The one time internet giant AOL, which has been declining over the past few years, has been trying desperately to bring readers from other sites to their media properties like TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Patch and other blogs and online content. With some of the more notable websites in the tech community, AOL has always seemed to be very supportive of intellectual property.
In fact, as recent as last week, we published a story about AOL considering licensing patents rather than suing over them. A move to not further clog the arteries of our already busy patent court system.
You would think that AOL, TechCrunch and Crunchbase would be very protective of not just their intellectual property but also the intellectual property of those businesses and members of the community that they serve. You would also think that TechCrunch, Crunchbase and AOL would be protective and supportive of Android developer’s, especially those who have premium apps in the Google Play Store.
More after the break
Most would probably be amazed then, to find out that Crunchbase has allowed profile entries for a company called Steal Apps. Now anyone can create a Crunchbase profile however we know that Crunchbase manually approves all of their submissions into the Crunchbase database, a database of startups and tech companies that since Mike Arrington’s days, has stood as the industry standard directory for startups, entrepreneurs and tech professionals.
Not only are Crunchbase entries manually reviewed, every subsequent entry is reviewed as well and Steal Apps has at least five entries including the business itself, It’s CEO , Mottled Tan, it’s Chief Advisor; Rohit Moku, it’s technical head Jagjeet Singh, and Marketing Head; Rishikesh Chavan. That’s five opportunities for TechCrunch’s Crunchbase administrators, Vineet Thanedar, and Anthony Nguyen to at least check into what a company called Steal Apps is doing.
Steal Apps does exactly what the name implies, they post premium app apks to their site for downloading at no charge for registered users. There are three registration types available Standard $10 for 3 months, Pro $15 for six months and Maxx $25 for a year. So not only are they stealing a developer’s apps but they are profiting off it as well.
While there are plenty of $.99 and $3.99 apps in the Steal Apps Store there are some as high as $59.95 (Merriam-Webster’s unabridged dictionary). It’s not just small developers either, the pro versions of Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99), Documents to go ($14.99) and Pocketcloud ($14.99) are all in there as well. Some of those apps are published by companies that AOL and TechCrunch have long substantial relationships with. We browsed just 30 of their over 500 available apps for a total value of $374.22.
Sure $374.22 may not sound like a lot of money but according to the company’s Crunchbase profile
“As per the recent announcements they claim that as their subscriber base grows, they are committed to growing their library.”