Report: Apple taking a stand against fake App Store ratings

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According to a new report, Apple is now taking a firm stand against what has long been one of the biggest problems with the App Store: spammy app reviews and ratings. Apple has apparently been removing false reviews since earlier this year, with one app in particular having had thousands of its fake reviews removed overnight.

The app in question is Better Fonts Free, which currently has 4,000 app reviews. The app at one point had more than 20,000 reviews, and since developers have no way of moderating or controlling them, the only reasonable conclusion is that they were removed by Apple.

According to the research conducted by TechCrunch:

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.

As there are with Facebook likes and Twitter followers, there are dozens of services which allow you to quickly and easily pick up as many “100% real” app reviews as you’d like. These services tout the ability to increase app downloads, sales, and attract more buyers — making it plainly clear why so many desperate developers resort to these tactics. Apple has warned that developers who use these services could be banned from the App Store.

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Some may question how Apple can determine which reviews are legitimate and which are fake, but as you can see in the screenshot at the top of the post, they’re usually quite obvious. Also, it’s likely that many of these reviews are coming from a common set of IP addresses and once Apple is able to determine one as fake, it wouldn’t be hard to delete all the reviews and ratings that came from that address.

Overall, this is great news for those of us who simply want to peruse the App Store for the best apps. These fake reviews give light to apps that don’t deserve it, and with Apple removing them (or attempting to), the Top Charts rankings should become more accurate than ever.

[via TechCrunch]