Photo app Ever removed its spammy SMS feature after Apple banned it

Ever, the photo storage app that we called out in September for spamming SMS contact lists (it rebranded from Everalbum shortly after), has found its way back into Apple’s App Store after getting temporarily banned for its practices. In the last month, it has consistently ranked No. The app’s user interface used a variety of techniques to get users to agree to this invite spam. This included a tricky button that heavily emphasized the option to “get free storage,” which then prompted you to let the app access your contacts). In addition, Ever also sent out a number of different and misleading SMS text messages that implied your friend had given you access to view photos in their album, or threatened a link would expire if you didn’t click it soon. Apple removed the app from its iTunes App Store for its bad behavior — specifically SMS spam and for being misleading. In the new version of Ever, now back on the App Store, the app no longer prompts you to sign up your friends, and it has a much clearer interface for its in-app upgrades: Now, the options for starting a free trial are clearly labeled, and the trial only begins after you enter your TouchID and confirm your commitment to the subscription terms ($11.99/mo after the trial period.) (The new app does appear buggy, though — the album sharing button wasn’t working during tests, for instance.) However, when sharing photos (or presumably, an album), you have to explicitly type in a contact’s name or select from your “recents.” The app doesn’t indicate it’s sending a text on your behalf, but at least only the recipient — and not your entire address book — is being bothered. While Ever may have cleaned up its act, it’s clear that its growth hacking techniques gave it an advantage, given its continued high ranking.

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Score one for the consumer against the indefatigable force of
growth hacking. Ever, the photo
storage app that we called out in September for
spamming SMS contact lists
(it
rebranded
from Everalbum shortly after), has found its way back
into Apple’s App Store after getting temporarily banned for its
practices.

Ever has had a lot of negative feedback — and even a
couple
of
lawsuits
— over how it leads you into sharing your contacts
with it, and then subsequently messaging them with its marketing.
Despite that — or rather, largely due to that — the app has been on
a popularity tear. In the last month, it has consistently ranked
No. 1 or within the top 10 among all Productivity apps in both the
Android and iOS U.S. app stores, according to App Annie
figures.

In Apple’s iTunes App store, however, there’s been a blip: it
disappeared, along with its billing function, used by paying “Plus”
users ($9.99/month) or those who want to purchase physical photo
books (which start at $19.99). From what we understand, this was
squarely down to how it misled users into providing access to their
contacts list and then spamming them to use the app.

According to
a number of consumer complaints
, Ever (then Everalbum) had
duped them into spamming their friends with invites to try the
service. The app’s user interface used a variety of techniques to
get users to agree to this invite spam. This included a tricky
button that heavily emphasized the option to “get free storage,”
which then prompted you to let the app access your contacts). The
following screen would show all your contacts checked by default,
while the option to “Deselect All” was grayed out to make it less
obvious.

img_0035

But it’s unclear whether users were just confused about what
they were agreeing to, or if Ever…

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