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Apple Cracking Down on Fake App Store Reviews

Apple recently began cracking down on fake reviews in the App Store, a widespread problem that can affect both App Store rankings and Top Charts. According to research done by TechCrunch, Apple appears to have started removing false reviews earlier this year.

One app, Better Fonts Free, which is described by TechCrunch as "spammy," saw thousands of its June ratings disappear overnight. While the app has just 4,000 reviews at the current point in time, it previously had more than 20,000. Developers have no way to remove reviews, which means the fake reviews were pulled by Apple.

fakereviews1
Instead, what happened is that Apple did step in to remove this app's ratings due to attempts by the developer to game the system. What's more, this is not the first time the company has done this, we now understand.

In fact, any time Apple finds credible evidence of ratings fraud or manipulation, it can and "often" does take action to remove the ratings associated with that activity.
There are several websites and marketing services that allow developers to purchase fake five-star reviews in an attempt to game the App Store charts, improving their rankings and their downloads. Apple has warned against these practices in the past, suggesting that developers who utilize services to manipulate their App Store rankings could be banned from Apple's developer program, so it is no surprise that the company has been quietly removing fake reviews.

It is unclear how Apple determines which reviews are false, but as anyone who has stumbled across a fake review in the App Store knows, they are often easy to spot. Most fake reviews use the same general wording, structure, and punctuation, in addition to being overly positive. The reviews below come from a low-quality highly-ranked app that has a perfect five star rating.

fakereviews2
Apple has made several changes to the App Store in recent months with the aim of improving app discoverability. In late 2013, the App Store began compensating for small typos and misspellings and the company also implemented changes to the way apps are ranked for the Top Charts.

Just yesterday, Apple added a new 'Browse by Category' section ahead of major improvements being introduced to the App Store with iOS 8, including a new "Explore" tab and a search overhaul that includes trending and related searches.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

19 weeks ago
This is really dumb. Developers that buy fake reviews are in clear violation of the developer agreement. Apple should not be spending time & energy removing fake reviews, instead they should warn the developer once, then kick them off the App Store!
Rating: 12 Votes
19 weeks ago
Any review that contains that inane word "amazeballs" should be automatically deleted anyway.
Rating: 11 Votes
19 weeks ago
Gotta love the wording in that ad, "Buy 100% Real iPhone App Reviews". I mean if you pay for them they are 100% fake, no?
Rating: 11 Votes
19 weeks ago
This is really good news. There are often so many clearly fake reviews for apps.
Rating: 9 Votes
19 weeks ago
samsung would hire more of these people to review apps.
Rating: 8 Votes
19 weeks ago
This news was Aaaaaaamazing! Couldn't live without it! Two thumbs up! A must read for hardcore MacRumours fans!!!

;):D
Rating: 7 Votes
19 weeks ago
Finally, they are doing something to stop this. It's very annoying to see these irrelevant reviews when your trying to buy an app.
Rating: 7 Votes
19 weeks ago
I don't know their rules now, but to me it seems for posting a review or rating an app, at least two things must exist:

1. The reviewer must have purchased that app with the apple ID they are reviewing.

2. Only one review per apple id/credit card number

Also, a review should be revoked if a refund has been issued. A max number of reviews per IP address and/or name/billing address would help too.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 weeks ago
Trying to stop astroturf reviewers is like shoveling against the tide. We as consumers have to understand that crowd-sourced online reviews are fundamentally of no value.

Bring back the professional reviewer with knowledge, a track record, and a reputation.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 weeks ago

Any review that contains that inane word "amazeballs" should be automatically deleted anyway.


You shouldn't be so judgmental. Our nation's founding document originally declared our intention to form "a more amazeballs union" before some lawyer changed it.
Rating: 5 Votes

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