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  5. Another ripoff Duolingo...

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rhythmixed

Another ripoff Duolingo...

Except this one is under the name "Doulingo".

I was just browsing the App Store today and came across this

It's deceiving for first-time users of Duolingo who haven't downloaded the app yet, and it's also $3

The part that made me laugh though was at the bottom...

Just wanted to let the Duo staff know about this.

It's amazing how many copies of Duo exist out there; I've never seen people copy a single app more than Duolingo.

November 12, 2014

38 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kristinemc

Thanks! We reported this. :/ A huge thanks from the team.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

Ha ha, "doulingo".

But seriously, hopefully Apple will shut this sucker down fast. That's a poor copy anyway, I don't see why anyone would download it and expect it to be Duolingo...at all.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rhythmixed

It is a bad copy, but a lot of people have fallen for it. I was looking at the comments and people were complaining that it only had one language and that it was a bad app. It's also #132 or something on the charts, which is really strange that it's so popular.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

I don't even understand people sometimes....ay yuh.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tariqnisarahmed

would be nice to know if it has been bought in specific countries or regions.

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carrotsand2

I often pronounce duolingo as Dao Ling o

June 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

Are these fake apps an Apple-specific problem? I've never found them in the Google app store.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pont

Neither have I. I can only assume that Google's systems for blocking such abusive applications are a little more sophisticated.

It's not only Apple, though: people have also reported fake Duolingo apps in the Windows app store.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

Strange, eh? I've always heard it said that Google app store is the wild west compared to Apple's, yet it seems to be the other way round.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mangakoibito

if apple's store is bigger then Google's the percentage would be lower but the number of ripoff's would be higher but it doesn't seem like this is the case...

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeIouch

I thought apps had to be approved by Apple before they appear in the App Store?

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pont

Yes, but the approval process is a little (ahem) capricious. This flowchart sums it up.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hellerm

Thats pretty funny! There are a lot of junk apps out there, thats how they get in, I guess! :)

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/writchie4

"Learn languages for free*"

*$2.99

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

This is why I wonder how smart people are sometimes. This is why.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/writchie4

Actually, there's been some research done on this very topic. Basically, scammers tend to make their scams obvious in order to lower their "false positives", which are the only costly parts of the venture.

Researcher Cormac Herley of Microsoft published a paper on this phenomenon with respect to Nigerian email scammers that still say they're from Nigeria. In that case, the goal is to limit their "follow ups" to only the victims that are truly very gullible. In the case of this Duolingo ripoff, the "false positive" is people that would eventually realize it's fake and cause legal problems for the company. In both cases, they're specifically targeting users that are too oblivious to notice the obvious scam. It's evil, but fascinating.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

You are fascinated by oblivion. Help your brothers and sisters. :P

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/superdaisy

Wow, that is fascinating. Hoo boy, people.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anachron

Sorry, but Cormac Herley wrote a paper

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/writchie4

Haha, fair enough. Edited :)

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oleron3

Interesting, writchie4. Do you think part of their scheme to eliminate false positives includes writing in very bad English? I'm not convinced these scammers are as intelligent as Cormac Herley gives them credit for being. This would be amusing if it didn't work as well as it apparently does: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/what-i-learned-from-nigerian-scammers

In the case of the DOUlingo scam, they get more than $2.99. They have your email address, name, and the number of the account or credit card you used to make the payment. In short, a good way to compile a list of "known" gullible people without using the shotgun approach.

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/writchie4

Do you think part of their scheme to eliminate false positives includes writing in very bad English?

In some cases, absolutely. According to this article from a few years ago, 70% of all people that respond to scammers actually end up sending them money. That's an amazingly good ratio, and I'd be absolutely floored if their emails weren't crafted in such a way as to try to maximize it.

That article I linked to gives some insight into how organized these groups can be. Young, intelligent people are brought into the system either willingly or under threats of violence from "mafia-like" bosses that take the lion's share of any profits made, and they justify their actions because they're scared, or because they can't resist the lure of the money (the average monthly salary in Lagos is something like 750 USD). It's a bad situation all around, but their efficiency in sucking money from gullible folks is really something to behold.

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luzdelaluna

Wow, this is totally an oxymoron. "Learn languages for free, only $2.99!"

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/strahinja.1

Talking about oxymoron... Some guy made an app called "I am rich" that did nothing and was 1000$ and 5 people bought it.

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StrapsOption

Really? Were they aware it did nothing?

Oh wow, look at this.

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anachron

You sure it was Apple that made the app? It doesn't seem like a very Apple thing to do.

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StrapsOption

I'm not sure, but according to the video link I posted, they didn't make it - but they did approve it.

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/strahinja.1

My bad, I'm sorry. This guy made it: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--5OSnK8M1--/17ma89gld0ewojpg.jpg . I thought it was Apple because they have this thing going on with an overpriced, underperforming phone so i linked those 2 together.

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carrotsand2

Most of them are from Android, and you know, Android doesn't care about scammers more than Apple do

June 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carrotsand2

One said "I'm richer than Poodiepie and it sold for 1000$!

June 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tariqnisarahmed

The (other) price of freedom... ;)

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JTofSpades01

I noticed it wasn't free either. Like, who made this?

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StrapsOption

Oh, I know. Isn't the CEO Louis von Own or something? I have so many lengots in this, and I've finished my trii!

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/susanstory

I've seen "Doulingo" before and it had Luis Van Ahn's name on the website too, making it seem like it was authentic.

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kernco

Haha, well if it was "Luis Van Ahn" then that's just like "Doulingo", because Duolingo was founded by Luis Von Ahn.

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brycemasterson

LOL this is funny there is oafishly an app for everything

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brycemasterson

duolingo ripoff theres an app for that

January 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carrotsand2

Too bad I haven't seen a language learning app that teaches you sentences but only repeat the words.

June 28, 2019
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