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TechCrunch article on a scammer who uses Gamesalad templates and more

8BitAvrin8BitAvrin Posts: 361Member, PRO
edited February 2014 in Miscellaneous
«1

Comments

  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Posts: 970Member
    It really is sad that Apple didn't take steps to remove this app or deal with it in some manner. They are essentially telling people its ok to bribe us with money to get your app into a top spot. Why not just promote it outright then? For just $20,000, you too can have your app featured in a top spot!
  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    Just as an FYI, GameSalad's servers are getting SLAMMED right now due to this article, and our Twitter feed is getting tons of mentions that are all RT's of that article.

    One thing I'm doing to help combat the perception that GameSalad is just about $10 templates and trying to game the App Store is to tweet out videos of awesome GS games using the hashtags #ThisIsGameSalad and #GameSalad.

    Feel free to join me and help educate our fellow netizens about what the GS community is really about!

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    With respect, one thing you can actively do to combat the perception is to stop the person(s) doing this from publishing with your software while you investigate the allegations against them.

    It's that simple.

    QS

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,764Member
    @dgackey

    I don't actually have twitter and my game "Steam Jack" is not available yet but you can twit it out if you like there are videos in thread. it's a work in progress but basically done just spending time looking for bugs while waiting on some Tizen incentives,lol.

    http://forums.gamesalad.com/discussion/61180/my-game-steam-jack-wip
  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Posts: 970Member
    @quantumsheep Agree 100%. If Mateen could no longer publish with GS his scams would become far harder to do. He may even have to learn real coding :O
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member

    @quantumsheep Agree 100%. If Mateen could no longer publish with GS his scams would become far harder to do. He may even have to learn real coding :O

    It would be one less channel to operate his scams through, would deter *others* from trying the same, and would disassociate GS from behaviour of this nature.

    Win. Win. Win.

    QS

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • tatiangtatiang Posts: 11,796Member, Sous Chef, PRO, Senior Sous-Chef
    edited February 2014
    I also reported him to Apple about a week ago and was told they were looking into it.

    I see the TechCrunch article linked to several of my posts.

    New to GameSalad? (FAQs)   |   Tutorials   |   Templates   |   Greenleaf Games   |   Educator & Certified GameSalad User

  • DeadlySeriousMediaDeadlySeriousMedia ArizonaPosts: 838Member
    I figured it was a bot scam. I hope everyone gets their refunds and he is at a net loos by the time apple goes to payout.
  • ChakkuChakku Posts: 1,513Member

    With respect, one thing you can actively do to combat the perception is to stop the person(s) doing this from publishing with your software while you investigate the allegations against them.

    It's that simple.

    QS

    This. +1
    Ban not just his account, but his IP too. Investigate @talo too, there is some very compelling evidence he's one of Mateen's many pseudonyms.

    Chakku
  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,764Member
    @dgackey

    How much did that user database increase from say a month ago, if you can say.
  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    @BBEnk I'm not sure TBH, would have to dig it up.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    QS,

    Thanks for the reply, and no worries on the bile. I get it; you're passionate about this, and that's what we want from our dev community. But you yourself have pointed out that you know this guy isn't violating our TOS.

    IMO, the EULA passage you posted is all about denial of service and has no applicability in this case. I truly do not understand how his games have anything to do with yours or how he harms your ability to make your games, publish and market them. If he was surreptitiously hacking the server and stealing assets from other users that would be another matter entirely.

    Is his game drawing an undesirable association between GS and "$10 templates"? Sure! And that's why I'd love to spend what little surplus energy I have focusing on the awesome stuff you and others have done as opposed to trying to find a justifiable way to ban one of the many aliases this guy uses until he makes another.

    I'm also unclear about how he "scammed" people into giving him money on the App Store. Seriously -- I get the fact that he gamed the rankings, but scamming users out of money would be putting up screenshots and a description that did not correlate to what was actually in the game (and remember, Apple approved the game, which means it passed all of Apple's requirements).

    What you are really saying is it's unfair that he got people to think his game was incredibly popular for some reason, when it wasn't. Explain to me how this is a crime?

    It's not. It's just poor judgment. All around.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • app_sauceapp_sauce Posts: 206Member, PRO
    Maybe I believe that people aren't generally bad or trying to scam people, or maybe I just dislike journalists jumping conclusions for a story. Especially when that story fits another popular narrative in the media at the moment (flappy success). So, what did this scammer do that we know for certain?

    1)Used a template, check.. Granted he didn't show much artistic creativity (used art from template). However, he created new levels using the template.

    2) Had a couple weeks (or less) of great sales. Now, here is the grey area. How did he acquire those sales? Was he using tactics that other top apps use? Or some that are shadier (i.e using networks of itunes accounts)??? I don't think anyone but apple knows at this point. By the way the author doesn't get into this, most of the top apps in the appstore or google play store have huge budgets (tens to hundreds of thousands, even millions in the cases of candy crush) for user acquisition. Also, there used to be incentivized download walls. I think android apps still have them (apple doesn't allow them). Some developers make their paid apps free and then when they get more popular jack the price up. Others spend tons of money advertising in ad networks like chartboost and revmob. No matter how you look at the industry it is a stacked deck of cards giving a huge advantage to those with money to acquire downloads. I just hope we aren't drowning the success of a fellow small fish that got a little lucky when the big whales are swimming freely.

    SocializeTwitter , **My Site ** **Play Loop Zen Free **iOS HERE, Google Play HERE

  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Posts: 970Member
    @quantumsheep Lol I figured you would come in with a solid argument for the matter.

    All I really question is, you guys don't have a search method to find a user in your database? You have a few of the names he uses. You couldn't just search for those ones, ban those accounts, ban his IP, and use his IP to track his other accounts and ban them as well?

    I've run a forum before, although small, but it had very simple methods of banning users and their IPs. I highly doubt it would require more than 15 minutes of one person and not the entire GS team to do this. Don't you guys have people that aren't working on 0.11 and that just monitor forums similar to SSS? That seems like a simple task for someone in that position.

    "But the thing is, again, this has nothing to do with GameSalad. "

    If it didn't, why would you be doing damage control on twitter with the #GameSalad and #ThisIsGamesalad hashtags? If Apptopia took steps to deal with him to save face, wouldn't it be in your best interest as well?
  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee


    Translation: Welcome, criminals! We won't raise a finger to stop you. Step on in, templates to the right, IAP and ads to the left, publishing straight ahead.

    That's a heck of a rhetorical leap.

    We pull templates that are broken/empty/IP violations, follow DMCA requests and absolutely ban forum users who are violating the rules of discourse we've established. Anyone we catch trying to hack our servers or deny paying customers services they've paid for, of course we would ban them.

    So no, I don't agree with your translation.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    edited February 2014
    @dgackey

    You want to change the perception of GS - you want to stop this from happening again and again and again?

    *Change* your TOS. Include a clause that stops people doing this. It's something you couldn't have foreseen when writing them, so adapt and change them and ban his ****.

    Otherwise it WILL happen again.

    His original description boasted '100 levels' - there were only 30. Scam.

    Trying to sell an app on Apptopia for 500k (the original sum) insinuating that it could legitimately get into the top 10 and earn the purchaser thousands - scam.

    "What you are really saying is it's unfair that he got people to think his game was incredibly popular for some reason, when it wasn't. Explain to me how this is a crime?

    It's not. It's just poor judgment. All around."

    No, what I'm REALLY saying is that this guy GAMED the system and profited from it. He is financially rewarded for cheating the system.

    Now, the system is not your concern. But the tool to game the system is your software. The most heinous act of poor judgement here would be to do nothing about this.

    Because then you are inviting other unscrupulous characters to come in and use your software in the same way. Who's going to stop them? Certainly not GS itself.

    The world is looking in and it is seeing a company not willing to make a stand.

    Apple and google made a stand against flappy bird clones. Apptopia saw what was happening and made a stand against this individual.

    Your community is speaking to you. The majority, I would hope, do not want to be associated with this kind of thing. We do not want this guy around casting a shadow over everything we achieve.

    But I can see I'm not going to convince you. Well done. You get to keep a scammer, and once I've finished my game, I will be seriously considering whether I want to make any more games with GS.

    Because this guy is laughing at all of us, all the way to the bank.

    Melodramatic, sure. But also, right now, it's the truth. Because I'm angry you won't do anything. And I never get angry.



    Look, I'm sorry. I'm looking forward to what the GS team come up with. I know you're low on resources, and you're doing a great job. GS is awesome software, it really is, and will only get better.

    But you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, right?

    QS =(

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee


    "But the thing is, again, this has nothing to do with GameSalad. "

    If it didn't, why would you be doing damage control on twitter with the #GameSalad and #ThisIsGamesalad hashtags? If Apptopia took steps to deal with him to save face, wouldn't it be in your best interest as well?

    Poor choice of words if we're going to get semantic, but what I meant was that his actions are completely independent from the day to day operations of GameSalad in this case.

    Saying I'm doing damage control implies that we have some culpability for what he's done, which is not the case, nor does the article imply. As I posted above, it's more an issue of brand association. I would prefer our brand be associated more with quality games than games like Mateen's, but the reality is that we are getting a tremendous amount of traffic as a result of this story, and we want people who have never heard of GameSalad to see all the great stuff our users have built.

    This is like someone using a hammer to trash an expensive painting and expecting the manufacturer of the hammer to take swift action before it negatively impacts all the carpenters around the world who use the same brand of hammer.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Posts: 970Member
    @dgackey You guys can of course do whatever you want.

    As far as I can tell @quantumsheep and myself are just suggesting you take steps to stop this current perpetrator and make an example of him so you don't end up with a plethora of other abusers. If you don't want GS associated with these kinds of actions, the lack of action provides him and future scammers a revolving door and it will end with GS being entirely associated to these kinds of action.

    You aren't sure what he has done? I suggest you simply Google Mateen's name. There are a slew of forums talking about him and his scams. Some of the ones I read said that he was taking GS templates and reselling them to people. There are plenty of scam complaints from people centered around him.

    You guys do as you wish, but really this guy is harming the image of your software and all games produced with it. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't allow someone like him to tarnish the name of my software. To each his own.
  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee

    @dgackey

    You want to change the perception of GS - you want to stop this from happening again and again and again?

    *Change* your TOS. Include a clause that stops people doing this. It's something you couldn't have foreseen when writing them, so adapt and change them and ban his ****.

    Otherwise it WILL happen again.

    Okay, this is something we can talk about. What would you propose we add to our TOS? I am legitimately curious how you would devise language forbidding someone from publishing a game using assets they acquired legally and had full rights to use. Who would make the determination of violation? What would the due process entail? Who would make the final assessment of guilt or innocence? Would there be an appeal process?

    What if someone accused you of "gaming the system" and you couldn't prove that you didn't? Would you consent to showing us all your financial records? Would that be enough?


    His original description boasted '100 levels' - there were only 30. Scam.

    And if true, Apple should have pulled it immediately (or never approved it in the first place). Not our domain, but it's a fair point. Also not sure how we police this, but moving on.


    Trying to sell an app on Apptopia for 500k (the original sum) insinuating that it could legitimately get into the top 10 and earn the purchaser thousands - scam.

    No, it's a bad deal. And nobody bit on it because they knew it was a bad deal. But again, even if someone had, this has ZERO to do with GameSalad! We can't police transactions that take place on Apptopia!


    "What you are really saying is it's unfair that he got people to think his game was incredibly popular for some reason, when it wasn't. Explain to me how this is a crime?

    It's not. It's just poor judgment. All around."

    No, what I'm REALLY saying is that this guy GAMED the system and profited from it. He is financially rewarded for cheating the system.

    You're correct! He absolutely did, and I said as much from the first post. But you're asking me to inflict punitive damages on someone because he did something you feel it's unfair. And that's just not a precedent that we should set.


    Now, the system is not your concern. But the tool to game the system is your software. The most heinous act of poor judgement here would be to do nothing about this.

    I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree. We don't encourage or support this kind of action, obviously. We don't care for it. There is nothing we love more than devs making awesome games with our tools and being able to support their families doing so. But the role you're asking us to play is actually what Apple and Google Play get paid for. Curating, screening, evaluating content? That's not our role.


    Because then you are inviting other unscrupulous characters to come in and use your software in the same way. Who's going to stop them? Certainly not GS itself.

    You're projecting your own moral judgments on the activities of our users. I'm not comfortable with that and cannot use that as a criteria for interfering with the products our users create.

    As a thought exercise, imagine that one of our users created a game encouraging an Islamic Revolution, and it inexplicably becomes a viral hit in America. Many people suspected it had "gamed the charts" in some way. Many of our users find the content objectionable and demand we ban the user who created it.

    Do we take action and ban the user? You may find this example absurd, but I assure you it's not.


    The world is looking in and it is seeing a company not willing to make a stand.

    On the contrary! I'm taking a stand right now, because I understand that you are all genuinely upset by this and I am explaining why summarily banning this user is not good policy. If I wasn't taking a stand, I'd ignore this entirely. I assure you I don't enjoy telling you guys this, but I do feel it's the right stance to take.


    Apple and google made a stand against flappy bird clones. Apptopia saw what was happening and made a stand against this individual.

    First of all, Flappy Bird has nothing whatsoever to do with Mateen and his apps, but:

    - Apple and Google are rejecting new apps that use the word Flappy in an attempt to game their search algorithms.
    - You will note that they have had no problem with games that are essentially Flappy Bird, mechanic-wise, but are sufficiently different
    - Finally, both Apple and Google APPROVED Red Bouncing Ball, so I am unclear what your point is here.
    - I don't know much about Apptopia but a cursory examination of their site indicates that they broker deals between buyers and sellers of templates and game IP. It make 100% sense that if someone was conducting fraudulent business on their site, they would take action, because they make money from that! They are liable.

    Now, if Mateen has fraudulently used the GameSalad marketplace to cheat buyers out of their money in the past, he should have been banned. And if someone has evidence of this, I'd like to hear from them. But one doesn't have anything to do with the other.


    Your community is speaking to you. The majority, I would hope, do not want to be associated with this kind of thing. We do not want this guy around casting a shadow over everything we achieve.

    Nor do we, which is why we are more interested in promoting the positives.


    But I can see I'm not going to convince you. Well done. You get to keep a scammer, and once I've finished my game, I will be seriously considering whether I want to make any more games with GS.

    I'm sorry you feel that way and it would certainly be a loss to the community, but it's a decision you will have to make based on the principles you value.

    One of the most important to me is that we protect our users' rights to create whatever they want so long as they don't violate the law or our TOS, deny fellow customers the ability to use the service they've paid for, etc.

    This doesn't make you feel any better, and I'm sorry for that, but it's the right thing to do for the entire user community.


    Because this guy is laughing at all of us, all the way to the bank.

    Melodramatic, sure. But also, right now, it's the truth. Because I'm angry you won't do anything. And I never get angry.

    Again, I understand your frustration. You're angry. He doesn't deserve to have made that much money. And I totally agree with you. But fairness doesn't really enter into the discussion. If he violated TOS or broke the law, he'll be dealt with appropriately. But that's how it's got to be handled.


    Look, I'm sorry. I'm looking forward to what the GS team come up with. I know you're low on resources, and you're doing a great job. GS is awesome software, it really is, and will only get better.

    But you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, right?

    I appreciate that, and yes, I do! I am choosing to protect the rights of all our users to develop and run their businesses as they see fit so long as they do not violate our rules or deny you the ability to run yours.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee

    @dgackey You guys can of course do whatever you want.

    As far as I can tell @quantumsheep and myself are just suggesting you take steps to stop this current perpetrator and make an example of him so you don't end up with a plethora of other abusers. If you don't want GS associated with these kinds of actions, the lack of action provides him and future scammers a revolving door and it will end with GS being entirely associated to these kinds of action.

    You aren't sure what he has done? I suggest you simply Google Mateen's name. There are a slew of forums talking about him and his scams. Some of the ones I read said that he was taking GS templates and reselling them to people. There are plenty of scam complaints from people centered around him.

    You guys do as you wish, but really this guy is harming the image of your software and all games produced with it. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't allow someone like him to tarnish the name of my software. To each his own.

    I've read plenty of articles about the guy. Will I be inviting him to our company picnic? No. But you're asking me to cut someone off because of their Google search results (hearsay) and the fact that he figured out a way to game the App store's rankings (distasteful, but probably legal).

    I know you guys see this issue as black and white, but the implications of doing what you ask are far-ranging, would involve lawyers and legal fees and massive distraction from what we are trying to do to help you make better games.

    I've already spent several hours discussing this that I needed to focus on other things but I wanted you to understand where I'm coming from, that I'm not ignoring this issue, and why I feel we can't take the action you are requesting.

    Again, I'll say it clearly: if anyone was defrauded by this person as a result of a GameSalad marketplace transaction, or has evidence of him tampering with the GameSalad service, please let me know and we will investigate.

    Dan

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • DeadlySeriousMediaDeadlySeriousMedia ArizonaPosts: 838Member
    @dgackey well put.
  • ChakkuChakku Posts: 1,513Member
    edited February 2014
    @dgackey
    Isn't the fact that he's scammed many many people here (and those people have proof) enough to ban his IP? Wouldn't banning his IP prevent him from making more accounts? Sure, he could go to his friend's house, but we'd catch on and ban that IP too. But how many friends could he possibly have...

    Chakku
  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Posts: 970Member
    edited February 2014
    Here: http://iphonedevsdk.com/forum/shameless-advertising/99740-warning-mateen-apps-reza-pekan.html

    I'm not saying you have to permanently ban him. I'm not saying you have to do anything. We are just SUGGESTING you investigate the matter. That forum is one of many where his scams have some light shed on them. I'm not saying it is enough to "convict" him, but it surely should be enough to temporarily ban his account while it is investigated is it not?

    You do realize your TOS states you grant us a license to use the software. A license you can revoke at your discretion.

    As for an addition to the TOS, ask a lawyer, but I would assume something along the lines of you retaining the right, to limit and or ban users while they are investigated for using Gamesalad in scams or other illegal activity. If it isn't in there already. That forum above, people are pointing out his scams using Gamesalad software. It would make plenty of sense that he be banned atleast temporarily for using Gamesalad for illegal means.

    What I would question, is why so many people come out of the wood-works to claim this guy is scamming if he wasn't in fact scamming. None of what I am talking about pertains to anything involving his likely gaming of the App store. That is beside the point. He is frequently using your software to con people. Plain and simple.
  • ChakkuChakku Posts: 1,513Member


    You do realize your TOS states you grant us a license to use the software. A license you can revoke at your discretion.

    As for an addition to the TOS, ask a lawyer, but I would assume something along the lines of you retaining the right, to limit and or ban users while they are investigated for using Gamesalad in scams or other illegal activity... He is frequently using your software to con people. Plain and simple.

    Excellent Point. @FallacyStudios

    +1

    Chakku
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    edited February 2014
    Here, put this in your TOS - straight from Apple's app store review guidelines:

    https://developer.apple.com/appstore/resources/approval/guidelines.html

    "If you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal data from users, copy another developer's work, or manipulate the ratings) your Apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the developer program."

    As @fallacystudios suggests, suspicion of this would be enough. For example, coming on here, boasting and telling everyone to 'watch the top of the charts'.

    Honestly, this is common sense stuff. I'm deeply, deeply disappointed in your reaction to this.

    And with that, I'm done.

    Edit: Also - ty for taking the time to respond. While I fundamentally disagree with a lot of what you're saying/suggesting and your arguments for that, I do appreciate you actually responding.

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • GameLabs222GameLabs222 Posts: 197Member
    edited February 2014
    tatiang said:

    I also reported him to Apple about a week ago and was told they were looking into it.

    I reported him as well and they sent me a link to their terms of service agreement. Go figure.

    I originally thought GameSalad would get a bad rep for this, but after consideration of the situation, imagining looking in to the company for the first time because of hearing about his scam on news sites, to me would signify that it is unusual and would have happened regardless of GameSalad's existence.

    Him gaming the top charts has nothing to do with GameSalad, its quality, or the way it streamlines making games. The template is for sale to teach or to build off of with your own assets and tweaks to gameplay. He could have bought an app elsewhere.

    I also don't see how GameSalad should at all be involved in anything except for his forum scamming when he tried to sell other people's templates. To me that would constitute a GS IP ban. But then again, IP banning is really just a gesture towards your image and integrity as a company. There are easy ways of changing your IP to get around it and wouldn't really do anything.

    People just need to concentrate on building games and stop worrying about your image being affected by someone who has nothing to do with you and your products. Because it's apparent to everyone that you had nothing to do with it. As for justice the ball is clearly in Apple's court.

    My two cents about sales boosting: As previously mentioned by @dgackey , big developers probably/possibly already use the same method for gaming the app store rankings. Apple may be walking on egg shells here to due to the fact that they've possibly allowed it for so long and for certain people/companies. I'm not saying I wouldn't love to see all those who game the charts to come crashing down, but if this is an 'insider' secret if you will, then they may just fade it out into the background.

    If it is going on on a wider scale than we know, and if they really did decide to do anything about it, they would probably cease everyone's sales boosting at once behind the scenes without removing apps or really saying anything to the public. If this were the case, the top charts could look different very soon for a lot of apps.

    But don't expect them to acknowledge anything. That would most likely just end in bad rep for Apple.
  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,764Member
    This guy as had more top 10 games in two weeks then most in a year, and Man this game "Go Go Ball" that just reached the top 10 looks "AWESOME",lol.
  • DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member
    edited February 2014
    This is a screenshot from the top chart (payed games) 3-4 days ago.
    Im sure you recognize the name right?

    image

    Same top chart today (free games)

    image
This discussion has been closed.