(Un)believable App Store reviews

September 8, 2009
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Anonymity of any kind always merits a yellow flag, if not a red one, and it’s causing problems on Apple’s booming App Store, the online site where applications can be downloaded for the popular iPhone.

Increasingly, anonymous comments about the 65,000 applications are coming under fire for being, well, less than authentic.

The blog MobileCrunch reported late last month that a PR firm is ginning sales for its app developer clients by hiring interns to write positive reviews while posing as actual users.

The comments have never been pure, but, as Business Week reports, the pressure to score big hits is rising as the list of potential applications dwindles.

How do you feel about anonymous comments at the App Store—or anywhere else for that matter? How much stock to you place in them?
 

 

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  • Great piece, Norm! Good comments are good comments whether they are manufactured or not. Keep in mind, competitors can make comments in the same forum and often do. I value comments because descriptions of the app that Apple allows rarely describe user experience. I also think most people can detect a line of BS when they see it. A teenager is likely not going to write on and on about a waverunner game. So as long as what interns write is accuratt doesn't even qualify as spin in my book.
  • But hasn't this been the case at most online retailers for years? It's truly a "buyer beware" situation when it comes to believing any online product reviews or ratings. It's certainly no better at Apple's Itunes store; most of the music "reviews" read like they were written by a major label PR wonk.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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