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The Windows Store can now find and delete spam reviews of apps

Microsoft has added a number of features to the Windows Store specifically for app developers who want to fight false or abusive reviews of their apps.

The official Windows Dev Feedback UserVoice page included a topic raised by developers asking Microsoft to put in features that would help them deal with those kinds of abusive reviews. This week, Microsoft confirmed it has now taken action on some of those suggestions:

"Several features in this request are now live including 1) respond to review, 2) public response to reviews, 3) escalate to support which in a few cases can delete the comment if it violates the policy, 4) technology to detect and remove a large majority of the spam reviews, and 5) how helpful is a comment."

Microsoft has yet to comment on the specifics behind the technology it is using to find and delete spam reviews in the store.

Source: Microsoft; Via: WMPU

84 Comments
  • Nice. But they need to remove the fake apps too.
  • ^^^This! There are probably more spam/fake apps than spam app reviews.
  • Exactly, most apps that have an incredible amount of empty/ fake five star reviews are spam apps themselves.
  • There's like a dozen of fake "periscope" apps. Just search for it and you'll see. None works.
  • Very true. I just report them. But idk if it helps.
  • Yup, that was my first thought too. Concentrate on removing the spam apps first MS.
  • In a world where app numbers are king, they have no reason to want to do that.
  • Yes 1st remove that f**kng fake apps in store
  • The problem is that you can only report a bad app to Microsoft after you have downloaded it. I would never want to install a bad app in the first place.
  • That is the most annoying thing. You spot the fake app but have to install to star or comment.
  • This what you say is just another measure to not have a flood of bad and spam reviews. Me as a dev am really happy that the user HAS to install my app before he/she rates it. Without this it would have no sense at all and would be like rating a book on its covers. You know this is just another measure to stop spam?!
  • I totally agree with your point.
  • Glad to hear from developers. So do us a favor. If you put a prompt for a Review in your app, give us some time with the app. I get promoted to rate apps 30 seconds after opening it.
  • Hahah, of course. In first line i'm also an user and i tailor my apps how i would also like to use them "as user" and my review pop ups and links show up after 5-7 days or sometimes even later. Depends a lot on the usage itself. you can not force anything and i think a lot of users will give bad reviews to such apps that want reviews right on installation.
  • Thank you. Because sometimes it takes me a couple days to figure out which button to push so as not to let the smoke out.
  • Agreed!
  • There is a "report concert to Microsoft" link in Windows (Phone) 8.1, whether you own/ installed the app or not. The problem is that it seems broken, it just returns to the Store page for months now. That's how concerned Microsoft is about your concerns....
    The Store has become a lawless Wild West and those little promises aren't gonna help much.
  • Ahh, I was wondering about that. I wasn't sure what the heck was happening.
  • Yes, please remove fake apps, and improve search for first party apps. Hard to find the current messenger apps for 10M, should improve once finished.
  • Microsoft depends on those fake apps for showing off what great number of apps Windows store has.
  • Agreed, there needs to be a more robust, and effective, reporting system in place.
  • Could remove those useless apps from the wp store too
  • Exactly
  • Like the official Facebook app
  • ..and instagram beta~ lel
  • A lot of the spam reviews are FROM the developers, so good job letting them (not) delete their own good reviews
  • Including those audiobook-as-an-app and book-as-an-app. God I hate those. It's like having a music album as an app (im sure they are there and I haven't seen them yet)
  • Remove spam and useless client apps too.. Promote official apps.
  • Except youtube , instagram and twitter client. They are far better than the official one.
  • Only some of them. Most of them are just wrappers around the mobile website with a nice, well placed advertisement banner as a bonus!
  • No, promote the best, most highly rated apps, which aren't always "official". Posted from this here device.
  • Official apps... Please come to my 1520
  • I hope apps start coming to the windows store.
  • May be the developer could capture the comment username and send out a reminder to update after addressing the problem/new version?
  • Normal being don't count for app number but they want few quality apps n large amount of games from big devs
  • Agreed! Quality over quantity
  • About time
  • The reviews have become old. New reviews dint get updated. Still there are 1 or 2 yr old written reviews.
  • Windows 10 store always displays the newest reviews. Both Phone and PC.
  • Yeah but if affects your overall rating. People who have rated my app low because features they want aren't there, don't come back and update the review when you add them!
  • This. I once saw a really good app but it had a bad rating because it wasn't working in the previous version. People give bad reviews and never come back
  • Have you contacted those people. I increased my rating for Catapult King as the developer emailed and said they'd addressed my criticism ( the overall review had been positive). I was impressed that they had both fixed and taken the time to contact me and re-rated.
  • They should do what Google do - where the ratings are heavily weighted to the current version.
    Apple do the same thing.
  • Apple even shows a separate rating for the whole life of the app and the current version. That's something that Microsoft needs to copy.
  • Yes. Google will show if a person reviewed a previous version of an app. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I can imagine there are feedback comments that could be potentially abusive. But if a comment is negative but argumentative and gives one or two stars, does that count as abusive too? Will that skew the rating system so that we will only see 4 or 5 star reviews crowding the top rated app space? How will users find their way through that. Users could perhaps wirte comments that are viewed as abusive. But what will microsoft do to prevent developers from manipulating comments to give a false impression of a top rated app. Such practices happen too unfortunately which gives a poor sense management of quality management of app ratings in a store. The same happens with product reviews as well.
  • The fact that Microsoft have removed the update history of an app I don't know what tricks they are going to pull next. I'm quite sure it's not gonna be good, in the users perspective at least.
  • @matt Update history was removed so that no one would know how old an app is.
  • I know. It was a dirty trick from Microsoft and quite frankly a shameful act.
  • They have put in tools to allow developers to respond to abusive reviews, including reporting them to Microsoft Support, but it is Microsoft who has the decision whether to remove. The only automated removal is for spam reviews, not abusive reviews.  The thing about negative reviews is that now a developer can publicly post a reply or response to them, or reply privately to the poster to help make the app better.
  • Ability to remove unwanted apps on My App List please!
  • Yes, this!
  • Ditto
  • That would be great. Stuck with Nokia Xpress and a few other discontinued applications...!
  • Dear Microsoft, give credible apps first :)
  • Can anyone tell me with credible info whether there are fake apps in iOS App Store too?
  • iOS/apple have a different method for when releasing apps to their store. So basically apple monitor and try the apps out for themselves before releasing to the public; they have verified mechanisms in place with high contraists unlike the windows 10 store. Microsoft are more lenient in terms of its app releases. However, Microsoft are working closely with legit developers to resolve this predicament.
  • Thanks for the insight into Apple process! Microsoft sucks in filtering and monitoring of apps.
  • And they wonder why iOS app ecosystem is so healthy.
  • Microsoft tries the app before releasing to public too, I know for certain.
  • How do so Manny shitty wrappers make it past their review then??
  • Is there any policy against wrappers? I mean the tester test the app against some defined rules. If the rules are stupid they have to follow them. There is no connection between your objection and the fact that the apps are tested.
  • Apple takes 7-10 days to certificate an app (google 1 hour, Microsoft 2 days), definitively too long, but if devs are more protected, it s good at the end....
  • Hey but why store never had wishlist cause its really handy and needed
  • Microsoft should port only those apps which are worth for that. There are unlimited number of fake/apps in Windows store.
  • What the store needs is better app search.. sometimes if you don`t search for the exact name with capitals you don`t get your find.. also have fun trying to search for Facebook Beta or MixRadio .. just an example .. you won`t find them .. at least on my 930 with Win 10 i can`t.. i had to use the direct download link from WC to get FacebookBeta.
  • Some apps are not supposed to be found by searching the Store but only through direct download links. It's intentional.
  • Yes but the statement above is right. The store search is messed up. You cannot find an app by its meta names/terms given by the dev. And beside this it shows apps with the same name or category higher ranked then "better" apps. An example is where apps with none or 1 review are above apps with 500 reviews or even 4000 review globally. Where is the logic?! I know Microsoft implemented an algorithm to check on everything on the app like its on the start screen of the user, how many crashes does it have, the reviews and install count. But what if i make a plain simple app without any crashes and get 1 review and 100 download my app will be above some really good apps that crash sometimes and have more downloads and a lot of more reviews. What then?! The whole store algorithm is messed up and since Windows 10 i see only a drop in my apps download count before 10 it was rising. And no there are not more quality apps since then in the same category. Its just up to the store. The store does not value quality equal. Functions doesn't matter and how well your apps is just how often it crashes and how often its on the start screen. Im tempted to build a stupid app to prove this, really.
  • Out of all the wp apps in the store, hardly 5% will be originally developed by the service providers like Whatsapp, Viber, Twitter etc.
    More than 70% are fake in the remaining, which are useless shit.
    Rest 25% are 3rd party app substitutes which may or may not be as good as original.
  • So would this be a Not Helpful, Abusive, Spam comment? Posted from this here device.
  • Many review are useless anyway in any platform.
  • They could fix the search... You sometimes have to write the exact name of a program instead of keywords.
  • I'd like to see statistics on the countries of origin of the reviews; totals in addition to the origin of the review.
  • Together with the devices they're using.
  • Maybe the fact that Microsoft changes my reviews in store is the most annoying, I wrote a review, I hated the app it was bad, when I posted the review, it was on top of the list BUT instead of 1 star it was changed to 4 stars with a "good" as comment... That's A for lying and taking right of opinion... Microsoft is so greedy anyway, I mean still at least $110 for a new windows..
  • Pretty much all windows apps are terrible honestly
  • How about taking the next step and deleting bogus apps?
  • 80% windows apps are no good. If u delete all the spam apps and other crap. The store becomes something to laugh at. Coz 50% of the store has crap apps and spam apps lol
  • Does the new "respond to review" actually mean that you can post a review with a question now? I've also been submitting feedback for a long time asking for a spot for devs to put in contact info. Or a "contact the developer" button.
  • Bring more WP apps to Windows 10 app store.
  • I have and must professionally support all brands of mobile. There are far more crap apps than good apps on all 3 flavors. I also believe that W10M store will benefit from having good apps, regardless of the desire to have lots of apps. What I mean by that is the App Gap is far less about the total number of apps available, as it is about the missing highly sought after apps. When an excellent app is published, it doesn't stay a secret for very long. And all the crap apps in that same category are quickly ignored.  
  • Will this also remove the pathetic fake applications that are all over the place! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Dear Microsoft, please, I want to also be able to permanently remove Apps that I don't like from my App list. How difficult can that be?
  • Rather than giving this right to the developers, empower users to report any fake reviews by liking or disliking a review. This will be a more DEMOCRATIC way of dealing with this issue...