AppGate: App review sites ask for money in exhange for reviews

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In the fine tradition of lazily naming any sort of controversy after Watergate, I hereby present AppGate. It seems that certain iPhone App developers are paying low-rent “review” sites for favorable reviews, thereby creating the false impression that their App is cool and everything.

Wired gets the gold stat for unearthing this scandal, which has centered on two sites (so far), ThePhoneAppReview.com and AppCraver.com. The gist of it is that these sites charge App developers for the “privilege” of being reviewed. You want us to review your App? Sure, just give us $X-Amount first. That is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, and I don’t use the word “literally” in the watered down sense of the word. No, I mean it’s the Billy Madison most insanely idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.

The money comes in one of a few forms. Sites will charge developers in order to “expedite” any review. So, Site A asks Joe Developer for $X-Amount in order to review his App before it reviews Jane Developer’s App. (Funny story: I remember once being asked by a public relations person where their App review was in my review queue. Amazing, considering I don’t have an iPhone and never agreed to any App review in the first place!)

Sometimes a site will say, “Well, we’ll review your App, but you need to pay in order to help defray the costs of writing said review.” If that’s the case, an App developer should merely say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Then again, I’m not an iPhone App developer, so I don’t know the pressures these folks are under to get the word out there about their cool new App.

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