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The crew behind MacHeist were responsible for the recent series of hacks of fanboy sites. 'Malcor' was made up by them. The hacks were all faked. The 'Malcor' blog is already gone. And MacHeist are now coming clean with the story and asking for your continued support.

See you give it to them.

Week of the Independent Mac Developer

The reputation of MacHeist precedes them. On 11 December last year Gus Mueller wrote the following.

Well, that's a big crock of shit. How about this alternate title: 'The Week Where You Devalue and Fleece A Bunch of Good Mac Devs'. Yea, that sounds more like it.

I'm sure it's a great deal for anyone buying the bundle, and it's a hell of a deal for the folks running MacHeist and the charities, but it certainly isn't for the indie mac devs. If you do the math, that's $3.67 per copy if they are splitting the money evenly. And that's the extremely optimistic view. How much is MacHeists' cut? Are they splitting it, or are the devs getting a flat rate? Let's say it's a $5k flat rate, and they sell 5k copies. That's only a buck a copy. What if they sell 10k copies? That's 50 cents a license. That's not how you 'support' indie mac devs, that's how you tie up all their development time answering support emails.

I'm certain the developers who are participating in the bundle know what they are getting into, and have good reasons for doing so. But for MacHeist to call it 'The Week of the Independent Mac Developer' and to practically give away the software... well, that's just a fucking insult to me and all the other hard working developers out there.

Iniquities of the Selfish

John Gruber followed up Gus' screed already the following day with a detailed analysis of how MacHeist were fleecing not only developers but customers too, pretending the whole shebang was about 'charity' - and walking away with as much as half a million in US greenbacks per promotion.

And the worst part about it was that people weren't getting real licensed software anyway. These were all 'special builds': if customers later wanted to upgrade as other users did they'd have to buy a full licence. Again.

Marketing Tool?

Already on 20 November Colin Cornaby at White Magic Labs found evidence it was faked. After digging into the colour profiles of images supposedly made on a Windows PC (but which can only be generated on OS X) he concludes the following.

At the very least, Malcor is a fraud and a hypocrite. I think 'Malcor' is working in conjunction with Mac sites to stage hackings, and then the sites go back up with much fanfare and a bunch of free publicity. If this is true, whoever is organising this should be ashamed of themselves.

Mac-hacking er PR-stunt

Norway's Mac1.no started hinting 'Malcor' was a hoax already a week ago today.

'According to reliable sources it's the gang behind MacHeist who are behind the 'attacks'. MacHeist is a website that sells popular programs. The concept has been very popular and marketed hard but many have also criticised their marketing and concepts.'

'It seems MacHeist have offered a few selected website proprietors money to voluntarily close down for 24 hours and pretend they've been hacked. The websites haven't been hacked and the hacker Malcor and his entire blog are fabricated and part of a new promotional campaign for MacHeist.'

A Bad PR Stunt

Brought under pressure by his CMS vendor Hadley Stern of Apple Matters posted a short first notice on Tuesday. The post - redacted to remove the many grammatical and spelling errors - was as follows.

I am very sorry to post this publicly but at this point this has gone too far. Apple Matters is a big site and it runs on Expression Engine, one of the best platforms out there. At this point this joke is beginning to impact other businesses and I cannot let that happen.

A Tad Overboard

Then John Casasanta of MacHeist came clean the same day.

So, here we go... it was us. No big surprise at this point, right? Basically, it was a lead in to the first mission of MacHeist 2 that got waaay out of hand. So we're apologizing for it and for the trouble it's caused.

We've shut down the malcor blog and all associated sites and malcor chewed on his cyanide tablet so it's all history now.

Right.

Woops I did it Again

Miles Evans of MacApper came clean on Wednesday.

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Phill Ryu of Macheist and asked if I was interested in helping him promote MacheistII. Phill said that a series of blogs we're going to be hacked in jest, and following this the Macheist site itself would succumb and MacheistII would be revealed to everyone. The entire ploy sounded harmless, incredibly inventive, and a lot of fun.

Yeah lots of fun.

What Really Happened, Sincere Apologies

Fifteen year old Glenn Wolsey who'd repeatedly denied all accusations now came clean too.

I wasn't the main guy behind this, I simply handed over the keys to my site for 24 hours to the MacHeist crew in full support of their mission.

Sincere Apologies

Hadley Stern who earlier admitted he was 'literally shaking' because he didn't 'fully understand the impact' posted yet another 'apology'. His post is again redacted to remove the many grammatical and spelling errors.

It's amazing how in life one still keeps learning. Such was the case yesterday. When I was originally contacted by the MacHeist team I honestly thought it was a funny prank and one that was in support of the great developer community our platform has. Too often in the Mac community we take ourselves way too seriously and the idea of participating in something other sites were already participating in seemed harmless. I wasn't doing it for traffic, or fame, just for fun. Of course in the process I let down the readers of this site, and the web hosting provider, and the maker of the excellent CMS the site uses.

So, hopefully, dear readers, you will forgive Apple Matters and we can back to the task at hand.

But that's not likely to happen. The very 'concept' of MacHeist was properly exposed a year ago; the idea some stunt like the 'Malcor hacks' would in some way promote a business scam that was already highly suspect is nothing but the product of the dizzying greed the MacHeist crew are feeding on. At its very best the 'stunt' doesn't even make much good business sense.


I felt good knowing I was part of such a goofball stunt.
 - Miles Evans

Glenn Wolsey said in an email the hack of his site was genuine.
 - The Register

I am literally shaking right now because I did not fully understand the impact of this.
 - Hadley Stern

To MacApper, Glenn, and AppleMatters: may the scene scorn you. You disgust me with the way you managed this situation. It was despicable. We caught on, you acted like ignorant fools in a manner that just proved it was true. You're a sad part of the Apple cult.
 - Warbrain

See Also
The Technological: M A L C O R
Red Hat Diaries: Malcor Loses It

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