The Chinese Windows Phone Store is teeming with spam and bad behavior [Updated]

Despite high expectations, the internet is not a place where you can say whatever you want. There are etiquettes to make sure everyone could have reasonably enjoyable online experience. That's why there are moderators and administrators everywhere to have personal assaults in discussion threads removed, and to have user who spam banned.

The same applies to Windows Phone Store, and Windows Store. The app review you submitted don't just appear immediately. Instead, there is someone (or some bot) at Microsoft having a quick look at it first, and have it published if nothing particularly naught is found. You guys should have been used to it already, after so long time.

However, according to Chinese site WPDang, online etiquette does not exist in the Chinese Windows Phone Store, which is causing a growing problem for user experience.

The pictures above shows part of the review thread for the app Abby in Wonderland (click the link to see the app in the CHINESE Store). On June 25th of 2013, a guy named Yan Chao was apparently so happy with this app that he left a five-star review and commented "Superb! Nokia's got unlimited creativity! Hope Huawei acquires Nokia early!" From the next day on, a whole legion of angry Nokia supporters showed up, each leaving a five-star review and basically repeats the same thing: "Yan Chao is a ****." 

The expressions may vary, but the principle's the same. (On a positive note, at least the offenders left 5-star reviews).

My personal disagreement with this Mr. Yan aside, I don't think this should happen in a reputable app marketplace. People throwing curses freely, bullying up one poor guy, blocking actually useful reviews from innocent users, without any interference from the marketplace regulator?

I just checked Abby in Wonderland a few minuted ago. Looks like the string of assault has been kept continuously all the way to today, with the latest entry being "Yo, Yan Chao! You've made some fame by hitting WPDang headlines!"

All the time, Microsoft didn't do anything.

Being derogatory isn't the only problem in the Chinese Windows Phone Store. There are surges of spam after what looks like every single app with remarkable popularity. Below is one example:

Three entries of obvious spam in a row, having entirely nothing to do with the app itself. The first is advertising for "part time job, make money online", while the second and third are Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 discussion groups looking for new members. Yes it's not reasonable to ask for a platform absolutely free of spam but there should at least be some sort of control mechanism, with visible result.

The contrast between American and Chinese Windows Phone Stores is quite stark, with the former offering acceptable experience, while the latter being more like unregulated chaos in its raw form. I've come to suspect Microsoft didn't even bother hiring a Chinese speaker to oversee the Store comments in his own language.

Non-American readers, especially those speaking other languages than English, what is your native Windows Phone Store like? Well managed? Or basically left to its own like the Chinese one? It's a bit more forgivable if it's a Chinese-only problem, or is restricted to just Chinese/Japanese/Korean languages. Asian languages are extremely hard for machines to interpret after all. But if the same happens to every non-English-speaking Store, well that's some serious problem. Windows Phone Store is no longer THAT desperately low in app count, perhaps it's time for Microsoft to shift some energy onto quality control? And by "quality" I mean the Windows Phone Store as a service.

Hopefully with future updates, the Windows Phone and Windows Stores will both begin to offer methods by which users can "flag" comments for inappropriate content--really, that's all that is needed here. Indeed, we'd be shocked if Microsoft wasn't already working on such a system, but until it goes into effect, some Stores will continue to experience the above.

Source: WPDang


Microsoft responds fast. In just one day, the Windows Phoen team is already in action to cleanse the Chinese Store comments, starting with manually removing spam reviews. As said before, the Chinese language is excessively flexible in grammar and phrasing, rendering keyword-based comment filters almost useless. I'm not sure how Microsoft could keep this as an ongoing effect without hiring a dedicated "review-reviewer" team specifically for the Chinese Store. But it's good to know the company cares very much about user experience.

Kane Gao