1. 8
  1. 7

    What I’m most surprised about (but probably shouldn’t be) is that they got away with blatantly cloaking the app’s behavior from the review process. An app that violates Apple policy usually just results in the app being rejected or removed from the App Store. But one that cloaks its behavior so it behaves differently when it thinks it’s being reviewed (e.g. it detects it’s in Cupertino) is explicitly listed in the ToC as something that will cause your account to be permanently banned, not just the app suspended.

    From the review guidelines:

    If you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal user data, copy another developer’s work, or manipulate ratings) your apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the Developer Program.

    Obviously that didn’t happen to Uber though.

    1. 11

      Nice to see the iOS App Store is already replicating the justice system with two tiers of justice: monied/well-known, and everyone else.

      Other examples of this: Facebook’s battery-hogging exploits (such as keeping the mic on) to prevent it from being shutdown. This behavior is actively and intentionally user-hostile, and also represents a serious privacy violation. They should have been punished far more severely than a couple of angry articles in the techie press.

      The message is clear: however you get users is fair game. Users might be a bit mad, but the tech press will not punish you over the long term. They’ll run a hit piece or two, then forget the whole thing ever happened.

      1. 2

        At the time, regardless of whatever statements Apple might’ve made, the backlash from Uber being pulled would’ve been directed at them, and not at Uber for doing shady things.

        1. 2

          That’s probably true, yeah. To be honest, I don’t think Apple would ban Uber’s Apple developer account even if this had happened today instead of years ago. But with the bad string of press Uber has had, Apple would at least have an easier time justifying it if they did.

      2. 5

        Not to worry though, management at unroll is all torn up inside.


        Our users are the heart of our company and service. So it was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service.

        What becomes of the broken hearted?

        1. 3

          What becomes of the broken hearted?

          They end up in a special kind of hell with Jon Bon Jovi singing “It’s my life” to them on repeat.

          1. 1

            Not to sound like too much of a d*ck, but…

            Signing up for a free service without reading the legalese, especially in 2017, is the intersection of Faustian, retard and naïve.

            Not to justify, but there are two sides, is all.

            1. 5

              Forget the legalese.

              From the HN thread we learn these little tidbits:

              From https://unrollme.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200243036-If-I-delete-my-Unroll-Me-account-what-will-happen-to-all-of-my-previously-rolled-up-emails-

              we don’t store any of your emails on our servers. Since we access them via IMAP, they’re stored safely in your email client.

              But then hold on…

              From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14180463

              they had kept a copy of every single email of yours that you sent or received while a part of their service. Those emails were kept in a series of poorly secured S3 buckets. A large part of Slice buying unroll.me was for access to those email archives

              If their plain-english FAQ flat out lies about their practices, what point is there to reading the fine print?

              1. 2

                Hope this leads to a lawsuit.

              2. [Comment from banned user removed]

                1. 1

                  I wish we could measure that promise somehow, but I might also be special that way.

                  Another way of thinking about this is that a well-clad character emerges from an alley and cheerily offers you drugs, he may even explain the chemical compound to you. Do you take it, assuming it’s safe, or walk away because you don’t understand chemistry?

                  I’m sure that analogy can be deconstructed and shat upon, but the point remains that people are doing things they don’t understand, which is usually considered a bad thing.

                  (Of course the company choice of words is hilarious as well. This is why my faith in humanity is faltering.)

                  PS. At least we have the legalese

                  1. 3

                    I don’t buy the idea that anyone can stay away from things they don’t understand. I know two serious polymaths - both incredibly smart and knowledgeable. Both still have to rely on other people’s expertise to lead their lives.

                    1. 1

                      What would an expert, say, a lawyer or friendly startup guy, answer if asked “Should I join this free service?”

                      Depends, but I’m sure it’s more often No! than not.

                      Maybe the problem is people don’t consult experts?

                      1. 1

                        Perhaps because the experts constantly say No!

                        After all, everyone else is using free stuff to no apparent detriment…

                2. 2

                  I agree users could (should) have smelled the scam coming, but I’m amused the company reaction to users upset at their scamminess is to be slightly less obtuse about it. As opposed to, I don’t know, being less scammy.

              3. 2

                Uber either found a way to access UDIDs surreptitiously, or created some other way of uniquely identifying devices even after they’ve been wiped.

                While an iPhone’s IDFA (IDentifier For Advertising) wouldn’t survive after a wipe, it could be paired with other metadata to keep track of the same device within a reasonable amount of doubt. At an older company we did exactly that.

                Edit: An iPhone’s IDFA is distinct from it’s UDID, and it is what advertisers were told to use after they were banned from using a device’s UDID in 2012.