Make sure the Purell is close by for this one because you might want to wash up after you read it.
Some app developers resort to dirty user acquisition and monetization tactics. These are unethical practices -- I would label them as scams. Like any sector of industry, there are unethical players looking to make a quick and easy dollar and the app economy is no different.
Every mobile app publisher has a different strategy for generating revenue from the app stores but some revert to scamming. Why? Because it's easy to do and people love easy money. It's all based on trickery and deceit.
Here's how they do it and how you can avoid being a victim:
1. Downloading deception.
Apple and Google do good job of removing fake apps but it doesn't stop the flow of them entering into the marketplace. Fake apps are laden with advertisements and ask for unnecessary permissions.
Chances are good that the app has poor reviews or ratings, so make sure to check those as well. While the app will likely have an indecipherable logo from the one you're aiming to download, the spelling is likely different.
As an example, during last holiday season, someone created an app named 'Wal Mart' and another named 'Wallmart.' The real company and app's name is 'Walmart.'
Make sure you know exact spellings. Read the reviews. Downloading the wrong app wastes your time and opens you up to accidentally giving it permission to your data and other nefarious actions.
2. Free trials that aren't free.
This is a sneaky monetization tactic based on tricky wording. Make sure to read all print carefully and take it at face value.
Tricky wording can lead you to be paying for something you thought was free. A sentence such as "Seven day free trial for $9.99" catches some people off guard.
What's worse is that this can turn into a recurring subscription even if there really is a free trial. Read every word and make sure you understand what you're signing up for.
3. All your data are belong to us.
Some developers want to make money from your data. Don't just click allow when questions pop up, not every app wants to access your location or your camera.
Some are accessing your personal data or your contacts. Your data will be sold and your contacts will be spammed. The hope is that some of your contacts download the app and the developer can generate revenue from from their data and/or through advertising to them.
Serious app entrepreneurs, or 'appreneurs' if you will, should avoid growth hacking with the above means. There are plenty of legitimate user acquisition and monetization tactics for your app that will help your app grow. The most important thing is having a product or service worthy of the growth.