The $300 Bribe, Or, On How Not To Get An App Featured On iLounge (Updated) | iLounge Backstage

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The $300 Bribe, Or, On How Not To Get An App Featured On iLounge (Updated)

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, December 7, 2009
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It’s going to be very, very interesting to see where stories for this particular application wind up—we’ve omitted the name and related details so that no press is given to this title.

“Hi there,

I’m [omitted] of [omitted], creator [omitted].

I’m developing the new version of [omitted] ([omitted] 2).

In order to promote my new version, I’d like to sell some more copies of the original [omitted] and spread the word of our upcoming application.

I’m willing to pay 300$ (USD) if you’ll write an article about [omitted] where you’ll mention about an upcoming version ([omitted] 2).
I’ll be able to pay you right after the article is published and you sent me a link - please include your paypal email

Let me know what you think

Thanks in advance,

[omitted]”

The e-mail was sent to multiple members of our staff. We’ve already seen a story on it appear elsewhere. It’s not coming anywhere near iLounge.

Updated: Far from being shamed by an e-mail chiding him for trying to offer money for coverage, the developer increased his offer to $500.

Updated, Again: The developer is the creator of “Wobble.” You can see his subsequent attempts to offer cash for coverage here.

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Comments

1

So what app is it?

Posted by Richard Felix on December 7, 2009 at 9:22 AM (PDT)

2

Yes, name please!  How can you properly shame horrible behavior without shaming the perpetrator of that horrible behavior as well?

Posted by Chris on December 7, 2009 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

3

Though it’d be nice to know the name of the app, I agree with not disclosing it as to not encourage developers to use unethical means of gaining publicity for their wares.

I can think of a number of ways to generate positive buzz for an app, including writing a really good app and giving it away for free for a short period of time. And if they’ve got money to burn, they could always legitimately sponsor Web sites and podcasts, rather than seeking to bribe people.

Posted by cxc273 on December 7, 2009 at 11:14 AM (PDT)

4

So you’ll not even review through your normal course of reviewing apps?

Posted by amy! on December 7, 2009 at 1:22 PM (PDT)

5

I don’t understand the big deal. It is common in the industry to pay companies such as ZD and others to review your application. It doesn’t mean the review will be positive and I don’t see him asking for such a review.

The only problem I see is that he is wanting to pay after the review, which is typically not the way it works. You pay and HOPE for a good a review.

So other than that, what is the issue?

Posted by Victoria on December 7, 2009 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

6

“It is common in the industry to pay companies such as ZD and others to review your application. It doesn’t mean the review will be positive”

Well, of course not - what possible link could there be between positive reviews and repeat business?

Posted by Neil on December 8, 2009 at 2:52 AM (PDT)

7

Hi Jeremy,
Unfortunately such a practice isn’t something new in journalism. Good thing that iLounge keeps its integrity, I’d be so upset otherwise.

Posted by Aki on December 8, 2009 at 5:21 AM (PDT)

8

“what possible link could there be between positive reviews and repeat business?”

Neil,

This is not the case. For example Miercom charges 10K per review for Telecom and SIP Phone reviews. They give the possitive and the negative of each company they review and sometimes there are no possitives.

From a business perspective, we are going to pay whomever the consumers are reading to review our product. If we fail in our review then its our own fault and sometimes we do. But the reviewers are in this business for money and always have been. So it is nothing more than an expense and there is no other way into these companies.

Software, Hardware, Movie Reviews, Microsoft comments on Partner Products, Movie on-line comments from USA Today etc, Emmy, Grammy, MTV Awards etc etc…. All of them were purchased “entries”, but the results were not.

Posted by Victoria on December 8, 2009 at 8:10 AM (PDT)

9

Well, it asked for mention - not a good review.  So mention their name in this scathing blog and collect your money.  hehe

Posted by johnmcboston on December 11, 2009 at 10:16 AM (PDT)

10

The sad thing is, this person is most likely new to development, and hasn’t been taught the ethics on how to do business in a professional manor.  And therefor think nothing was done wrong…........

Posted by jwc110869 on December 18, 2009 at 2:40 PM (PDT)

11

He offered TechCrunch $1000… lol

Posted by Sarah on January 15, 2010 at 3:15 AM (PDT)

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