iPhone developer stoops to straight bribery
Best application ever, five stars, taverymuch
One iPhone developer has found a novel way to increase rankings in the iTunes store: pay people $5 a time to post positive reviews, thus ensuring the general public gets an unbiased view of application quality.
The application concerned, SantaLive, shows animations of Santa Claus going about his daily business in the run-up to Christmas. It costs a couple of dollars, but developer Casual Game Network apparently offered users five dollars to post a 5-star review. The offer was made using the Mechanical Turk, and is preserved on the Wired Blog, which also reports that of the 22 reviews of SantaLive on iTunes six include the "....." tag requested by the offer.
This morning there are 33 reviews on the US iTunes store, 31 of which give the top recommendation though none include the tag to indicate they were successfully bribed, so the six reported by Wired have either disappeared or been edited. Decent customer ratings are vital for iTunes applications - with only one store and no opportunity to buy more shelf space (at least not yet) customer reviews are the way in which users can filter the dross from the gems.
Bribing for publicity is nothing new. Journalists and bloggers alike get offered favourable terms or jollies abroad in the hope of getting decent coverage, but actually paying people cash for good reviews is taking things a step further.
But perhaps in these credit-crunched times it just demonstrates that even the wisdom of the cloud has a price. ®
Well, basically if you ignore the 5 star system and actually read the reviews it is pretty easy to determine a decent app from a crap one. If you can mentally filter out the obviously very biased reviews or the ones left by a whiner then you can get a good mental picture.
Unfortunately it is always a feature of any public rating system, that some people will just give either a full rating or the minimum one, just because they lack the intelligence to justify anything in-between. So you take note of the reviews that look to be written by people with a reasonable level of intelligence and you'll soon get the picture.
Apple customers concerned about potentially deceptive viral advertisement? No way
Are you feeling all right? :P