Yahoo! employees may be gaming the iTunes App Store by posting five-star reviews of their company’s new Axis web browser and search tool, The Next Web reported Saturday. The launch of Axis is the first major step by the struggling company following the scandal and termination of its former CEO, Scott Thompson.
Axis, launched last week, is a search and Web browsing service that gives users access to a common search experience via apps on the iPhone and iPad, and web browser plugins on Windows and OS X.
The service provides relevant trending searches, visual previews of websites, instant search results while the user types, and a customizable homepage with saved searches and websites. It also syncs searches and search history between a user’s computer and device, making it a convenient solution for users on the go.
Axis launched to mostly positive reviews, but it appears that some Yahoo! employees wanted to raise the app’s rating even further. The Next Web, surprised by the 4.5 out of 5 rating that Axis received on the App Store, found several five star reviews written by Yahoo! employees, including David Ishimaru, the company’s patent counsel, Ethan Batraski, director of product management, and Brian Koch, an engineer at its Network Operations Center.
While employees writing app store reviews for their company’s products and services is common, but frowned upon in some quarters, the fact that Yahoo! would engage in such questionable behavior so soon after the highly public scandal involving its CEO is surprising.
Of course, there’s also a slim chance that the individuals posting App Store reviews just happen to have the same names as certain Yahoo! employees. We’ve reached out to Yahoo! for clarification but the company has not yet responded. We’ll let you know if and when they do.