Developers: Steer clear of fake reviewing services on the Windows Phone Store
Published an app on the Windows Phone Store? Wish there was some way to get noticed or perhaps tackle competition on the store? Developers who are attempting to break into the market may find it difficult to accumulate downloads and get their name out there, so how do you get apps and games noticed?
There are numerous ways (including Windows Phone Central - *hint*), but one that we'll highlight today is an example of a service that should be avoided (and reported where applicable) - fake reviews.
We've been made aware of a fake reviewing advertisement over on MSDN (now deleted - see below) and we thought it be wise to make both developers and consumers aware of such a service. What the service essentially offers developers are 5-star reviews on select apps, as well as 1-star reviews on competitors and promoting other apps in review comments - basically we're talking about black hat reviewing on the Windows Phone Store.
So why is this bad for both consumers and developers (yes, those reviews in the above photo are real)?
The consumer relies on reviews on the Windows Phone Store to determine whether or not an app or game is worth downloading, especially if it costs a dollar or two. If you're looking at false and faked data, you could be paying for an app that's not quite what the reviews represent. That's a serious issue for those who use the store front-end. We actually wrote up a nice article on consumer review etiquette, which is worth checking out.
As for developers, these folk are the content creators. Pouring hours of effort and sometimes investing heavily to produce apps and games enjoyed by millions. Ironically enough, the fake review service highlights this, "Many of us spent hours to develop best apps for store." So why go and damage the reputation and work of others, who have also arguably poured just as much (if not more) hours of effort? It's baffling.
Is this really what we want to see on the store?
We're not advertising this service, nor are we recommending developers should utilise it. What we are stressing is that developers be on the look out for spam-like reviews on apps and report them to Microsoft, just as our own Jay Bennett has already done so.
Source: MSDN (now deleted); thanks, Daniel, for the heads up!
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
And sadly, people are more inclined to leave negative reviews than positive ones, and something like a tiny bug (that is subsequently fixed) has more effect on your rating than all the users who use the app regularly yet don't leave a review.
Negative reviewers almost unanimously go for 1-star (as if your app personally offends them in some way), whereas positive reviews tend to be more conservative (4 stars being common - and let's face it those of us who are amateurs can't really expect the same ratings as Angry Birds).
My latest game, Puzzle Detective, has a 4-star average, which I'm very happy with, but I still have occasional 1-star reviews from people who leave no reasoning.
In short, the negative reviewers have more influence on your overall ratings than the happy or content users who tend to not rate at all or rate more fairly/realistically.
Many of the most active reviewers are simply spammers leaving their email address or company name on hundreds of apps for publicity.
Honestly, some people are just clueless.
Do you honestly expect me to give my app anything less than 5 stars, given the amount of hours I spent on it?
To Mikey94, I think Bee Mon's concern is realistic. As much as reviews are supposed to be personal views, they are also meant to inform potential users how well the app works or how well its designed. Most people give apps bad reviews without even understanding what the app is supposed to do. They just simply download and try to experiment and when they cannot understand it, they freak out and explode in the store.
For instance, my app is a workout log app, as indicated by its name, Gym Pad. Some reviewers are angry because it does not have any workouts. How can it have workouts when its meant to record workouts that you have already done? See? They simply looked at the images, but forgot to read the app description.
Our main problem is that most people who actually use our apps don't give us few seconds of their time to review it.
Now, I have couple of reviews, which I appreciate, but there is this one particular review from an anonymous reviewer called "user". It just says two words, "it sucks".
I mean I have no problem with someone thinking my app sucks, but at least tell me how. I guess this is why the review is there.
Any way if you are curious, the app is called Gym Pad. Check it out and leave me a strong review.