Ron Adner of Wired on the ostensible pervasive fraud problem plaguing the Apple AppStore:
Fraud problems in the App Store undermine the entire premise. If the dictator gives no protection, the masses rebel. (Note to die-hard Apple loyalists: you are not the masses.)
Nobody disputes that a fraud problem undermines the foundation of the AppStore. The problem with this article is Adner does not enumerate any evidence demonstrating such an issue exists. There is nothing substantiating the claim of major fraud.
All Adner does is link to a New York Times article discussing this very topic. I found the following passage fairly interesting:
The scale of the problem is difficult to gauge without Apple’s cooperation, though there is widespread anecdotal evidence, even on Apple’s own site. On one Apple support forum, a thread titled “iTunes store account hacked,” there are some 1,370 replies, starting in November 2010 and extending to Thursday. Last week, more than 100 people on Twitter who said they were iTunes users complained about stolen funds.
There is an Apple support forum thread with almost 1400 posts. For a moment, let us assume all 1400 people are complaining about AppStore fraud perpetrated on their accounts.
Now let us assume – because, you see, the NY Times is playing loose with the details so I will too – that there are only 26 million iOS devices (3 million “new” iPad’s sold opening weekend + (16 million iPhone’s + 7 million iPad’s sold last quarter)) roaming the planet. Let’s say 50% of those sales – 13 million – are tied to a single iTunes account (I honestly have no idea how many iTunes accounts are in existence, and I highly doubt the NY Times does either).
Disclaimer: I pulled these numbers out of my ass. The NY Times pulled their “facts” out of their ass. I think we are on even ground.
So what does this mean for the ostensible claim of pervasive AppStore fraud? It means 0.01% of iTunes account holders are experiencing AppStore fraud.
There is no major fraud taking place in the AppStore, regardless of what the NY Times’ sensationalist article would have you believe. There may very well be a certain contingent of customers who are experiencing iTunes account-related fraudulent purchases. No widespread issues has been identified to-date.
While fraud – even a single case – is absolutely an issue, it is nowhere near as far-reaching as the NY Times and Wired would have you believe. Unfortunately that never makes for an interesting story. Rather than tell the truth, these narratives were designed to tell the story their authors wanted to present. In other words, they were manufactured for pageviews.