By Jared Newman | Friday, November 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm
Supposedly fed up with “the tide of fake App Store reviews,” iPhone game developer G5 entertainment wants your honest opinion, and plans to get it by giving away free games.
For its latest release, Judgment Day War, G5 is looking for reviews in exchange for a chance to win one of its earlier games. Before submitting your review to the App Store, you send it to [email protected], along with your App Store user name, and the developer picks the 50 reviews that it deems most “interesting.”
I’ll note that the press release skillfully avoids defining what an “interesting” review might entail, lest that definition be interpreted as “thumbs up.” It doesn’t say whether overly negative reviews and enthusiastically positive ones will be judged equally, but there isn’t any encouragement to stay fair and balanced either.
Fake App Store reviews aren’t unheard of. In August, MobileCrunch ran an exposé on Reverb Communications, whose staff was caught writing positive reviews of clients’ games (Reverb insisted that the reviews were written on the staffers’ own time, based on their own experiences, and said that if Reverb didn’t like the games to begin with, “we wouldn’t take them on as clients.”) Other instances abound, as reported by BusinessWeek.
Are G5’s tactics as sleazy as the rest? Not quite, because the developer isn’t soliciting positive opinions and directly compensating for them, but something about it still stinks. If G5 really wants to contribute to an App Store that’s free of fraudulent reviews, it can do its part by butting out.