Apple removes apps by Genesis from App Store, Ukrainian company says it is normal

On December 12, Apple removed from publication all applications published in the App Store by Genesis Technology Partners.

Genesis is a product company with offices in Kyiv, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria. It develops media outlets, dating sites, AdTech, e-commerce, and also invests in startups. Its most famous products are BetterMe, Kismia, VictoriaBrides, Its founders are Vladimir Mnogoletniy and Vasily Ulyanov. The BetterMe project is handled by Victoria Repa.

The current status of all applications of Genesis Technology Partners

iOS developers revealed the situation to AIN.UA editors. The main attention was drawn to a series of slimming and health applications called BetterMe.

According to SensorTower, in November, these applications cumulatively raised about $4 million on iOS, and the number of downloads exceeded 2 million.

The flagship project, BetterMe: Weight Loss Workout, earned more than $2 million in November and became the sixth largest App Store revenue earner in Health & Fitness category. Earlier, AIN.UA wrote about how the application was among top ranked apps in the App Store.

Currently BetterMe applications are gone – when you click on links from the official website or search results, the App Store informs about “unavailability in this region”.

BetterMe revenue and downloads estimates

It is noteworthy that only the Genesis Technology Partners account got sanctioned by Apple. Three applications of the BetterMe series are also published by the BetterMe Limited account – and they continue to work normally. But they have fewer downloads: according to SensorTower, this publisher earned in the App Store in November about $300,000 with 500,000 new downloads.

In response to a request from AIN.UA, Genesis said that it’s normal for Apple to regularly check large publishers. They did not say when the applications are expected to return to the store:

Genesis has over 15 apps. Right now, only BetterMe applications are being verified. Apple can (and this happens regularly) remove apps from its stores for a number of reasons. This is normal practice in the application development business. Now we are waiting for information from Apple on the status.

What could have happened

Developer David Barnard, who drew attention to the situation with BetterMe, told AIN.UA that before getting an official position, Apple does not see any reason to speculate on the issue. Earlier, he wrote that despite the aggressive promotion of the subscription, BetterMe application is made with high quality.

Other developers have identified several potential problems.

BetterMe Review Statistics

In particular, they note implausible content and ratio of reviews about the application.

In addition, in December 2019, users began to complain more about erroneous charges. BetterMe uses a subscription model, but offers short-term free periods (3–7 days).

The reviews for the application regularly read that the application writes off money at the start of the trial period, and not after its end. Technical support of BetterMe indicates that they do not provide a refund. Only Apple itself can do it. Write-offs reached $129 – $150.

Sources of AIN.UA, who wished to remain anonymous, and who are familiar with the rules of moderation of the App Store, did not give an unambiguous assessment of the situation.

According to them, Apple could remove the application for violating the rules for subscribing or buying fake reviews for manipulation. But since the company has not voiced its motives, it’s too early to definitely talk about it.

One of the developers also said that the situation with instant writing off of a subscription is a common problem. Apple itself is allegedly to blame for it, which for years has ignored the bug.

AIN.UA editors also contacted Apple but did not receive a response.