's a fair number of people that have never bought an app as they don't want to lose money if it's rubbish.

  • http://twitter.com/TheAppBrain @TheAppBrain

    Wow, great somebody responded, we already thought that these developers never would pull their apps themselves.

    I checked, and our automatic spam filter already filters all his other accounts on AppBrain.com as well already. (The 6,000 apps removed by Google made our overall spam percentage drop from nearly 50% to 45% now, so there's still a lot of apps to pull for Google…)

  • Brendan McCluskey

    As I've read (and agree with) in a comment on the original article, these crap-apps won't ever make it to the "Top" in any category. You'll really only notice them if you sort the Market Apps by date. But, avoiding "Just Added" applications may make it harder for legit apps to bubble up.

    ..some thoughts..

    1) – If Google added a filter to the Android Market with which Android users can "Hide Applications Written by Developers with > [x] Applications in the Market", it'd help weed them out of our view. With this, of course, they'll need an Exception List that we can personally maintain.. e.g., developers of home replacement themes & widgets that we don't mind seeing.

    2) Offer some sort of Android Development Certification to respectable developers/companies, and then allow us the option to sort the "Just Added" applications by whether or not the entity is Certified.

    • http://www.appsbybirbeck.com/ birbeck

      Not true, multimedia and themes are loaded with them in the top positions. I think total downloads across all your apps count towards your popularity and get your apps at the top. 150 of the top 200 multimedia apps are single mp3 soundbytes for ringtones at 0.99 each. And I guarantee “videotonez” does not have distribution rights. At any rate its spam pure and simple

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jackdusty JackDusty

    This is exactly the kind of developer we don't need. What the hell kind of attitude is that anyway? I say, pull all his apps and ban him from the market if he carries on like this.
    As velazcod says, develop quality apps and have patience and you will make money.
    The Android market's freedom and openness is it's great strength but people like this exploit it and cause it to also be a bit of a weakness.

  • http://twitter.com/Rovex @Rovex

    Develop quality apps and people will buy them. I buy android apps, i have no problem doing so, but finding them in the sea of spam rubbish is hard. Its the devs own fault frankly, not the platforms.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/matthewlwry Matthew Lowery

    I've never seen the Android Marketplace, but if a Developer is allowed to make 1000 crap apps, there's something wrong. I see nothing wrong with them being taken down.

  • Lekky

    Good riddance.

    How does he think spamming the market with terrible apps will make him more money anyway.

    Hope the the other accounts he has get killed and he doesn’t come back.

  • Mark M.

    It's great that the one who responds is the worst offender of the market.Hopefully google will read this article and remove the apps from the other names SO Wall goes by along with the other JUNK they have allready removed.I mean come on people this guy was even to lazy to change the preview pics and description of the app on most of these 1500+ pieces of crap the market was flooded with.

    I agree 100% with velazcod lets be glad we have developers who think like him.However Create a quality app is something crap developers like SO Wall will never understand.As for him being upset that even their good apps were removed??? I also like how most of these crap apps he spewed out had one rating by the same person on each app giving it 5 stars.I guess he needed the revenue from the adds to pay some flunky to rate his junk.

    GOOD RIDANCE to idiots like this and keep up the good work google

  • Damian Levy

    I’ve seen the sowallpaper.com apps flooding the market, and even downloaded a few just to see what kind of crap these spammers upload.

    And believe me, it was CRAP! It was basically an app that any beginner dev could write in about 5 minutes. It contained about 5-10 pictures that scrolled sideways when you slide your finger on the screen. Also, the most annoying bit was the prominent ad placed RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the screen. I am not kidding! This guy is an idiot and a spammer.

    I really hope Google removes all this guys accounts, as he continues to pump out at least 50-100 crapps a day!

  • Gene

    Everybody, there is a report of this abuse in the Google Groups Market Suggestions, please STAR this issue so Google can ban these spammers:
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Mar

  • Shane

    This guy is a complete idiot, i hope Google bans his IP from anything having to do with the Market. I download trial apps but mostly because i want to check them out before i buy, if i like it and it does what i want it to i am happy to pay for the full non ad version. Besides most of the paid version apps are pretty inexpensive so i have no issue paying for them.

  • http://twitter.com/AFG85 @AFG85

    The guy's argument is ridiculous. If he doesn't think that Android is a profitable market, then DON'T DEVELOP FOR IT. Sowallpaper, avgirl, and their other accounts all have nothing but absolute crap that churns out more and more crap apps every day. I hope Google drives them out for good.

  • Coda 81

    This is a huge issue with the Android Market place. Apple runs a tight ship and I have owned two iPhones and an iPad now. Before I bought the Droid X I had the Eris, when I first experienced the Droid market I was totally let down. I couldn't believe the difference. Yes Apples's App Store is more restricted, but at the same time wide open is not a better alternative, as we can see with morons like this. As others have pointed out above, there is so much crap on there that it's hard to find quality apps that deserve our attention.

    Google needs to have a better hold as to what's going on and this is a move in the right direction. The last thing we need is the Android market being flooded with more and more crap. Devs that just want to whore out 0 quality apps to make a buck on advertising revenue need to be removed.

    One thing I can say too is that Apple has top notch customer service. Google needs to step their game up when it comes to this if they want to be a REAL contender. It's not going to be easy to catch up to Apple, but Android has the best chance with the numbers they are putting up. Better quality in the Android Market will attract better Devs, etc.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/shadowstep Shadow Step

    The irony is that the company know for it's searching engine has such a lousy search engine for the app market.
    But then that shouldn't be a surprise, their search engine in Gmail steel sucks after after more than 6 years (can't search for partial matches for instance)

  • lohertz

    What a douche bag, make a quality app that people want to pay for. Trying to cash in on garbage is just pitiful.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/anakin78z anakin78z

    Well, he does have a point. If you make an app that displays 5 pictures and an ad, the likelihood of more than 10 people downloading it is pretty small. So in that respect, he really can't make any money. If, however, he posts 4000 of these apps, even if only 3 people download each app before marking it as crap, that's still 12,000 people who looked at those ads. That's a lot more money.
    So, assuming you're only interested in producing crap, it's really not that bad of a business model.

  • http://www.ringlert.com ringlert

    You better off making one decent app with lots of ad views, rather than thousands of small crappy apps. been there done that, not worth it.

  • David M

    If we reconfigure our thinking to see the Android Market as a free(er) market, then we don’t need Google to clean it up (although I, for one, applaud the removal of obviously-worthless apps). Instead, let ‘voices be heard’ — this is the Google method, no?

    For example, if nobody links to a website (low/no popularity), it doesn’t get seen (ranked). This is where AppBrain.com and others come in. Don’t stop the market-place from being free, just be informed about what’s there. ESPECIALLY with the 24/48 hour return policy!! Let good stuff stay and bad stuff be ignored. I’m really starting to think that this is all about the FULLY BOGUS/worthless statistic of ‘how many apps does your platform have?!?!’

    There’s a pretty cool book (free .pdf and online versions available, by the way!) called _The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It_ that speaks to the issue of new mediums and how we try to ‘control’ them when things go wrong instead of learning how to not get used/abused/screwed by mean people using a new medium (cf. Mill & utilitarianism).

    One of the best parts about the web is that you can ignore idiots. If only that worked as well face-to-face… (that’s a joke)

    My 2 cents.

  • Igor

    Personaly I have nothing against those guys publish their apps. I just wish I had a simple filter that whenever I see account like this, that publish tones of useless apps I would like to filter that guy.

    At this moment both ways of navigating market to find apps like, top and just in are terrible. After some time you see the same apps in top and a lot of spam in "just in".
    What I wish market could include is a social aspect so that I could connect with my friends who also has android phone. I wish I could see what they installed and how they rated. The last this is I would like to know if they just tried the app or it has been installed on their phones for some time.

    At this moment the only way that I install app is it either been recommended to me or I read an article.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/phantomsmask Deej

    I hate going into the the market now and looking at what is new in apps. Why because of all the damn porn apps that you have to go through just to find a decent app. So, as stated the apps appeared to be adult in nature then GOOD! Spamming the market only turns people away from it. I use to go through the market like it was the daily newspaper. Now, I just read app reviews, or do a search of something I might need. To pick out my apps that I may want to try or use. I have no problem buying an app, but before I buy I like reading good solid reviews on them, so I'm not wasting my money. I don't have a lot of money as it is and if I'm going to put down some money (I'm not talking the .99 ones the bit more apps) I want reviews.

    In the mean time, I'm thinking a little control is necessary, I'm not talking denying apps based on one thing or another with some type of standard, like ADULT sites Need not apply! obviously, there isn't a lot of market for them on the market if they seem to not be able to make money.

  • Urakagi

    Google should kill them at all.
    And I can’t stop guessing this guy comes from China.

    • PIG

      First of all you shouldn't plan on living off of developing Android apps, or Apple apps for that matter. It's not a full time job, quit thinking you can quit your job and live off of developing cell phone apps! It's something lots of people do on the side.

  • Dude

    I don’t think Google removing them is necessarily a good idea, but they need to give users a way to bury apps like they can do to posts on sites like Reddit and Digg. Then give everyone a setting where they can automatically hide apps or entire developer accounts if they fall below a certain threshold of downvotes.

    The rating system might work for this, but some people give 1 star just because it won’t run on their particular phone, even if it’s a fine app. Or as a bribe like “1 star until you add feature X”, again, even if the app is fine for what it is. A specific “hide as spammy crap” voting button would be very clear as to how to use it.

  • bob

    someone should be paid to review apps

  • Llies Meridja

    As a startup who is trying to add value to the Android ecosystem hearing this sort of story gives me indication that the Android market is not as mature as the immediate competition (and we all know who this is). As a developer, however, this sort of spamming is not healthy for our industry and Google should do something to eliminate this kind of developers from the market all together.

  • Mickey Lim

    Certainly Google should have a TOS for dev’s and if there is a violation in this scope and magnitude, ALL the dev’s apps should be removed. Violation of TOS is violation of TOS. This guy did not put just a couple bad apps, this was his MO … his business model as demonstrated in the commentary. As such the business itself, is and should be subject to termination.

    IMHO

  • Mark

    Was it necessary to mention that English is not the guy’s first language? Do you want us to read between the lines? Bad form.

  • Jeff

    So douchebag spams the market because he can’t find enough suckers to guy his crappy apps, thus making users even more leary than ever before of buying new apps. Of course, he is the heart of the problem he alleges he is dealing with. What a tool.

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