Sexy iPhone app escapes ban, earns $10,000 in a week

Sexy app Tubes briefly avoided Apple's App Store porn purge and made big bucks for its developer.

At least one sexy app slipped under the radar of Apple's porn purge: picture-viewing app Tubes managed to pull in almost US$10,000 in the week following the ban.

Apple created quite the controversy last month when it started pulling from the App Store apps deemed to have "overtly sexual content." More than 5000 apps were pulled, including SlideHer Nautica, Video Strip Poker, and Strip Simon. Apple cited complaints from parents as the reason for the purge, though the company did not pull popular sexy apps from well-established media companies such as Playboy, FHM, and Sports Illustrated. (Click on the image for a closer look at the jump in sales.)

The porn purge was not perfect, as some apps were wrongfully pulled -- such as Simply Beach, a beachwear shopping app -- though these apps were reinstated a couple of days later.

Tubes, an app that features more than 120 pictures of lingerie-clad women, was making about $30 a day before the porn purge started on February 15, according to TechCrunch. As sexy apps were gradually removed from the App Store, Tubes found its profits growing until the app was pulling in about $1600 a day. The app cost 99 cents per download.

Apple took note of the app's incredible rise in profits and pulled Tubes from the App Store yesterday at 5:30 p.m. Apple time.

The app apparently managed to slip through the cracks because it was not available in the United States -- developed by , it was built at the request of a client under the condition that it would not be offered in the United States.

This sheds some light on what kind of a market is out there for sexy apps -- a really big one. The Tubes app was not particularly amazing (it was mostly just amateur pictures of girls in lingerie), but it was the only one around and thus made a substantial amount of money before it was ejected.

Of course, this makes you wonder how much the commercial apps (Playboy, FHM, and the rest) are raking in now that all of the independent competition has been effectively shut down.

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Sarah Jacobsson

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