A New Kind of Fake App Review

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Legitimate App Reviews Are VERY Hard To Get, But That Doesn’t Make This Sort of Thing OK
As my regular readers know, in addition to being a tech blogger I’m also an Android app developer. I know from firsthand experience how difficult it is to get legitimate reviews, and I’m solicited on a weekly basis by companies offering to sell me a guaranteed block of 100 or more 5-star reviews for my apps. I simply delete those emails, but it’s obvious to me that many other app developers are buying reviews.

Now that many consumers have gotten wise to such tactics (bought reviews are pretty easy to spot because they’re usually very short, very general, and go overboard with the praise), unscrupulous app developers have found a new way to get 5-star reviews that are technically legitimate, but still totally dishonest.

They make a challenging game app, then provide little or no help and offer the user a “free” walkthrough in exchange for a 5-star review. Like these (click or tap on image to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window):

There are MANY more of these “5-star” reviews for this app, and the reviewers clearly state they are only giving a 5-star review because they wanted access to the walkthrough. But consumers who just look at the overall review rating of 5/5 stars will never know that virtually ALL of the 169 5-star reviews this app has received were posted only because the app developer required them in order to view a walkthrough.

Notice also how every one of those reviews has been marked as “helpful”; this is also fishy. Is a review in which the reviewer openly states that he’s only rating the app 5 stars in order to get access to a walkthrough strike you as “helpful”? Me neither. I’m sure it’s the app developer and his/her friends who are marking these reviews helpful.

This same developer has about a dozen similar game apps listed in Amazon’s App Store, and they ALL have very suspiciously high average review ratings, ALL propped up by 5-star reviews that were given in trade for access to a walkthrough or detailed help files.


Don’t be fooled by a high average review rating: get in the habit of reading at least a few of those 5-star reviews to see if they’ve been earned, or bought.


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And now…

The TaoTronics Car HD Dashboard Camera, 2″ Mini Screen, Wide Angle, (Includes 8GB Micro Flash Memory Card) may be marketed as a device for recording roadside accidents and traffic stops, but it would also be a great way to capture memories of a summertime road trip along a scenic route, and can be detached from its mounting to be used as a regular digital videocam: again, very handy for those driving vacations. The camera records direct to an SD card, so uploading to your computer when you get home is as easy as popping the card into your computer’s SD slot and copying the file to your hard drive. It has an average review rating of 4/5 stars across over 150 reviews and normally sells for $149.99, but right now (as of 7/28/15) it’s available for just $75.99—that’s a 49% discount.


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Fire Tip of the Week: For Movie Nuts, Fire Tablets & Fire TV Make A Terrific Pair!

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