Now, before we enter the breach, I think it bears repeating that MobileCrunch and indeed the rest of the TechCrunch network in no way condone software/application piracy. Developers work too hard for responsible members of the tech community to give them the shaft like that. That said, while cracked iPhone app repositories like apptrackr continue to operate with impunity, we’re surprised to see that the big Android equivalent has been forced to shut down first. Jesusxxx’s Blapkmarket, which provided paid apps free of charge to its users, was just recently shut down by his hosting company.
The justifications for maintaining a collection of pirated apps are many, and they generally seem to address legitimate grievances with the whole app purchase process. Blapkmarket, for example, allowed users to “test” applications outside of the standard 24 hour grace period laid out in the Android Market program policies. Perhaps more importantly, it allowed Android users in other countries to access and use apps that for one reason or another weren’t available in their home markets. Jesusxxx has even gone on record saying that foreign customers “provide[d] the highest number of requests for paid apps” in an interview with Android Guys.
As noble as those intentions may be, there’s no question that each app pirated robbed developers of sweet, sweet revenue. For all the “scrupulous” users that made avail of the service for legitimate reasons (which doesn’t necessarily excuse their actions), there were undoubtedly countless others that just couldn’t be bothered to pay for anything. With Blapkmarket out of picture for now, the big question is whether other shutdowns are on the horizon. Bigger targets are certainly out there, with repos like apptrackr being prime among them. Whether Blapkmarket’s death knell spells doom for more pirated app repositories is unclear, but one thing seems clear: like their big media brethren, app developers are starting to take pirating very seriously.