MobileCrunch has a huge post up detailing the latest, and potentially one of the most brazen cases of fake iPhone reviews (astroturfing) to date.
To sum up, MobileCrunch claims PR firm Reverb Communications has been using fake iTunes accounts to deliberately and strategically post fake App Store reviews for their clients -- some of which are fairly recognizable names in the iPhone and iPod touch development space. According to an anonymous tipster:
Reverb employs a small team of interns who are focused on managing online message boards, writing influential game reviews, and keeping a gauge on the online communities. Reverb uses the interns as a sounding board to understand the new mediums where consumers are learning about products, hearing about hot new games and listen to the thoughts of our targeted audience. Reverb will use these interns on Developer Y products to post game reviews (written by Reverb staff members) ensuring the majority of the reviews will have the key messaging and talking points developed by the Reverb PR/marketing team.
Reverb has responded-ish to the claims, and MobileCrunch to the response, so check out the full article for all the annoying details.
Bottom-line remains, however, that if you make great apps, people will tend to find them. If you make great publicity absent a great app, people will only find disappointment and hold a grudge against the next app. So, stick to making great apps, and leave the game playing to the users, b'okay?