App buyouts often about customer information acquisition, as app users soon discover
How do you turn a 5-star app into a 1-star? Let Facebook acquire the app (or some other major tech or social media company).
That may the lesson behind Moves, the mobile exercise app that was a huge hit in the App Store. Facebook acquired the developer behind the app, ProtoGeo Oy, a Helsinki, Finland company, just over a week ago.
At that time of the acquisition, the reviews from users inside the Apple App Store were overwhelmingly positive.
“Today, we’re delighted to announce that Facebook has acquired our company and the Moves app. Since we launched Moves, we’ve been focused on running a simple and clean activity diary that millions of people have enjoyed using,” the company said on April 24.
“For those of you that use the Moves app – the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.”
That claim, that data would not be shared with Facebook was probably not a wise move. After all, was Facebook buying the company only for its app. Wasn’t the access to the customers why it would be valuable?
It didn’t take long for the new owners to update its privacy language to make it clear that customer information would be monetized.
“To provide and support the services we provide to you, information we collect and receive may be disclosed to third parties in and out of the European Economic Area…” the updated statement now says.
“We may share information, including personally identifying information, with our Affiliates (companies that are part of our corporate groups of companies, including but not limited to Facebook) to help provide, understand, and improve our Services.”
Customers (and the media) noticed.
Today that app reviews are not pretty, but customers need to understand that when they hand over their information to an app, even one they trust, that app may be sold to someone else, something they don’t trust.