A Couple iPhone Apps Named "Twitter" Are Tricking Users

tweetnoSo, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but these iPhone app things are a pretty big deal. With the iPhone continuing to sell in record numbers, more and more new users are exploring the App Store everyday to find the apps they want. One of the most popular type of apps are Twitter apps. And the obvious way to find those is to type “Twitter” into the iTunes search box. This query brings up a couple apps called “Twitter.” The only problem? They are in no way official Twitter apps, as the name might imply. And one of them isn’t even actually called that.

Over the past couple of weeks, we must have been pinged a couple dozen times from people pointing this out. Some of those people were unfortunately tricked into buying these apps, which are not free. Looking at the top paid apps list in the social networking area of the App Store, sure enough, both the app called “Twitter” and the one called “Twitter Pro” are top sellers, at #5 and #9 respectively.

Undoubtedly, Twitter, the actual company, would have every right to ask Apple to remove these apps, or force them to change their names. But it would seem they haven’t done that yet. So these apps go right on tricking people, and presumably infringing on Twitter’s name. And that’s too bad.

At least one of these apps doesn’t seem that bad either. I downloaded the one called “Twitter” to test it out. It’s not great, but it’s not half bad either. It’s kind of like a Google Reader for tweets, where you can mark all as read. Still, it’s not on the playing field with the best Twitter apps: Tweetie 2, Echofon (which presumably changed its name from TwitterFon because it didn’t want to make Twitter upset), and Birdfeed.

Just to be clear: The app listed as “Twitter” is actually called “TwitBird.” But not only is it listed as Twitter in the App Store, it’s listed as that when you install it on your iPhone. Humorously, even the TwitBird name will likely raise concerns from another group: Leo Laporte’s TWiT, which has the rights to that name.

Meanwhile, the app known as “Twitter Pro” is really called that, and by all indications seems to be a bad app. For that reason, and the shady naming techniques, I’m not going to link to either of these. But if you want to find them, just do a search in the App Store, both will come up in the immediate results.

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