Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yahoo! Porn comes to the iPhone! (OK, maybe not)

You would be forgiven for thinking the apps pictured here are fake, merely mock ups of what some porn apps would look like on the iPhone. But you'be be wrong. These are real apps, part of a portfolio of apps from Boris Kreynin that now total 100 for the iPhone and 33 for the iPad.
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While many publishers complain about the process of getting their apps approved, and others wonder if Apple is playing games with their tablet editions, other developers are apparently able to get away with just about anything.

Now if you think good ol' Boris has brought pornography to the iPhone you'd be wrong, of course. No such luck.

Working under the name "www.yablosoft.com", Boris Kreynin has been launching paid apps at a quick pace. All of them are of, well, dubious value -- but Apple apparently doesn't seem to mind in the least.

Take, for instance, his Kama Sutra app. For $7.99 in the US App Store you can install an app that is written in German. Not surprisingly what few reviews that exist are all one-star. The picture used for the logo and the one and only screenshot is obvious stock photography of an attractive young lady dressed in business attire. Pretty tame.

(By the way, "Kama Sutra" was his follow-up app to Super Kamasutra. "Super" was apparently less "super" because it cost $3 less.)

But now the new apps use more provocative shots for the logo and screenshot -- and always the same shot for both so that the buyer has no idea what they are getting. Girls of the Golden West screams out "Adult +21 ONLY!!" The app was released yesterday and already has 16 five-star reviews -- amazing. But . . . one review shows up as a one-star judgement and warns that not a single picture is included in the app:

If you're looking for erotic photos, you're out of luck. However, if you'd like to purchase a horribly written, sexless novella that's in the public domain, well this is your lucky day.

I wasn't happy with this App. But the 20 friends, family and employees of the Developer who rated this POS sure were.
So why is Apple giving publishers a hard time, but letting in developers who are pulling obvious games on its customers?

The answer probably lies in two areas: 1) all these apps are under the "Entertainment" category where a lot of strange stuff shows up. Without actual nudity these apps may be flying under the radar of Apple's otherwise prudish censors; 2) Apple continues to fumble its media partner relations, they don't seem to understand the publishing game and seem to be separating out business development (strategic partnerships) from the app store. That is, business development is limited to the creation of new products like the Apple TV, while in the real world of media, all the activity is actually occurring inside the App Store.

If the publishing trade associations were of any value -- and they are not -- they would have long ago been engaging with Apple (and Google) and providing a benefit to their members. But publishers are pretty much on their own, and at a disadvantage.

I sense that Apple will once again do a Spring cleaning of the App Store. This will clear out a lot of junk and more than a few rip-offs -- just as it did this February. But until it improves the quality and judgement of its app teams we're still going to have these issues. Chalk it up to a long adolescence at the Apple App Stores.

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