“All reviews on Yelp are fake.”
Someone told me this once awhile back and it is a statement that has stuck with me. Not because I believe that it is true, but because it always makes me wonder about how many reviews on the various websites out there are legit.
But how can you tell? In our case, how can we tell when an App Store user is posting fake reviews? We will get to that in a minute…
Before we do, let’s put this into perspective and discuss why it even matters, if you don’t know already. The shift from desktop to mobile computing has progressed rapidly over the years and will only continue to accelerate as as we move forward.
The dark side of this mobile boom is that some developers are going to try to cheat the system and get their apps on the top charts, assuring themselves almost instant publicity, income and residual downloads. This is nothing new of course. In any market, especially emerging ones, there will always be opportunities to take advantage of inefficiencies.
Apple has taken steps to combat this, but they have to strike a balance between usability and being too restrictive. With over 900,000 apps on the App Store and growing, they also need to be sure not to upset this huge ecosystem.
One thing Apple has done is to place more importance on user engagement when determining app rankings. While this is a step in the right direction, more changes will need to be made in order to ensure that the best apps really are on the Top Charts and showing up in search.
In this post, we will pull the covers back on what a fake reviewer looks like, compare this to a real reviewer, and examine how this information could be used to prevent these shady practices from happening. We will also get into how downloads and reviews are faked, if you are not familiar with the process.