Apple’s utopian iTunes application store has fallen victim to typical troll manipulation.
Rob Walch, host of Tii, emailed me concerned about what he uncovered. When you are looking for apps to download in iTunes, or looking in any app marketplace for that matter, user reviews are something that heavily influence the decision making process of most buyers. This is essentially a user forum for that specific product. If 10 guys said it crashes and runs like crap, most people would likely avoid paying for that download. Naturally, it would work the other way.
We at Mobile Magazine get harassed quite often by shady types of advertising “offers.” Even larger well known companies offer us mula in exchange for attention and praise on their specific product or page. So when something like that comes up, it flies right on over to the trash bin. But how do you ignore manipulative fake product reviews when they appear to be from your peers? Not many ways right now, sure we can go click on the “report a concern” link on every single comment we find suspicious, but shouldn’t Apple have some type of check that says, “hey, this guy since December 17th has rated every single app 5 stars, and oh, most of them are from the same company.”
The perps run a blatantly obvious website: YourAppReviewed.com. YAR’s response to Tii about them creating fake reviews was this: “As we are not posting fake reviews, it’s not something which is conflicting with Apple rules. Our reviewers are real iPhone and iPod users. We don’t pay them to post fake positive reviews but to give their honest opinion Apps. Don’t worry about that.”
Ok, so a company sends you money to review their app, and not by any other means then pure coding and development genius they coincidentally get rated 5 stars, every time. Explain that one to me again?