iOS Developer Outs ‘Pay-for-Review’ Sites

One developer who is angry over web sites charging for expedited reviews of mobile game apps has decided to publicly call the web sites out. Luckily most people who consider themselves even casual gamers have never heard of these web sites, but apparently they have been running a racket for quite some time.

AppyNation iOS games developer Andrew Smith said in a post on his web site, that the practice of charging developers for game review exposure "is not journalism." I think most would agree with that statement. He added that sites that charge for reviews "cannot be objective, takes credibility away from the app and doesn't give consumers all the info." We agree with that statement as well.

Smith followed his comments by publishing the names of six websites that have been engaging in these questionable practices:

  • AppCraver
  • Tapscape
  • Best 10 Apps
  • The iPhone App Review
  • iPhone Toolbox
  • iPhone Footprint

One site highlighted in this C&VG report notes on its website that guaranteed coverage can be obtained for a mere $150. Well, isn't that special. Here's the wording from the site:

"For guaranteed coverage, we can expedite your review for $150. This ensures your app will be reviewed within seven business days."

The site's owners say that "expediting a review" doesn't "guarantee positive coverage."

But the broader point is an old story: if you have to pay for something that normally comes for free through some amount of effort then it probably isn't worth it. It reminds me of the age-old cons like paying for materials to get a job, or paying to get a book or a collection of poetry published…

Source: C&VG

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  1. 0
    faefrost says:

    My question is how quickly will this devolve into a protection racket? You must pay us for positive reviews or we will review bomb you? It seems to be rapidly devolving into a scary area.

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I have some mixed feelings about this.

    On the one hand, paying for reviews taints them pretty badly.

    On the other hand, the big players already have loads of ways to taint reviews in their favor, not to mention marketing department and existing brand recognition.

    Unless you have a network of people willing to plug your game or get lucky, getting the word out can be difficult, with many tools not available to small unknown developers.  I could see such sites evening the playing field, at least a little.

    It would probably, in many ways, be better to just buy some ad space.. but then you have to passively hope that some reviewer notices you and plays the game.  Nice when it happens, but there is a lot of luck involved there.

  3. 0
    Speeder says:

    I am a mobile developer.

    And I am going to pay for review expedition…

    Then people come complain and say that it should be free and whatnot…

    Well… It IS free… But  I don't want to wait 3 months in queue.

    Then the question is, why there are a 3 month queue?

    It is because mobile market is flooded with shovelware, and all the shovelware people are shoveling press releases on journalists…

    The issue is not journalists charging to review stuff, the issue is they HAVE TO charge, because otherwise very good apps might be reviewed only a LOOOONG time later, when the launch window is over and whatnot…

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