Gmail, Messenger and WhatsApp spark Google Play fake review conspiracy

The app stores are more competitive every day and app publishers are looking for more intelligence and organic advantages in order to build a sustainable mobile business.

The Google play store specifically is suffering from an epidemic of fake reviews as numerous top-downloaded apps – including Gmail, Chrome, Messenger, WhatsApp, Firefox and more – are getting inundated with heaps of what appears to be spammy five-star ratings.

While the total magnitude of the fake reviews remains unclear, one peculiar detail they share is that all of them wrongly refer to ‘games’ and other game-related features like winning bonuses and so on. Apps like Gmail, Chrome, Messenger and Firefox have all received close to 5,000 suspicious positive reviews referencing ‘games’ since February 2017.

What makes this unusual occurrence even more suspicious is that fake reviews tend to be rather expensive on Google Play, with each review costing $1 on average.As someone pointed out on Reddit last week, one possible scenario is that fake reviewers are sending review bots to rate popular apps in an effort to improve their own credibility. Still, this is all merely a speculation for now.

Fake reviews aren’t limited to the app store, either. People have been doing this for years on Amazon and it’s estimated that up to a third of online reviews are fake.


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