More on Sleaze: The Dirty Business of Paid iPhone App Reviews

I just got an email from Jon Atherton, creator of the popular iPhone game Wobble iBoobs. I was surprised to hear from him, because our last email exchange ended badly (full transcript below). When I reminded him about our previous exchange, I got the reply shown in the image at top.

Maybe sleaze pays in the short-term (according to Jon he’s making $35K a month), but karma’s a bitch…

Here’s the transcript of my first interaction with Jon:

Hi there,
I’m Jon Atherton of Glentwood, creator Wobble.

I’m developing the new version of Wobble (Wobble 2). In order to promote my new version, I’d like to sell some more copies of the original Wobble and spread the word of our upcoming application.

I’m willing to pay 300$ (USD) if you’ll write an article about Wobble where you’ll mention about an upcoming version (Wobble 2). I’ll be able to pay you right after the article is published and you sent me a link – please include your paypal email

Let me know what you think

Thanks in advance,

Jon Atherton.
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the note. We don’t do paid content, but you’re welcome to advertise your app in our Sponsored Listings program – it will cost you less and probably do more for you…

You can learn more here:


JON: Chris – what about USD$500 ?
ME: Sorry, not something we do.
JON: Chris – i can offer up to USD$500
can be done quickly
let me know
ME: Here’s a link to your developer profile:

Once you’ve claimed your profile (I can help if you tell me what email address you used to register), you can buy top placement in our Entertainment search & browse results here for just $48 / month:
JON: chris
what i want is a review – can be good can be bad i dont care exposure is what i need
usd$500 is fine
can you help ?
ME: No, sorry
stupid prick you dont like money ?
ME: Umm, no – we love money, we just like to make it in ways that are transparent, ethical and fair

We also don’t love to be shouted at, even by prospective customers.

Good luck with the business and thanks for getting in touch,
JON: loser

UPDATE1: Aviel sent me this link – apparently Jon’s reputation precedes him. Note that the objections focus on him not *paying* for the reviews, not the tactic itself

UPDATE2: Check the comment thread for the post from “The Real Jon Atherton”. I’m still confused as to why anyone would do this, but it appears that my email correspondent was *NOT* Jon Atherton but an impostor bearing a serious grudge (or a very twisted sense of humor)??!!