Before purchasing an app most of us are probably going to read the reviews and check the ratings just to see what people who have already bought it say about it. Often ratings and reviews offer a pretty good picture thus making it easier for prospective customers to make their decision. Unfortunately this also opens the door to developers who’d rather game the system to make a quick buck than make money honestly. There are countless websites that let you purchase fake reviews and ratings but it looks like Apple has had enough. The company is now clamping down on fake reviews and ratings on the App Store.
An app’s rating also influences how it ranks on the App Store. Its not new to see developers try to game the system to get their apps to the top of App Store charts, a premium position which some believe drives app downloads worth tens of thousands of dollars every single day. In fact eagle-eyed users would immediately suspect a glowing and rather brief five star review of an app.
Folks at TechCrunch were first to notice that Apple had started cleaning up the ratings and reviews on the App Store. It is not not known exactly when Apple started doing this since it didn’t really announce anything related to it but a forum discussion shows that countless developers complain about having lost a significant amount of reviews, even though none of them admitted to having bought fake reviews.
Since there is no acknowledgement from the company, it is not known how Apple differentiates between real and fake reviews and how exactly does it find out that a developer is trying to game the system. Its possible that some users might be pointing out potential misuse to the company.
One thing is for sure though. Apps don’t lose thousands of ratings and reviews overnight, and because developers can’t really remove them on their own, all signs point to a possible intervention from Apple.