Is it right to be asked to pay to have an app reviewed?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by pocketfun, Mar 4, 2009.


Should you pay for a review?

Poll closed Mar 11, 2009.
  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    11 vote(s)
  1. pocketfun macrumors newbie


    Feb 11, 2009
    So as some of you may know I've worked on a few iPhone games (Monkey Jewels, PocketPop Revenge) which are now in the app store. As part of this cycle I've been punting the games around some sites to see if they would review them. Today I find this in my inbox, what do you think? As a customer would you trust the website reviews if you knew this was going on?

    This might be quite strong, but this almost feels like blackmail to me, if you don't pay then you'll never get a review, but don't worry if you pay and get a bad review, you can opt to have it never published.


  2. forcesteeler macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2007
    Yes you should pay.

    You can not write a review or voice a opinion on something that you have not tested out.

    Would you take a movie critic serious if he gave the new Terminator movie 1 star but never seen the movie?
  3. mpatric macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2008
    Be careful though - 3 months ago I paid a well known site enough money to buy one of my apps for them to review and they still haven't done it. Many of them take your money and run..
  4. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    Would you take a movie critic seriously if he'd been paid by the movie studio to review their film?
  5. kimabg macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    That exact thing happened to me too.
    A well known site were very interested in reviewing my app, sadly their interest faded once they had the money in the bank.

    They claimed to have spent the money I sent them to buy a copy, but that is impossible to check.

    Luckily Apple has introduced the freebie codes since then. I haven't used them myself though.
  6. jnic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008

    If you're going this route then you're probably better to consider it as advertising. AppCraver claim they get 10,000-15,000 uniques per day, so grab a calculator and decide whether it's any more efficient than your other advertising. If so, go for it, otherwise look elsewhere.
  7. Gottaa macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2009
    I'd always assumed when sending an app to be review or even looked at by a place that does reviews it would be a good idea to send them a couple of promotional codes.

    Anything beyond that is as has been said more an advertising budget, I wouldn't hand over a penny though until you spoke directly to a developer that is on there site that has paid for this, infact probably a couple of them before handing over anything, and being aware that if it became common knowledge this website did that you've likely wasted alot of your money because people won't trust the reviews (much like happened to some games magazines last year)
  8. pocketfun thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 11, 2009
    Although I didn't mention the site it is interesting someone has guessed correctly. It's AppCraver in case you didn't realize.

    My thoughts are that I can't trust reviews from a site that runs a scheme like this and for that reason, amongst several moral ones. I wouldn't pay a site to review a game other than provide a copy of the game which we can do for free using promo codes anyway.

    A good site that is producing good quality content and the kind of traffic they claim shouldn't need to be subsidized by developers over and above any advertisements they might buy.

    They are the only site that do this from my experience and from feedback i've had on a number of forums, the general consensus is that their reviews couldn't be trusted now.

    Surely a review website relies on the quality of the reviews of both bad and good games, and the trust with it's readers.

    I won't be bothering to approach them in the future.
  9. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    The key question is whether the site delivers in terms of actual customers. Has any developer here seen sales increase by a statistically significant amount after advertising on this site? By enough to more than offset the cost of the review and advertising fees? And what percentage of advertisers see this increase? Are there sites with better leverage (in terms of sales boost vs. cost)?
  10. mpatric macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2008
    My experience was not with AppCraver - in fact, they reviewed one of my apps without any prompting (or money) from me. My experience was with another of the bigger sites.

    Nowadays I'd certainly do it with a promotional code.. my experience was before they were available.
  11. filmgirl macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, this whole thing just smells bad. You shouldn't have to pay a site to get them to review your content and their CPM (if you place an ad with them) is way out of whack for how many pageviews they allegedly get.

    As caveman said, when this happens in the movie industry, people lose their jobs or the publications lose instant credibility (granted, people like the late Joel Siegel still managed to have way too prominent a role in "public" critiquing -- not that I like to speak ill of the dead but he was a shill and a half). Hell, when Sony created a fake reviewer for their ad campaigns in 2001, the Connecticut AG filed an FTC inquiry (

    This is really tantamount to what happens with webhosting review sites. Those sites typically make money by referral fees and for taking money in exchange for making a host leap to the "top" of the page. The whole practice is widespread, insidious, and basically makes it impossible for anyone to trust any webhost review site. It's a mess.

    This (as I said to pocketfun via e-mail) sort of practice has the potential to really taint iPhone App reviews and that would be a real shame to the genuine sites (like the site I write for and many others) that don't require payment for review (we didn't even take gift cards -- no matter how many we were offered, before the App Store promo codes were started -- we either bought the apps out of our own pockets as writers or requested an ad-hoc copy for our device ID) and would outright refuse any sort of offer of a Quid-Quo Pro thing.
  12. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    So what are the sites that developers here have found are actually worth the time to send press releases and redemption codes their new apps to?

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