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Apple kicks prolific developer out of iTunes shop

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Developer Molinker has been kicked out of the iTunes store for posting too many positive reviews, reducing the size of the store by almost one per cent.

Molinker is a Chinese developer who, before the weekend, had more than a thousand applications listed on the iTunes store. Now they have none at all, after an e-mail to Apple's Phil Schiller got the developer suspended from the store without explanation.

Not that a great deal of explanation is needed: many of Molinker's applications were simply photo logs and copycat apps, but you wouldn't have guessed from the reviews, as a reader of iPhoneography pointed out:

42 of 44 US reviews are poorly written & [the reviewers] have only written reviews for either All Molinker photography apps... or the same 2 apps.

The company even managed to get one of its apps on the front page as a Staff Favourite, despite it having 205 5-star reviews, 91 1-star reviews and nothing in between: suggesting that it polarised opinion, to say the least.

iPhoneography's author managed to get a message to Mr. Schiller who got back to him a week later saying "this developer's apps have been removed from the App Store". Sure enough, it's as though the developer never existed.

Another blog, AppFreak, managed to get a statement out of Molinker who claimed bewilderment, and have been trying to get more information out of Apple:

We got email from Apple yesterday [Sunday 6th] which told us our contract is changed to pending status... we do not know what's wrong so far.

The reviews of Molinker's products certainly look suspicious, and it's good to see that Apple is prepared to clear the shelves to such an extent. But it's still slightly worrying that they were able to do so without notifying the company concerned, or offering any opportunity for appeal. ®

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