If you’re like us, you’ve noticed the suspicious reviews for BBM for Android in the Google Play Store recently. The reviews stacked up over the course of a few days, many of which were seemingly copied and pasted repeatedly, with reviews ranging from one to five stars.
BlackBerry was accused of “astroturfing,” driving up five star reviews as a way to improve the company’s image as well as the overall popularity of the application, even though it had clearly shown signs of popularity already. The company for its part has denied any association with the commenters or their comments and has in fact stated its disapproval of them.
“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 BlackBerry spokesperson told TNW. “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.”
Tech blogger Terence Eden noticed this phenomenon and posted the below image in a blog post as evidence that something fishy was indeed going on. The app had 182,000 comments at the time.
The structure and language of the reviews is common with spammers, although it wasn’t really evident that there was indeed some spamming going on until a higher frequency of the suspicious reviews occurred.
Will the fake reviews be deleted? It’s very likely that BlackBerry and Google will be looking to take them down, and hopefully soon. After a botched first attempt at launching BBM and the company’s well-documented woes, BlackBerry needs to give itself as good a reputation as it can, and even though it’s apparent they weren’t responsible for these reviews, it could still potentially reflect badly on them when it comes to the public at large.