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BlackBerry Responds to Fake BBM Reviews on Google Play

By - Source: TheNextWeb | B 20 comments

BlackBerry may have paid a service to inject fake five-star reviews for its Android app.

This was a big week for BlackBerry Limited, as the company released its BlackBerry Messenger service for Android phones and the iPhone on Monday. The company claimed that over 10 million downloads were served up in the first 24 hours, and traffic was so heavy that users had to literally wait in line to use the service once the app was installed.

But now there's a bit of controversy surrounding the new chat client. Jump on Google Play and load up the BlackBerry Messenger listing, and you'll find a number of five-star reviews that say the exact same message. "Thank you so much BlackBerry team," these reviews read. "I was waiting for this app. It's really great, user friendly and smooth."

Those are not the only duplicate five-star reviews. "Nice and fun back Great!!!" reads another set of duplicate five-star reviews. "Can connect and use smoothly like my bb unit!!! Keep it up!"

So what's going on? Is BlackBerry Limited inflating the app's review score with fake reviews? Or are Android customers merely being lazy and cutting/pasting reviews already loaded up on the product page? Tech blogger Terence Eden, who originally investigated the issue, states that when he publishes and app on Google Play, he's typically bombarded by companies that offer a paid service to inject five-star reviews.

"Whenever I launch an app on Android, I'm immediately inundated with emails from companies promising me thousands of 5* reviews for only a few hundred dollars. I've never taken up their offer - it's unethical, probably illegal, and usually very obvious when a company has purchased their reviews," he writes.

Naturally, BlackBerry Limited denies involvement. "We have been made aware of a number of potentially fake reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play, with ratings anywhere from one to five stars," a company spokesperson told TheNextWeb. "We have no knowledge of how these reviews were created or populated. We do not approve of or condone such activities. There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels."

But there are "hundreds" of nearly identical reviews. One even shows the "thank you so much review", but also includes a message supposedly from the BlackBerry Messenger team telling the fake reviewer to post the message on Google Play. Whoops.

Eden speculates that one of the fake BlackBerry Messenger apps has tried to generate good reviews for itself, and somehow posted the reviews on the official app's page instead. The thing is, whether BlackBerry Limited paid a marketing firm to inject fake reviews or not, the client doesn't need fake five-star reviews: there are plenty of legitimate five-star opinions as well as the negative ones. Thus his theory about the fake app could be possible.

Still, what makes this whole ordeal suspicious is that the company needed this service to launch with positive reviews, and as we've seen in the past, injecting fake five-star reviews isn't uncommon for many app developers, unfortunately.

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Display 20 Comments.
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  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , October 25, 2013 8:33 AM
    Eh, if nothing else, we now know how to make a company *look* really shady if we want to discredit them upon the release of a new app - post a bunch of positive reviews with doctored up copies of e-mails from that company asking for the reviews to be posted for money.

    Oddly enough though, I know a lot of people who have been asking for this for years.
  • 4 Hide
    aracheb , October 25, 2013 8:38 AM
    they didn't need to do this. why?
    their product is outstanding super B+
  • 3 Hide
    tburns1 , October 25, 2013 9:20 AM
    they didn't need to do this. why?
    their product is outstanding super B+
  • 2 Hide
    spentshells , October 25, 2013 9:25 AM
    they didn't need to do this. why?
    their product is outstanding super B+
  • 3 Hide
    pacomac , October 25, 2013 9:40 AM
    they didn't need to do this. why?
    their product is outstanding super B+
  • 1 Hide
    irish_adam , October 25, 2013 9:41 AM
    C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!

    anyways, if this had happened when they first talked about this idea i may have been interested as quite a few of my friends had blackberrys but now they've all traded them in for android so i dont see the point
  • 0 Hide
    pacomac , October 25, 2013 9:44 AM
    Interestingly enough this is common practice, especially for big companies with lots of cash. There are outfits out there from whom you can buy rankings. sad but true!
  • 0 Hide
    tolham , October 25, 2013 9:51 AM
    C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!

    anyways, if this had happened when they first talked about this idea i may have been interested as quite a few of my friends had blackberrys but now they've all traded them in for android so i dont see the point
  • 0 Hide
    irish_adam , October 25, 2013 10:12 AM
    >_> can we fix this problem where you refresh the page and you double post please?

  • 2 Hide
    Moonspell , October 25, 2013 10:18 AM
    This isn't even news worthy in my opinion. What concerns me is that any competitor could have easily shelled out the money to have the same effect and here the author implies that BB did it themselves. Easy to spot the anti-BB bias these days.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , October 25, 2013 10:27 AM
    There have been rumours of Microsoft and Apple both doing this for years. Take any reviews you read online with a heap of salt.
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , October 25, 2013 10:48 AM
    Most people should be able to spot original thoughts anyway. In most cases, I think people have already made up their minds whether to try the app or not. I requires 'friend' codes, right? I'd assume potential users probably talked to actual friends, and would choose their input over a bunch of silly comments.
  • 2 Hide
    1991ATServerTower , October 25, 2013 11:11 AM
    Moonspell wrote: "This isn't even news worthy in my opinion. What concerns me is that any competitor could have easily shelled out the money to have the same effect and here the author implies that BB did it themselves. Easy to spot the anti-BB bias these days."

    Yup. This one of the reasons I have no interest in making games for the wild west cesspool that is "google play". It's full of ways to abuse content creators, including massive, out of control pirating of paid apps...

    Also, this anti-Blackberry bias makes me want to vomit. It's so pathetic that these "online journalists" (aka, biased douche bags with no understanding of journalism) are taken seriously by readers these days. Screw morals and credibility - we have ad revenue!

    /vomit
  • 0 Hide
    _Cosmin_ , October 25, 2013 1:35 PM
    They all blame BBY for their "open access on servers from big-brother-nsa/cia/etc" but they all want to use that shity messenger app...it is the new fb !
  • -1 Hide
    infernocy , October 25, 2013 3:06 PM
    what is the difference from whatsapp and viber ? why we need this ?
  • 0 Hide
    vern72 , October 25, 2013 4:47 PM
    Quote:
    >_> can we fix this problem where you refresh the page and you double post please?


    I think you're missing the joke...
  • 0 Hide
    Macy John , October 25, 2013 9:18 PM
    It has Samsung written all over it! They just got fined in Taiwan for giving money to students to write crap about HTC!
    It's been a great week for Blackberry and naturally they want to steal their buzz!
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 25, 2013 11:26 PM
    I think everything is speculation at this point, but I don't see why BlackBerry would ever need to resort to fake reviews with the spectacular launch of BBM.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 26, 2013 12:07 AM
    I hope BBM succeeds, because if the handsets take any more of a dip then they might do a Sega
  • 0 Hide
    irish_adam , October 26, 2013 4:06 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    >_> can we fix this problem where you refresh the page and you double post please?


    I think you're missing the joke...


    no i didnt, i edited that comment in after i refreshed the page to see new comments and i reposted the comment i made from before. which happens all the time which is why we get so many multi posts