Apple boots developer and their over 1,000 apps from App Store over review scam

Apple Sale“Apple has taken action against app developer Molinker over alleged review fraud, resulting in the removal of all 1,000 of the company’s apps,” Brian Garner reports for AppleInsider.

“Thanks to the detective work of one intrepid app store enthusiast, Molinker – developer of close to one percent of all the apps available on the App Store – has been banned from the App Store and all of its apps have been removed,” Garner reports.

“The issue was first brought to light by photo blog iPhoneography in a post highlighting the concerns of one of its regular readers,” Garner reports. “Reader SCW had concluded that app developer Molinker had been using its promo codes to write fake 5-star reviews of many of its apps. Each review shared the same short, disjointed style and the reviewers had only written reviews for other Molinker apps.”

SCW laid out the case in a letter to Apple executive Phil Schiller. Garner reports, “Phil Schiller responded that Apple would look into the issue. On Sunday, both SCW and iPhoneography received word from Schiller confirming ‘Yes, this developer’s apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no long appear either.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Gee, Phil, you mean if an app doesn’t exist in the App Store, its ratings won’t either? Thank you, Mr. Obvious! But, seriously, good for Apple. Now if they can just get a handle on the rest of what’s broken with user reviews including the timely removal of user reviews that are obviously in error or outright libelous, they’d really be cooking with gas.

23 Comments

  1. @Sam
    And this too is a good point. I’m more and more dubious about many reviews I see for app store products – for or against a given product. In fact it’s gotten to the point where I really cannot give a product’s reviews much credence if there aren’t several hundred, and better yet, a few thousand. That way I can skim through many reviews a get feel for which ones are obviously subterfuge and which ones are the impressions of real end-users. I wondered how long it would take for this to become an issue on the app store – it’s certainly been an issue with product reviews at other internet sites.

  2. Molinker is a Chinese based developer company that basically produced cheap knock-offs of other apps. Indeed, a number of their apps were simply travel guides that *appear* to have been copied directly from Wikipedia. Apple is losing nothing by dumping them from the App Store — and gaining a lot by showing developers that they won’t tolerate these shenanigans.

  3. The app reviews are all a con anyway. You get developers friends downloading the apps and then putting up a biased review just to boost the rankings.

    Also, competing developers post negative reviews of similar software just to slam their competitors.

    Apple really needs to make this work somehow!

  4. If there is anything more useless than 90 000 of iCraplets then it would be iTunes reviews: there is no freaking way you can tell a good app from bad based on those reviews. Many cooked by developers themselves. Many of them are just competition bashing. Some by mindless teens looking for free games only. The list goes on…

    MDN MW: stop – how appropriate.

  5. I’d like to see reviewers get reviewed and have the reviews weighted. ie a credible longstanding reviewer gets a 5 their review is a 5 so 25pts. A new reviewer gets a 1 and give a 5 their total is 5.

    Now we need someone to review the review reviewers.

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