Apple Cracks Down On Faux Five Star Reviews in App Store

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Apple has increased scrutiny on suspicious App Store reviews, and in some cases has already started removing them, according to a report from TechCrunch

Short praise-filled five-star reviews are the norm in purchased reviews, which less than scrupulous developers purchase from less than scrupulous providers because highly rated apps with lots of reviews are more visible in the App Stores. Some services even go so far as to "downvote" similar apps in the same category to further game the system.

There's never any sort of "official" announcement on something like this, Apple never comes out and says it is laying the smack down on fake reviews, or any other sort of change, so there's no way to know if this is a new policy in place for everyone or a couple of isolated incidents.

TechCrunch did a bit of digging and discovered one case where twenty thousand reviews disappeared virtually overnight. That certainly seems like an outstanding case of purchased reviews, and given that the fake reviews are outstandingly fake, it's pretty obvious which developers are using services to goose the number of reviews. These fake reviews are usually not even an entire sentence (coherence optional), and if you look at other apps from the developer you'll probably see similar-looking reviews for dissimilar apps.

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This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard Tim Cook discussing better discovery in the App Stores. I'm glad to see something is changing, and hopefully some of those changes will make these practices obsolete or at least more obvious and less rewarding. Discovery was an issue well before the iTunes App Store hit a million apps, and as it expands that will continue to be the case, but I'm glad to see some of the practices used to game it are not being rewarded.

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About time.  I recently downloaded a game that looked interesting, discovered it was a bad port of a pc game still using keyboard commands.  You couldn’t move units or assign tasks, completely unplayable, yet had twenty 5-star reviews.

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