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Almost 1% Of The App Store Pulled Over A Rating Scam

December 7, 2009


Glyn Evans over at iphoneography brought a very interesting story to the public's attention this weekend. A friend of his, SCW, was looking into some photography apps by the developer Molinker (the apps actually look curiously similar to those of other developers but that's another story) and was very surprised by the ratings they were getting. Many of their apps had around 50 five stars reviews.  SCW found this to be a bit suspect and decided to examine these reviewers a little closer.   When he looked into those reviewers they were surprisingly only reviewing molinker apps and rewarding them all a five stars. Furthermore the reviews were all poorly written. What SCW deducted is that the developer was probably using his promocodes (every developer gets 50 of them for every app) on 50 of his own accounts to review his own apps. Well, very upset SCW wrote to Phil Schiller about it and asked Glyn Evans to help him spread the word. Phil Schiller once done reading about himself in the NYtimes stepped in last night and banned Molinker from the App Store. He then wrote to SCW:
Yes, this developer's apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either.
What's incredible is that the developer had 1011 apps, which is almost 1% of the entire App Store.  Well that's 1% of the App Store that no longer exists.  If their business model was to copy other apps and then rate them themselves they shouldn't be surprised. They shouldn't be surprised, but they are:  Julen over at AppFreak managed to contact Molinker who answered :
We got email from Apple yesterday [Sunday 6th] which told us our contract is changed to pending status. Actually, we do not know what's wrong so far. We had contacted Apple for such sudden changes, hope we can get quick response and actions from Apple.
I guess this story reconfirms my beliefs to never rely on the reviews in the App Store.   The system is definitely flawed so my advice would be to stick around and rely on us when it comes to app reviews... [iPhoneography via AppFreak, Picture via Flickr]

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