I’m a big fan of the iPhone game by TapJoy, TapDefense. It’s the only game I play these days, and I use it to pass the time when I’m waiting for something else to happen. TapDefense is a fantastic iPhone implementation of a variation of Tower Defense. It’s free, and the ads are really unobtrusive, which always impressed me.
However, the creators updated TapDefense recently with a new version (2.2), advertising the inclusion of 2 new tower types. Excited, I updated the app. Upon running the new version, I discovered that the new towers were unlock-able features. To unlock a tower, you must install an iPhone app (one is free; the rest cost money) or complete one of many free “offers” via web browser. I installed the free iPhone app and tried to complete two of the offers. The offers are terrible, and the creators of TapDefense should be embarrassed for associating themselves with overt data harvesting services. Page after page of advertising are presented to you until, after 20 pages or more, you finally simply close the application out of frustration. The offers try to extract your name, address, email address, mobile phone provider, mobile phone number, birth city, birthday, and more — enough to try to perpetrate identity theft, if they really wanted to do so. I felt dirty and cheated for even having seen the so-called “offer.”
I don’t mind being shown a few inconspicuous ads when I’m using a free app, but this is ridiculous. TapDefense fans like me are obviously going to be interested in content updates; in my case, I would rather have paid $0.99 than to come out feeling cheated after having their “offers” try to harvest my personal data. There is no option to simply pay for the updated app; instead, you have to buy a third app or attempt to complete one of those terrible offers.
I left a message on their Facebook fan page wall, but it was deleted within 30 seconds.
It feels strange to voice feedback about free software, but these guys are going to lose a lot of fans if they continue to try to extract personal information from their players.
If you’re a fan of the game, head over to the TapDefense iTunes app page and leave feedback!