By Carl Weiss
|Google Chrome Thinks Twitpic is Malware (Photo credit: |
In a recent blog
by ctwatchdog.com, “C.W. of Simsbury said he was stunned in
March when he discovered that his eight year old son ran up more than $7,600 in
four days playing games, free games like Dragonvale and Tiny Tower – games that
encourage children to use real money to purchase virtual objects to make the
games more fun.”
It Was Not Fun
|Apple Store (Photo credit: |
In a televised interview produced by the Australian Broadcast Corporation, Elise Davidson from the consumer group ACCAN states that the wording on some games is confusing. “It’s not really clear that you are spending real money.”
MARK TEXTOR, MD, CROSBY TEXTPR GROUP explains it this way: “They're games, yes, but they're seen to be
addictive games which are monetised, and those three
together spell, well, this is gambling for infants.”
And it’s not game that parents are likely to win, especially when companies like Apple have designed all their devices to work off the same password. Since Apple introduced in-app purchasing, developers have seen a quantum leap in profitability. Consumers on the other hand have been seeing red, since this system has led to a blank check purchasing mechanism that puts a parent at risk of their child making any number of purchases using everything from iPhones, to iPads, iPods and even Apple TV. And while Apple says that parents can enable restrictions on their devices to prevent access to specific features, for many this is seen as too little too late.
I would be remiss if I did not provide you with a list of common apps to avoid or a list of preventative measures you could put in place to prevent such events. To avoid getting gamed, go to this blog on iappkids.com to learn how to disable in-app purchases: http://www.ikidapps.com/2010/12/parents-avoid-accidental-app-purchases-how-to-turn-off-in-app-purchasing.html
Here is my short list of questions and consideration you need to take into account before using or buying any application on the Internet.
- Who built the app? – Research the author and company.
- How long has it been out? – The longer the better.
- How many downloads does it have? –
largenumbers in the thousands are best.
- What is the ratio of good to bad reviews? – You want at least a 70/30 split here.
- What is its overall rating? - I never download an app with less than a 4 rating
- Check the apps permissions setting – If it can access your data it will.
- Only download apps for either the Apple iPhone store or Google Play Store.
- Does Web of Trust flag it as bad, Maybe bad or OK?
- Did you research the app by doing a Google search on it?
- Is the app listed on forensic blog – Current android malware list.
- Do you have an anti malware app running to protect your device?
- Don’t download APK packages; they overwrite or replace files on your device.
In this article I discussed the growing problem of app abuse. I have discussed how this is no longer and android
problem but a smart
device problem. I have discussed how it is tricking our kids into spending our
money. How so called free apps often come with lots of strings attach. How
these strings have hooks that are designed to play on our emotions to buy
things we don’t really want. The notes section on this blog have lots of links
you can use to research this subject. They were collected for the BlogTalk radio
show we did bareing the same name (Getting Gamed). If you liked this article pass it on to your
friends. If you know of a great site that reviews free apps mention it in our
comment box. Spread the word and protect what’s yours.
If you like this article, you can find more by typing in "mobile" in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment sections below. If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," fill out the form below.
Since 1995, Carl Weiss
has been helping clients succeed
online. He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production.
He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win,"
every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.