A recent study found that the Apple App Store and Google Play are failing to filter out fake and suspicious reviews from their platforms. The study found that as many as 25% of the top 100 apps on Google Play in certain popular categories have suspicious reviews, while in Apple’s App Store, the amount was 17%.
After conducting a large-scale analysis of reviews on apps with paid fake five-star reviews, a model was created for estimating the amount of suspicious activity. This was done across apps by benchmarking the dodgy apps uncovered against well-known and trusted apps in the same category. For example, 21% of top 100 health and fitness apps had suspicious reviews across both app stores.
It was discovered that review brokers and review groups, which trade in fake reviews, are the sources of app store fake reviews. The investigations found that some review brokers even pay Google to appear at the top of the search results. The report also noted that developers are reliant on users seeing and downloading their apps for revenue, and apps will go up the rankings based on installs and reviews.
When contacted, Apple stated that submitting fraudulent reviews is a violation of its license agreement, and developers who attempt to cheat the system may have their apps removed. Google would not provide a statement on the reviews research unless it had access to all of the research.
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