What is bait apps?
Bait apps are software programs that are free to download but contain options to purchase game currency or virtual currency that add to the game in some way. The game is free, but users have to pay to play for an extended period of time. Hence, players are tricked into 'taking the bait' and spending real dollars to play a game that is advertised for free.
The proliferation of free apps that encourage in-app purchases is mired in a legal and ethical debate. The practice complains of deception - or at least an unethical practice - because there is a question as to whether such an app can be advertised or advertised at all.
For example, the intent of a game app could be to breed fish in a virtual aquarium. The player can buy more food for the fish to extend the game. Of course, these types of software programs are severely limited with no additional purchase options. Many of these apps are also aimed at younger consumers who may not be consumer aware that they are.
There is also a clear legal argument behind the transactions promoted by bait apps. In order for a contract to be legally valid, the contracting parties cannot be made to accept its terms. If the apps are advertised as free, will those who use them be made to enter into an agreement the terms of which they do not know?