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iPhone app sites charging for reviews

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, March 19, 2010
News Categories: iPhone, Apps + Games, iPod

A number of iPhone app review sites are unscrupulously charging developers to have their applications reviewed, according to a Wired report. The practice of soliciting money in exchange for a review is not illegal, but is frowned upon by the Federal Trade Commission, which revised its guidelines covering blogger endorsements in October 2009 to require a disclosure whenever a review is written in exchange for money or gifts. “They prey on people who need exposure,” said Oliver Cameron, developer of the iPhone app Postman, who has actively avoided sites charging for reviews. “It strikes me as a paid ad, really. They never seem to actually ‘review’ it.” The report states that the two sites mentioned most by developers as engaging in the practice were theiphoneappreview.com and appcraver.com.

In addition to charging for reviews, some sites, including The iPhone App Review, openly charge developers for what they call “expedited” reviews, in which the paying developer’s app is given priority over other, standard reviews. The site’s editor-in-chief Shaun Campbell defended the practice, citing the large number of apps available on the store and saying it would be an “impossible task to review all the apps we receive, paid or unpaid.” “The iPhone App Review is not a PR charity,” he continued. “We’re a business, and like in any business, there are costs that need to be recovered.”

iLounge does not charge for reviews, and actively rejects attempts from developers to pay for coverage. Our long-standing product coverage policies include additional details for those who may be interested.

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Comments

1

I’m surprised this issue is showing up here and elsewhere as news this week. I’ve been ambushed for review money for at least a year (and never paid because it’s a reprehensible practice on so many levels).

Posted by Danny Goodman on March 19, 2010 at 9:02 AM (PDT)

2

#1: Who has been doing the ambushing?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 19, 2010 at 10:02 AM (PDT)

3

“The iPhone App Review is not a PR charity,” he continued. “We’re a business, and like in any business, there are costs that need to be recovered.”

In case that is true who or how they can guarantee that they give a non-biased review, specially if the one paying produces a lousy piece of software?

Posted by Gustavo N on March 19, 2010 at 7:18 PM (PDT)

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