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According to a report by the Silicon Alley Insider, if you’re looking to hire an iPhone dev, it’s probably best to make sure you do a thorough background check before you do. Some coders have been claiming credit for work they didn’t do, and are using the false accolades to try and wrestle more work from unsuspecting companies and individuals looking to cash in on the App Store phenomenon.
Some of the lies being perpetrated are coming from firms that look otherwise legit. Lots of offshore development companies are cashing in on the trend by providing low-cost alternatives to in-house or domestic U.S. solutions, and some of those are taking serious heat for what appear to be bald-faced lies.
One of the more high-profile apps involved in the scam is TapBots‘ popular iPhone unit conversion application, ConvertBot. ConvertBot’s design and intuitive interface have earned it praise from both the press and iPhone users, and it remains a popular app in its category. According to Ars Technica, TapBots partner Paul Haddad recently received a surprising inquiry from a client about his program:
This prospective client wasn’t looking to hire TapBots for any development work, they were looking for confirmation that a development firm out of India did the coding on ConvertBot, a popular TapBots application. The client had found Trucid, the supposed coders of ConvertBot, on the Rentacoder.com website, a virtual cork board where companies can hang their business cards. Trucid quoted a sum of $2,400 for an application similar to ConvertBot. The only problem? TapBots designs and writes all of its applications entirely in house.
At least the company in this case was smart enough to make some inquiries before going ahead and hiring the coding company making the false claims. Other people might not be so discerning and cautious.
Another developer, Sugar Cube, Inc. operating out of San Francisco, only discovered that others were taking credit for its work when prospective clients noted that they’d already seen the screenshots included in Sugar Cube’s pitch materials in packages from other development firms. Apparently, Sugar Cube had been trying to secure referral relationships with some other firms, and in so doing had sent around a sampler package. Some of these companies were then redistributing the materials as their own.
It’s a disturbing trend, but one to be expected with something like the App Store, which many see as an opportunity to cash in quickly and easily. As the industry matures, expect to see this sort of thing become less and less common, but until then, check and double-check any claims that seem to good to be true.