Apple Removes Apps Due to Accusations of Shill Reviews
iPhoneography reports that Apple's Phil Schiller has apparently taken action based on a complaint that one App Store developer was boosting their app's ratings artificially with fake reviews:
Please investigate for I have just looked at 44 of the reviewers who posted reviews for this Molinker Inc app "NightCam Pro" & EVERY Review except 2 of the 44+ are ALL FAKE 5 [star] reviews.
The customer suspected that the developer had used their 50 promo codes to leave these 5 star reviews on the iTunes App Store. This customer then emailed Apple's Phil Schiller notifying him of the findings which quickly resulted in removal of this developer's 1900+ apps.
The practice of leaving positive ratings for your own applications is not an uncommon practice in the App Store, though Molinker's efforts appear to be on a much greater scale. Schiller's quick response is just another sign that Apple is taking recent App Store criticisms very seriously. Schiller has been directly involved in many of the App Store decisions and has even given interviews defending their policies.
Apple also recently reversed a much publicized policy to heavily restrict the use of any Apple hardware images within App Store Apps.