Apple No Longer Accepting App Store Reviews for Redeemed Promo Codes

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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[center][img]http://images.macrumor...connect_promo_request_500.jpg[/img][/center]​

As noted in the forums at our sister site Touch Arcade, Apple has apparently made a change to its App Store app review policies, no longer permitting users who have obtained applications via promo code to leave reviews for them.

According to Apple representatives, the change has been made in order to help prevent developers from gaming the ratings and reviews system by using an entire batch of promo codes to boost their profile.I worked with Apple to resolve this issue and they have responded that "it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer's promotional code to prevent comprimising [sic] of the rating system".Another developer who had been running a Promo Dispenser service for connecting developers offering promo codes with users willing to provide reviews in exchange for them reports that users are receiving a standard response from Apple about the change when inquiring about difficulties leaving reviews.Anand here again from iTunes Store Customer Support. Thanks for writing back and letting me know your concern. I understand that you are still not able to write a review. I know how disappointing it can be when things don't work out the way they should. I am sorry to inform that it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer's promotional code.

However, I took the liberty of submitting your feedback to Apple on your behalf. Please know that Apple takes the feedback from our customers very seriously. This is the reason for our feedback page - to create a forum where our users can vent, praise or share whatever feelings they have to allow us to meet your needs, and grow as a company. I suggest that you use the link in order to share your feedback with us. I would also encourage you to share this link with all of your friends and family who wish to submit the feedback, and have them all submit the same request.Details on just what promo codes are affected by the change are currently unclear, as posters in the forum thread indicate a variety of experiences when trying to review apps for which they received promo codes, with some reviews being permitted while others are being denied. One theory suggests that the difference may be linked to when the promo code was issued, with only newly-issued codes being subject to the policy.

Article Link: Apple No Longer Accepting App Store Reviews for Redeemed Promo Codes
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,065
74
Bristol, UK
This seems like a stupid idea to me.

I can understand not wanting to encourage "fake" reviews, but MacRumors has a forum where Developers can give away codes and I'm sure that the majority of the codes used result in honest reviews.
 

Full of Win

macrumors 68030
Nov 22, 2007
2,615
1
Ask Apple
This seems like a stupid idea to me.

I can understand not wanting to encourage "fake" reviews, but MacRumors has a forum where Developers can give away codes and I'm sure that the majority of the codes used result in honest reviews.

So you don't see the obvious conflict of interest here? Getting a free app has a tendency to add rose colored glasses to many reviewers.
 

johnnyxhuynh

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2006
181
0
Houston, TX, USA
Good move. I once received a promo code, gave some feedback to the developer, was asked to leave a five-star rating, I only gave 2 or 3, and I never heard back from the developer...
 

Northgrove

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2010
1,130
416
GOOD!

This should help in the row of spam following newly approved apps.

Yes, yes, annoying if you won a promo code, but not being able to review in that particular case seems like something I can put up with for less developer spam.
 

scottjl

macrumors member
Nov 19, 2010
43
2
Nothing wrong with this. Promo codes should be given out for reviewers for sites, blogs, etc. to publish their "independent" reviews. No need for them to post up on the Apple store as well. Keeps everyone honest.
 

Northgrove

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2010
1,130
416
So you don't see the obvious conflict of interest here? Getting a free app has a tendency to add rose colored glasses to many reviewers.
I think an even worse issue here, that this is helping against, is devs giving promo codes to people on his/her side, in order to create fake reviews.

"Here's a code - just post something nice about it! I gave you a code so you don't even have to purchase it, in exchange for a good review! Deal?"

I basically see this stopping unscrupulous developers in their tracks.
 

qtx43

macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2007
659
16
I think it's a good move. But then, what's the purpose of promo codes at all? Apple could, instead, allow the developer to give away promo codes to the first x-number of people who request one from the app store. Oh wait, that can be abused too by telling your friends when the site goes up. Maybe randomly, every 100 visitors to the site, there's gotta be a way!
 

WoFat

macrumors member
May 26, 2008
64
0
¿Who's the Jerk Here?

"We will try to come up with a new idea for you being able to share and receive apps for free, until then we close the site.
We are sorry for Apple being a bunch of jerks and we thank you for your patience and for your participation."

PromoDispenser get's upset now that a camera's been installed in the bus they're driving they can't grope the school kids any more? (An illustration here, not an accusation) Closing the door on a site that's gaming the system is always a good idea.
 

Ashyukun

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
262
1
I'm a bit conflicted on this.

On one hand, I can understand the logic behind it with being concerned that developers would be giving out promo codes in return for 5-star ratings.

On the other hand, from my own experience (I run an iOS applications podcast) many developers are quite willing to give out promo codes in return for honest reviews and feedback on their apps, and this seems like it would lessen the incentive for developers to give out promo codes to reputable people/organizations.

I would say that they should adopt a 'middle ground' approach: Clearly tag all of the reviews that were made by people who got promo codes as such, and don't include them in the calculations for the rankings. They could also simply discount any ratings from promo codes that do not include a written description/review. This would allow developers to get good feedback about their apps from reputable sources while making potential buyers reading through the reviews aware of which were made by those who received the apps for free to review them.
 

dZp

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2006
987
55
It's about time Apple put a block on this.
This should help eliminate some of the fake reviews.
 

amorya

macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2007
252
7
I think it's a good move. But then, what's the purpose of promo codes at all?

Giving a free copy of an app to someone. For example, a blogger or journalist who might want to write an article about it, or rewarding a beta tester with the full version. I don't think they were ever intended to have anything to do with app store reviews.
 

roadbloc

macrumors G3
Aug 24, 2009
8,784
213
UK
I've just received a promo today, and put an honest view on the App Store. What is the point in promo codes if I cannot feed back to the dev?

Stupid.
 

aarond12

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2002
1,100
49
Dallas, TX USA
This seems like a stupid idea to me.
This seems like a GREAT idea to me.

I downloaded State Farm's driving application yesterday and it was a serious piece of crap. I looked at the reviews and noticed a pattern: The first reviews were all 5's, including one person who said he worked for State Farm! The rest of the reviews were 1's, 2's, and 3's. I see a pattern here...

Good job, Apple. Keep 'em honest! :rolleyes:
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,680
159
I'm a bit conflicted on this.

On one hand, I can understand the logic behind it with being concerned that developers would be giving out promo codes in return for 5-star ratings.

On the other hand, from my own experience (I run an iOS applications podcast) many developers are quite willing to give out promo codes in return for honest reviews and feedback on their apps, and this seems like it would lessen the incentive for developers to give out promo codes to reputable people/organizations.

I would say that they should adopt a 'middle ground' approach: Clearly tag all of the reviews that were made by people who got promo codes as such, and don't include them in the calculations for the rankings. They could also simply discount any ratings from promo codes that do not include a written description/review. This would allow developers to get good feedback about their apps from reputable sources while making potential buyers reading through the reviews aware of which were made by those who received the apps for free to review them.

this means you have to make a lot of database changes, application code changes, QA it, etc. not worth the time and expense
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,680
159
I think it's a good move. But then, what's the purpose of promo codes at all? Apple could, instead, allow the developer to give away promo codes to the first x-number of people who request one from the app store. Oh wait, that can be abused too by telling your friends when the site goes up. Maybe randomly, every 100 visitors to the site, there's gotta be a way!


word of mouth, twitter shouts, facebook mention of the app, etc
 

shartypants

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
921
60
Makes a lot of sense. A developer shouldn't rely on reviews from free copies they give out (since those people didn't spend their own money on it, can they really be fully objective anyway?) Good call for Apple.
 

SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
1,621
1,862
On the other hand many developers are quite willing to give out promo codes in return for honest reviews.

So you are saying people who actually pay for an app give a less honest review??? :eek:

I don't think so. I would even say that if you get a free app you would care less for a bug or missing functionality, you didn't pay so why bother. Now if you pay with your hard earned money and you find the app is missing something you are surely gonna rate the app more accurately.

Promo codes should be a reward for a beta tester or a fan or to provide a journalist or blogger who want to write about the app with a free version. Or maybe to test the app out in the real world. I don't see why is this hurting someone? :confused:
 

a random John

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2011
37
0
I've got mixed feelings about the promo code users not being able to give reviews. But I'm not sure that I mourn the passing of Promo Dispenser. After being out for 3 weeks my app was pirated within hours of me posting codes on Promo Dispenser.

I can only assume that Promo Dispenser was started with the best of intentions, but it back a den of scum and villainy.
 

psonice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2005
968
0
Great news if you ask me. I've seen several apps where there's always a long list of 5* "Best ever" type generic reviews within an hour of each update, followed by hundreds of angry 1* reviews from ripped off real people. I'm sure such developers will find a new tactic, but a good kick in the nuts will hopefully keep them quiet for a while \o/

Personally I use the codes mainly to give to news sites / reviewers etc., in the hope of getting some press coverage (sometimes works, sometimes not). Then, I give codes to friends (who I feel shouldn't have to pay for a copy of my work, and it's a lot less awkward than them buying the app, then me offering them a handful of loose change :D).

Any left over I hand out on sites like this, or sites for my hobbies. I usually ask people to leave feedback on the store - I think that's fair, if I'm offering to give you something for free. I don't ask for 5* reviews or whatever though. I'd prefer honest feedback (it's more useful when preparing the next update!). I'd be annoyed if somebody left a really rude 1* review, but that's not happened so far.

Anyway, I just posted up some codes for my last app, with a request that anyone using one who wants to leave a review posts up if it worked or not. If I hear anything back (based on past experience, it's 50:50) I'll report back here.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,078
34,167
Boston
I think its a good idea, the thought of buying reviews by giving away promo codes seemed like the reviews would be biased
 

akac

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2003
474
65
Colorado
The thing is though a Dev can only give 50 codes per version of the app anyway. So its not like this was a spigot of biased reviews. Its only a tiny amount. Seems like it hurts some and helps some. No real benefit.
 
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