Ever Buy An App You Didn't Use: App Store's Got Skeletons

By HTMLGoodies Staff

The average iPhone user already knows Apple's App Store's secret: applications that were purchased and downloaded, only to be removed later--because the reviews shown on the App Store weren't quite justified. No surprise: application developers are writing the reviews to promote their own apps and deride those of competitors.

Most iPhone users rely on the App Store's ranking systems and customer reviews when selecting apps. Krishna Subramanian, founder of Mobclix, a mobile ad exchange marketplace, agrees, stating that "the Top 25 list is the thing that drives distribution." The problem arises when app developers, or the PR firms they hire, spike the drink, as it were. Last year MobileCrunch maintained that Reverb Communications, which does public relations for game publishers and developers, did just this with customer reviews. Speaking of Reverb, they wrote that, "Among its various tactics? [Reverb] hires a team of interns to trawl iTunes and other community forums posing as real users, and has them write positive reviews for their client's applications."

App developers are using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote their apps with better, more legitimate results. With so many applications available,iPhone users need better indicators than Apple's ranking system and customer reviews. Social networking enables peer-based reviews, which is more apt to be a legitimate method of evaluating an app. Better yet, Apple could release customer data to developers so they know who is buying their apps to ensure a better match between application and customer.

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