Apple trashes all App Store reviews from non-customers

By Justin Mann on February 27, 2009, 5:05 PM
In the early days of the Apple App Store, feedback could be given for applications much in the same way you can for products on Newegg, Amazon and many other sites to help people make a purchasing decision. Given that word of mouth is one of the most important advertising tools, this is a good incentive for developers to make good software. Unfortunately, Apple found that their reviews were often tainted, getting both positive and negative reviews from people who hadn't actually used the application in question. The end result was Apple prohibiting non-customers from submitting feedback, though it still left a massive amount of reviews left.

That move came in September of last year, and now Apple has finished cleaning up the mess by deleting all reviews posted by non-customers. Reviews submitted by current customers are still intact, though it did leave many developers with significantly less reviews to use as references for their software.

As easy as it is to criticize Apple over some of their App Store policies, this one is a pretty fair move. If you aren't an actual Apple customer, or haven't even purchased the application in question, it's not very fair to be offering feedback on it. There's always room for corruption in any feedback system, such as developers reviewing their own products or paying for positive ones, but by at least this way they are reducing those possibilities. In this fashion, do you side with Apple or do you think it is unfair for them to prevent non-customers from leaving feedback?




User Comments: 9

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DarkCobra said:
I've often been troubled by sites that allow all kinds of "trolls" to just trash a product whether they've actually used it or not. The "fanboy" mentality is literally making a joke out of quite a few electronic blogging sites. However, I'm curious just how Apple is determining "WHO" is an actual "USER" of a product. This article uses the verbiage of "customer" as the determinant. How is that determined?I can buy an Ipod and related equipment anywhere. I may or may not register it or sign up to use the Apple Store. How would such a legitimate owner/user of the product render comment on their site now? Overall, I like what they are trying to accomplish. Just honest reviews from people who actually have and use the product.[Edited by DarkCobra on 2009-02-27 18:12:39]
Rick said:
[b]Originally posted by DarkCobra:[/b][quote]This article uses the verbiage of "customer" as the determinant. How is that determined?I can buy an Ipod and related equipment anywhere. I may or may not register it or sign up to use the Apple Store. How would such a legitimate owner/user of the product render comment on their site now?[/quote]I *think* you are assuming a customer is any owner of any Apple product. What *I* think they mean by "customer" is someone who purchased the reviewed app itself. People who own iPhones and iPods would not be customers - only if they bought the app. If you buy an app from the app store, you obviously have an iTunes account. At this point, it's pretty easy to keep track of and seems like the most fair way to do it.I also can't help but think that Apple planned this all along -- It was just an easy way to quick influx of reviews and now that the 'community' has been well established, they're wiping the slate clean but still have plenty of reviews left over.
DarkCobra said:
OK, thanks Rick I think I see it now. They are clearly only referring to software "applications" and not their hardware products. My bad, as I mistakenly thought they were referring to Apple products (which would include the hardware).
captain828 said:
So what about the jailbroken iPhones?
Julio said:
Jailbroken iPhones can still use the App store so I don't see the limitation there.Speaking of Apple and user reviews, the other day I was surprised to see a glaring exception to Apple fanboyism. My Macbook Pro charger broke a few weeks ago and reviews at Apple.com for it criticize it harshly (2/5 stars) because it seems it's just a matter of time until those break, sometimes as little as a year after use. Yet many of those same users confess to keep buying Apple products.
captain828 said:
[b]Originally posted by Julio:[/b][quote]Jailbroken iPhones can still use the App store so I don't see the limitation there.[/quote]I was referring to apps not bought from the App store, but are available there. But then again you can't quite control that.[quote]Speaking of Apple and user reviews, the other day I was surprised to see a glaring exception to Apple fanboyism. My Macbook Pro charger broke a few weeks ago and reviews at Apple.com for it criticize it harshly (2/5 stars) because it seems it's just a matter of time until those break, sometimes as little as a year after use. Yet many of those same users confess to keep buying Apple products.[/quote]For how long have you used that charger? have you changed it already?Also, how expensive is it?IMHO, most fanboys don't even own a certain product yet they still praise it. I'd call that fanaticism rather than fanboyism.We've all seen posts from fanatic fanboys (be they Apple, AMD, nVidia etc.) and most of the time they don't even own that certain product, but they praise it to the heavens. They also curse competing products to hell and back, again most of them not even using them or downright refusing to use them (Vista anyone?).note: I don't own any Apple products, though I have used many and my general opinion about them is that most of them (not all) are overpriced and overrated compared to current competing products.I also don't enjoy bashing something without solid arguments.[Edited by captain828 on 2009-02-28 03:16:29]
sngx1275 said:
The 'sensationalist' headline is a bit out of place when you later claim it 'fair'.
captain828 said:
[b]Originally posted by sngx1275:[/b][quote]The 'sensationalist' headline is a bit out of place when you later claim it 'fair'.[/quote]I agree with that, "remove" would have been a more suitable word.
nazartp said:
I'm no huge fan of Apple, but believe that practice is fair. I purchase a lot of parts from Newegg and photo equipment from B&H and customer reviews are a valuable input. Quite often, though, you see either fans or critics just pile it without any regard to actual value of the product. Neither Newegg nor B&H delete posts from non-customers, but they at least clearly mark the ones coming from the actual product owners.
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