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  #1  
Old 03-31-2014, 01:18 PM
Balloon Loons Balloon Loons is offline
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Default Anyone noticing a trend in fake reviews for the top apps?

Hey everyone. Hope you're all doing well.

I was browsing through the App Store top lists for free apps and I noticed something that really frustrates me. Reading through the reviews for the top apps I notice that they are the same style of reviews for most of these apps. I'm referring to ones that look so mediocre you wouldn't even think about downloading them. Yet there they are.

I'm looking at the app 2048 which seems to be at the top now. With reviews like what have you done..I was enjoying my life until.... Etc. sound familiar? Yup. Flappy bird reviews. All these one paragraph long reviews about how the app ruined someone's life.

And it doesn't end there. Browse through the other free apps and you'll notice the same thing. Also what seems to be a bad review giving 5 stars. And on top of that reviews with the same titles! One after another with the same exact title.

What is going on here? Is bot farming now the norm? How can regular developers compete with cheaters?

Thoughts?

Last edited by Balloon Loons; 03-31-2014 at 01:22 PM.. Reason: Incomplete
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2014, 03:00 PM
Pixelosis Pixelosis is offline
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The entire ranking system appears to be deeply screwed and gamed today. It is nigh absolutely irrelevant for true genuine advice, pegged down to a race for the best spots to rack in as many $$$ as possible, and has thus become a profitable source for shady businesses that keep blossoming, offering more and more cheap opportunities to champion your product up the ranks. With so much proliferation of these activities, considering that so few companies ever get banned by either Apple or Google, you've got some evidence that those methods are widely used and relatively safe ontop of that. Sad, isn't it?

These days it's supposed to be totally normal that a rather obscure game can get like half a million reviews under a month, the vast majority of them overly positive.
I'd go as far as say that getting to the topmost positions (say 250 firsts) on the merits of your app uniquely is pretty much wishful thinking. Your choice is between white marketing (which we already knew) or black marketing (which is gaining weight at an alarming rate).

Anyway, e-portals are only fair during the first two years in general. Beyond that indies can't fight much without craving exposure at any cost.

On a sidenote, I think even excessive white marketing is frowned upon, theoretically, unless you're a very, very big publisher (EA for example).

Last edited by Pixelosis; 09-25-2014 at 06:47 AM..
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2014, 03:40 PM
neilw711 neilw711 is offline
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Definitely! Especially on flappy bird and its clones. I have this feeling that's how flappy bird made it to the top. Games like Smash Hit deserve good reviews but I'm also seeing a trend of weird reviews for the top 10 apps. They also have very strange usernames like "omg iphone rules like crazy" or "guywhowantsmorecideos"
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  #4  
Old 03-31-2014, 04:03 PM
psj3809 psj3809 is offline
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Some of it is probably due to competitions. Check out the promo code section here for example. People leaving stupid 5 star reviews for any game just to try and win a gift voucher.

Reviews on the App Store are sadly a joke mostly
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:19 PM
Phil128 Phil128 is offline
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Noticed the same thing in the German appstore. Also found some fake reviews for rovio apps and other big players. Very sad that apple is not doing anything about it...
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2014, 05:47 PM
Pixelosis Pixelosis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilw711 View Post
Games like Smash Hit deserve good reviews but I'm also seeing a trend of weird reviews for the top 10 apps.
I wouldn't be so optimistic about Smash Hit, really. This game gets a tsunami of super scores like it cures cancer but by its visuals alone it screams intellectual obscure PC game that would have no chance to make it big. It's perhaps decent, but that good as to storm the top ranking? Just no. Have you even gotten a look at the ranking chart on App Annie.
Even white marketing takes time to kick in. So what's that?
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  #7  
Old 03-31-2014, 06:00 PM
Pixelosis Pixelosis is offline
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I'd also point that the flood of fake reviews, both in quantity and the notation they attribute, might begin to put review websites in a precarious position.
Rule of mob being what it is, what is a website to do as it hopes retain its entire relevancy and not lose like 10~20% of its audience if it were to contradict the zerg rush of marvellous reviews? Most people would say half a million people can't be wrong, so who are those websites to be so harsh and out of tune, really? That would get me a little bit nervous. It could very well push things into Famitsu realm, the fan pandering one you know, where people expect perfect scores because FINAL FANTASY! A similar phenomenon might kick in, where [big name] gets replaced by [huge amount of 5/5 reviews on stores].
It might be even worse than previously thought, because a torrent of positive reviews and scores might become far, far more relevant, cash wise, than any yet already favourable review on otherwise respected websites.
I mean, a good score here gets you what? 10K to 40K downloads in one day and the effect fades out rapidly, and there's not much money to be made from that, whether you go with freemium or advertising (or even plain premium unless you sell at two digits).
But trusting the top positions, that's a guaranteed high revenue on the long run.
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  #8  
Old 03-31-2014, 07:48 PM
neilw711 neilw711 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelosis View Post
I wouldn't be so optimistic about Smash Hit, really. This game gets a tsunami of super scores like it cures cancer but by its visuals alone it screams intellectual obscure PC game that would have no chance to make it big. It's perhaps decent, but that good as to storm the top ranking? Just no. Have you even gotten a look at the ranking chart on App Annie.
Even white marketing takes time to kick in. So what's that?
Smash Hit was beautifully executed
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  #9  
Old 03-31-2014, 07:56 PM
Balloon Loons Balloon Loons is offline
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I think someone somewhere figured something really big out when it comes to these reviews and flappy bird was more of an experiment for it than anything. It's just very coincidental that after flappy bird rockets to the top using these types of reviews, that other apps are now implementing similar reviews.

Makes me think the developer of flappy birds wasn't trying to make a good game. He was trying an experiment for a method that is now being used all over. It would explain so much if this was the case.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:11 AM
Balloon Loons Balloon Loons is offline
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This is crazy. Another app hits the top today. This one from Japan. It's so bad even the title is written improperly. "Don't step the white tile." So I start reading reviews and again it's these very generic reviews. And I'm now noticing many of them contain comparisons to flappy bird even though the game is completely nothing like flappy bird.

I'm going to run a test. I'm going to release my own flappy bird clone and without cheats let's see if we can get reviews like this. My bet is no way. But I want to see first hand. Let's see if a legitimate app release has any chance of competing and getting reviews like this.

The developers are claiming they did nothing shady. Ok so let's see if that's possible.

I will be posting updates on how we do here. Expect a release very shortly.

If we go by the claim that there is nothing shady going on then my release should rocket to the top and gain similar reviews. Then I will admit I was wrong to accuse these people of wrong doing including the flappy bird developer himself. I will make a public apology.

But if I am right hopefully we can all shed light on this and have apple put an end to it if we draw attention to it.

This is not fair to us hard working developers who try hard every day to make a product worthy of being called an app.
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