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Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - Holmes - Jun 24, 2009 11:51 AM

Everybody knows that fake reviews are a big problem in the iTunes app store. But what happens when you discover a developer whose whole business model is based on making them?

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=304659461

Strange how all the people who give his software glowing reviews have only reviewed his software, have each reviewed every single piece of software he's released, and always give it 5 stars! Mad

This especially bothers me because his Reversi game (which he refers to as "My Othello" even though that's trademark infringement) is currently #67 in board games. Being in that position means he's making almost enough money from this app to make a living off of. When I make my software it takes a lot of hard work for me to achieve an equal ranking position!

So what is a developer supposed to do? Report it to Apple? Just ignore it and say "boy, the world sure isn't fair"?


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - SethWillits - Jun 24, 2009 12:24 PM

Report it. Who to exactly, I don't know. Tell Hasbro or whoever owns Othello too. Wink


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - longjumper - Jun 24, 2009 01:57 PM

Welcome to capitalism. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Or play the game to win.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - Oddity007 - Jun 24, 2009 03:02 PM

Reminder that no business system is perfect.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - Frank C. - Jun 24, 2009 03:11 PM

longjumper Wrote:Or play the game to win.
So you're saying if everyone created shill accounts and posted fake reviews everything would even out - makes sense.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - Muskrat - Jun 24, 2009 04:02 PM

Move to a tree.


But seriously, I think you should try to get someone's attention at apple, it's almost certainly against some rule somewhere. The only question is if anyone will care.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - funkboy - Jun 24, 2009 04:27 PM

Reviews are not available at most stores.

Apple is providing the ability for reviews to be posted, and are hosting them and encouraging users to write and review apps.

Target and Wal-Mart do not have areas for customers to rank items, either with a thumbs up/down tally or a star rating, not to mention space beside the Nacho Cheese Doritos saying "Tastes great but makes my fingers orange. Dirtied up my keyboard. Stupid. DO NOT BUY!"

So seemingly, Apple is providing a different purchasing environment. Does this mean Apple has some kind of responsibility to its suppliers? I want to say yes, but it is not promised. It is in the best interest of its customers, though, since if a customer thinks "this will be great," but then turns out it's not so great, the customer is unhappy and will trust the store and its reviews less.

In other words... we've come up with a store that allows things that most stores don't, and we're not sure who has various roles and responsibilities, or if they exist at all.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - Zwilnik - Jun 24, 2009 05:15 PM

User reviews are just a bloody stupid idea forced on Apple by a media wave of bloody stupid people.

For every sensible reviewer, there are hundreds of idiots, malicious posters, random crazies and unscrupulous competitors.

The only thing you can really do (that's reasonable) is to vote up the good reviews and vote down the bad ones. Unfortunately the unscrupulous types (and nutjobs) also go around voting your good reviews down and the bad ones up.


Fortunately most people ignore the reviews, at least any past the 3 that get on the front page of iTunes and even they don't influence that much. We're finding that most people look at the first screenshot and the icon and rarely even read the app description Smile


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - wyrmmage - Jun 24, 2009 05:53 PM

A bit off-topic, but I actually just wrote a rant a week or so ago on how stupid people are when rating reviews.

Check out this example, on the reflexive website: http://www.reflexive.com/AirportManiaFirstFlight.html

Note the third top-ranked review.....out of seventy-five reviews, "I love this game it is the best in its class I can not wait for the next one I hope there is one way to go reflexive I have went out and purchased this game would recomend to any one" was the third best one? Really? >.>


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - kodex - Jun 24, 2009 07:33 PM

funkboy Wrote:Target and Wal-Mart do not have areas for customers to rank items, either with a thumbs up/down tally or a star rating, not to mention space beside the Nacho Cheese Doritos saying "Tastes great but makes my fingers orange. Dirtied up my keyboard. Stupid. DO NOT BUY!"

Of course they do target.com and walmart.com


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - funkboy - Jun 24, 2009 08:51 PM

kodex Wrote:Of course they do target.com and walmart.com

Touché. Was talking brick and mortar stores... I'd say Target, like Apple, is just kind of persuaded into it since Amazon did it. For some reason it seems to work better on Amazon than elsewhere... but maybe I'm an idealist and do not see the badness going on there, too.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - monteboyd - Jun 25, 2009 01:38 AM

I'm still thinking (hoping) the App Store and how users choose the games they buy will mature over time either by Apple improving things or by the social frameworks (OpenFeint, Scoreloop, Plus+, Geocade...) becoming more and more important.

Although Apple appears to have not done much so far they have a history of seemingly not listening to feedback at all and then coming up with a completely unique and useful solution out of the blue.

Or maybe I have too much faith in them. Wink


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - MattDiamond - Jun 25, 2009 06:20 AM

My feeling is, you won't be happy unless you at least report it to Apple. Do your civic duty. Apple has certainly banned enough apps for the wrong reasons, so there is some reason to believe that they might intervene.

Another idea is to contact a columnist for one of the big iPhone portals, or MacWorld. It would be an easy article to write, has a nice pro-consumer angle, as well as a clear-cut villain. Some bad publicity might be enough to tarnish that guy for a while, and in turn might attract the attention of Apple or Hasbro.

(Speaking of Hasbro, if you wanted to try and get their attention directly, see if they are working on mobile games or have partnered with a game developer that is. That's who I'd send the note to.)

Then, having reported it, take a deep breath and move on. The world isn't fair, and you can't take on everything yourself. People are going to exploit any system that gets put in place. Even if you knocked this guy down a peg, he may just pop up again under a new name. It's not worth sacrificing much of your time or any of your mental health, especially if you've got your own mission, such as creating awesome games.


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - EvolPenguin - Jun 25, 2009 10:46 AM

Matt has the best advice here, and I second it. Loved that link though wyrmmage.
Alex


Fake iPhone app reviews gone amok - mpatric - Jun 26, 2009 02:08 AM

Holmes, I saw this guy's apps too and it made me angry to say the least. As a developer with a competing reversi app I was disgusted to see this garbage outselling all other reversi apps at the moment. His is easily the worst reversi app I've seen. I doubt he understands the basic strategy of the game.. on the hardest level it plays moves that give up the corners when there are plenty better moves available. I believe the moves it makes might be random. (Unfortunately I had to add to his download sales so that I could buy it and judge for myself). I have reported the fake reviews to Apple, but not heard anything back from them.

To top it all off, this developer has a second reversi app called "Reversi Extended", which is an exact duplicate of "My Othello" or "iOthello", or whatever he is calling it this week. IMHO this sort of behaviour should be addressed quite seriously by Apple. They can't be happy about developers using the app store to mislead customers.

I'll be demanding the $0.99 I paid for his app back from Apple today citing the faked reviews as the reason. Mad