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Review moderation needed at iPhone App Store?

All the banished apps from sent packing from the software market after it was discovered that the developer Molinker had posted fake reviews to mislead consumers. And they weren’t going about half-heartedly either. Apparently, 90 per cent of ‘customer reviews’ were falsified.

So how to feel about this? Well, with the exception of Molinker’s money men, no-one’s going to shed any tears about the apps that have been dispatched. Not least because they were iFart-style joke shop/novelty apps of the kind that too often clog up the App Store.

molinker

But we can’t help noticing that the move brings with it a new set of ramifications for Apple’s – let’s face it all-too-often - peripatetic drive to police the wares on sale.

As it is, the store is already home to some grade-a chicanery on the part of developers, in the form of rip-off apps that don’t do what they say on the tin. And you can bet that the especially unscrupulous among them will be rubbing their hands at today's news. If only for the opportunity it affords them to land rival developers in trouble with our Cupertino-based chums.

After all, what’s to stop posting fake reviews on competitors’ sites with a view to getting them sent packing from the store? Very little it seems.

How to tackle it, though? Well we figure that what’s needed is some kind of moderation committee for reviews. It need not be censorious and heavy-handed. That’s the last thing anyone wants. But at the very least it ought to filter out transparently duplicate users and obviously falsified reviews.

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