App Store is the only way to install apps on your iPhone and iPad. One of the key USP of the App Store is its reliability, and the fact that ‘Apple checks every app before it goes live on the App Store.’ A new report details the increasing numbers of fake reviews and ratings on the App Store, as well as the other fraudulent activities related to them.
Kosta Eleftheriou, app developer of the popular Fleksy keyboard recently called out Apple on social media for the same. His app, FlickType for Apple Watch has, majorly, good reviews. Some even call his app “a better keyboard than Apple’s stock keyboard for Apple Watch.” But, if you take a closer look at the ratings, you’ll notice that the app ratings have been brought down to 3.5 due to the increasing number of 1-star ratings.
The developer admits that some of the negative reviews are genuine, due to the limitations on the third-party keyboards by Apple as well as the bugs on the app. But the 3.5-star rating isn’t where his problems started.
Other developers, or as he calls them ‘scammer,’ have blatantly cloned his concept, serving the same purpose as his app, but have locked the user under an ‘eye-wateringly high subscription fees.’ Now, why would one pay for an app that serves the same thing, and is available for free right?
The App Store has a big problem👇
You: an honest developer, working hard to improve your IAP conversions.
Your competitor: a $2M/year scam running rampant.
— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) January 31, 2021
Wrong. These ‘scammers,’ have taken the help of third-party fake reviewers to rate their app with 5-star on the App Store. Higher ratings, in turn, helps the cloned app to float on top when searched. FlickType, which introduced the original concept, goes unnoticed.
He isn’t alone. Many developers have reported about fake review floating the App Store. For some, it’s even a business. A Google search for ‘buy iOS reviews’ returns search results with the headline
Selling fake reviews is a business now. There are certain companies that provide fake-positive reviews on the App Store and ‘guarantee’ that the review won’t get deleted from the App Store.
“These are proper, full blown companies, with support systems, and claims that their ratings won’t get deleted by Apple, unlike their competitors. It was shocking to see that this is an industry that is thriving.”
Apple, under its policies, warns developers of cheating the system. The guideline threatens to remove the app, as well as terminate the developer account. But, a lot of fake reviews and ratings are still on the App Store, and Apple has been urged, by a lot of developers, to do something about it.
Clone of the FlickType app has been removed since then. But, the developer earned over $300,000 in a month, just by selling a clone of another app.
A similar issue was reported way back in 2014, when the App Store was under similar scrutiny. Back then, Apple removed a couple of fake reviews and ratings from the App Store and issued new guidelines.