The bad thing about the App Store (an email to Kotaku)

Dear Luke and Stephen,

I received the following email today and thought you might find it interesting. As you are aware a large part of making money on the App Store is down to how well reviewed your app is as this contributes, in a very real way, to Apple featuring it on the front page of the store as well as increasing consumer confidence when purchasing your app. Several developers apps have already been removed from the App Store for gaming the system (one of which I think you reported on last year).

What you can see from the email, copied below, is that there is at least one company offering to ‘game’ the review system on your behalf by adding reviews to your apps. This will boost perception, sales and possibly get your app featured by Apple. I am writing to you as Nnooo are not in the business of trying to con or pull a fast one on its users and tempting as it is to start doing what everyone else is doing we believe that in the long term it is only bad for consumer confidence and downloadable sales in general. In many ways Nnooo are reluctant to continue supporting the iPhone and iPod touch because of exactly these sorts of practices. The fact that there has been a gold rush and the fact that so many developers use as many cheats, hacks or ways of gaming the system to maximise sales just goes to show how flawed an enterprise it is in our opinion. Don’t get me wrong great software will always flourish but realistically should developers really be expected to spend so much of their time trying to:

  • Update their app on a weekly basis to get it constantly in the ‘new releases’ section
    • Shouldn’t new releases be for ‘new’ releases?
  • Pay companies to write reviews in the user review section so they can have a better positive to negative review score?
  • Flood the market with the same app under different names
  • Add insanely long names which contain every possible search option within the title just so said app can appear top of searches
  • Add names of popular apps to the description of your own app so again your app appears higher in the search rankings
  • And so forth.

What happened to having scruples? If the App Store is really that great for developers why do people feel they need to go to such lengths just to get their software noticed? Is it really a good thing that the top 10 apps changes infrequently? Does that not show that people are 1) finding the store hard to browse and 2) only buying what is being advertised by Apple or in the top 10 already?

I hope that Apple can fix these situations out as the iPhone, iPod touch and soon to be released iPad are all great devices with a bright future. However consumers are only going to continue to purchase software if they feel confident using the services provided. If consumers are consistently having their hands bitten by cheats and buggy poor software or if they cannot find what they want for the flood of crap reaching the top of the searches they will be put off sooner rather than later.

I’ll chuck this email up on our blog too later today (

Thanks in advance.

Nic Watt

Below is the email I received today in regards to paying to have people write good reviews for our iPhone and iPod touch apps.

We noticed that you have a impressive portfolio of iPhone applications including Pop Chill, Pop, and Pop Lite. Competition has never been tougher and discoverability in the AppStore is becoming the number one concern for developers. How are you spending your ad budget and are you happy with the results?

Our past experience shows that the ROI with traditional advertising doesn’t work out unless you have a massive advertising budget to push your way up the category rankings. For a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising, we can get your apps up the AppStore rankings and at the same time get unbiased written iTune AppStore reviews.

We are not an advertising network. We take the guess work out from traditional CPM and CPC advertisements. We acquire users and reviews for our clients on a fixed cost per user basis in a direct accountable manner. We help our clients bootstrap and gather feedback to improve their apps.

We’re extremely happy to announce that we recently launched the much anticipated Application Directory and self-service portal for developers to create review campaigns for any of your applications. Prices start at only $1.99 per review.

Come check out the new developer portal at and start your campaign today. We also offer Featured and Rush campaigns to get you hundreds of reviews in a matter of days to boost your app rankings in iTunes. You may also be interested in signing up as a reviewer at to see the developers in our directory who have already discovered the benefits of using AppRebates.

Lets talk, contact us at or me personally at the email address provided above.

Minimize your risk, take some of the budget you are directing to advertising and we’ll show you better results.


Francis Duong

Co-Founder | Ignition Mobile