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Apple Cleanses App Store of Old, Non-Customer Reviews

Steve Jobs and App Store icon
Steve Jobs and App Store icon (Image credit: iMore)

Seems Emoji aren't the only thing being scrubbed from the App Store today! MacRumors is reporting that old reviews made my users who hadn't actually downloaded the app they were reviewing are also being removed. Apple stopped non-users from reviewing apps a while back, this is just retroactively applying the new policy to the old reviews:

Several long standing apps have seen dramatic decreases in their review counts. SEGA's Super Monkey Ball count dropped from 4197 reviews down to 3710 while Namco's Pac Man dropped from 395 to 122.

Most everyone involved, from developers tired of no-good-nicks trying to game the system, to users tired of sorting through gamed or off-topic reviews, will likely appreciate this move. Maybe this is one rejection Apple's done right?

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • In addition to this, I think short, useless reviews which don't provide reasons for their ratings should also be deleted. I'm not talking censorship... just cleanliness.
    For example: "Dont buy this!" or "Doesnt work!" or "Best app ever!" or "Buy this app!"
    These types of reviews serve no purpose to anyone, and should be banished from the App Store. It's just worthless clutter and litter.
  • I typically think of censorship as, for example, the government telling a newspaper they can't publish something. If the newspaper's editors don't want to run something, however, that's editorial control.
    Just like we can't force NBC to air our home movie, we can't force Apple to publish our off-topic nonsense on their review platform.
    My thinking at least...
  • Well at least when I read "off-topic nonsense" reviews I can decide to ignore the ratings based on intuition. But no explanation at all of a rating leaves me no clue as to whether or not I should consider the rating. At least allow me to judge the reviewers intelligence with a few sentences, off-topic or not. ;)
  • "Most everyone involved, from developers tired of no-good-nicks trying to game the system, to users tired of sorting through gamed or off-topic reviews."
    Sorry but I don't understand this sentence I think it is missing the verb which has "Most everyone involved" as subject. However I am not a native english speaker so it may be the reason
  • I think this was a good move. A lot of the early apps have tainted reviews because people would just post "Too Expensive or Lower the price or this is a rip off" on pretty much any app that was over $1, for no reason other than I guess they thought everything should be free and no one should get compensated for their work.
    This is a step in the right direction, but a lot of apps still have bad reviews of people saying they crash just because they didn't reset their phone after they installed something new. Then they never update their review and so it hurts the app.
  • how about taking it a step further and remove those apps that haven't been downloaded in the past 6 months?
    This should remove a lot of the useless junk out there. And if these junk-apps developers don't like it, they can play with HTML and develop for the Pre. Leave Objective-C to the pros.
  • @Benoit:
    Thanks! Fixed!
  • @m.elwan: that might not work as well as you think. How many apps haven't been downloaded for 6 months? It's like spam email. Spam is viable because someone clicks on those "b uy v1grarn nerw!" emails often enough to make the spammer more money than it costs to send them out.
  • Instead of worrying about reviews how about implimenting a quality standard so we don't have to search through thousands of fart apps to get to something useful. Also how about forcing developers to put something new and useful in their apps rather than just copying ideas already out there.
  • this is good, but i agree with the above comment that this doesn't help nearly enough when it comes to finding quality applications.
  • i don't even read the app store reviews anymore because they're basically useless. most appear to be written by 12 year olds who don't even know what the app is supposed to do, never mind write a useful review. an example of this is the public radio tuner app. it's a really great app that clearly defines what it does in the description. however, it's gotten tons of one star reviews from illiterate idiots for only getting "gay" stations and/or not getting "b106" or "q102" in some unnamed city.
  • @Mile
    Last time Apple tried to raise the bar of quality, junk-apps developers (Pull my Finger was among the first of these developers) cried and whined. Most critics were complaining how the devs will stop developing for the iPhone, and thus, Apple was pressured to accept junk.
  • @firesign:
    I agree that there are a lot of (seemingly very young) "idiots" writing reviews. But at least it's pretty easy to just ignore them if they're long enough to identify. Reviews with painful-to-read sentences just tell me to move on and disregard their ratings because I still want to read the ones (even if only a few) which seem legitimate and written by functional human beings. This is why (as I mentioned above) I feel the reviews should be required to be of a minimum length (perhaps 80 characters or more) rather than a few short words. I want to be able to differentiate between the imbeciles and the more intelligent users. "Don't buy this app" doesn't reveal anything to me - that could either be written by a nimrod, or written by a knowledgeable developer for all I know. But if part of it reads "dun't bye this ap cuz it crashed an i h8 it" then I have all the information I need to ignore it and move on to the next one. Likewise, if someone hasn't enough to say to fill the minimum length requirement, then it couldn't help us anyway, and their review would be rejected.
  • It's good news that Apple is cleaning up some of the non-reviews. Wish they would also clean up some of the app listings. I've noticed apps gaming the search results by putting a list of unrelated, but popular apps in their store listing. It pollutes search results and is pretty insulting to some of the popular app developers. Try searching on Koi Pond and look at the unrelated results.