Sarafan Mobile is a company that develops photo and video applications for iOS and Android devices. Some of their apps include Boomerang Video Maker, Reely Templates, Oddy Side by Side, Rolly AI Chatbot, and Text on Photo Editor – Fontly. Sarafan Mobile, a Chilean photo application developer, recently made a post on the X platform. The developer made a couple of claims in the post. Founder of Sarafan Mobile, Viktor Seraleev posted on X and lamented the agony his team and their families are facing due to Apple’s action. Seraleev said
With regard to all the claims that Sarafan and its founder Viktor Seraleev made, Apple has responded. Apple said
“Upon further review of the activity associated with your Apple Developer Program membership, we have determined that your membership, or a membership associated with your account, has been used for dishonest or fraudulent activity. Therefore, your Apple Developer Program account has been flagged for removal. If you would like to appeal this termination decision to the App Review Board, you must do so within 30 calendar days.”
Sarafan claims that Apple did not tell it the steps it needs to take to preserve its account. In response, Apple said that the developer had 30 days to file an appeal. For this reason, Sarafan removed all other accounts linked to its main full-time developers account. After removing all linked accounts, Apple said
“We have found a pattern of manipulative or misleading behaviour that has led to the termination of your Apple Developer Program membership. These behaviours can include, but are not limited to, inaccurate metadata describing your app or service, misleading app content, engaging in inauthentic ratings and reviews manipulation, providing misleading customer support responses, providing misleading responses in App Store Connect, engaging in misleading purchasing or bait and switch schemes, or other dishonest or fraudulent activity within or outside of the app.”
Although Apple made claims that Sarafan has “manipulative or misleading behaviour”, the company did not provide any evidence. For this reason, Sarafan is heading to court. Readers can clearly see that for every allegation Sarafan made, Apple had a response. Obviously, Sarafan is not satisfied with Apple’s response hence it is heading to court.
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Copycats and how Apple deals with them
Apple has updated its App Store guidelines to crack down on app clones and copycats. The company now considers impersonating an app a violation of the App Store’s rules. The updated guidelines mention that developers shouldn’t copy the app’s code or user interface. In fact, the apps should not have a similar name to other popular apps. Apple will allow an app with a slightly different name and similar function, but the fight against copycats is between the original developer and the “copycat”. If developers encounter a copycat app, they can report copyright infringement to Apple. Apple’s guidelines aim to prevent the submission of apps that impersonate other apps or services, and the company may remove such apps from the App Store.
After inquiries, it was discovered that a rival had listed a copycat app with the same app icon in the App Store. However, the copycat app only contains ads. The app also placed ads on platforms such as Instagram to attract users to download copycat apps and received a large number of false five-star reviews for both copycat and genuine apps on the iOS platform. This eventually led to the developer account of Sarafan Mobile, the company behind the genuine app, being banned by Apple.
Credibility of Sarafan Mobile and its Founder
Sarafan Mobile is a small developer which has only six apps on the iOS App Store. Though this developer is small, it does not mean that its developer account can just be ceased without appropriate cause. An online search about Sarafan’s founder Viktor Seraleev does not reveal he has any previous manipulative or misleading apps. Since Apple claims that it found manipulative or misleading behaviour in Sarafan’s app and did not give details to the company, they will both meet in court. Perhaps, Apple will be able to provide the relevant proof in court.
The founder of Sarafan Mobile, Viktor Seraleev has hired a lawyer to file a pretrial claim against Apple. This is the stage that Sarafan is at at the moment with regard to the legal option. The company has only hired a lawyer and the lawyer will work on the case. No other information, analysis or deeper investigation into the legal action taken by Sarafan Mobile against Apple can be done now because the company only just hired a lawyer. Sarafan expresses hope that the matter will be resolved through friendly negotiation. The company wants Apple to restore its developer account, unfreeze its funds, $108,878 and provide financial compensation for the trauma.
If you found the article difficult to understand, here is a very short summary. Apple thinks that Sarafan apps have manipulative or misleading behaviour. For this reason, it blocked Sarafan’s developer account with $108,878 in it. Sarafan disagreed with Apple and sent an appeal to Apple. Apple also did not accept the appeal and it upheld the ban. Sarafan had to hire a lawyer who would sue Apple. This is the simple summary of the article and this takes out any issue of bias or being one-sided.
Efe Udin is a seasoned tech writer with over seven years of experience. He covers a wide range of topics in the tech industry from industry politics to mobile phone performance. From mobile phones to tablets, Efe has also kept a keen eye on the latest advancements and trends. He provides insightful analysis and reviews to inform and educate readers.