With well over 100,000 iOS apps and lots of money at stake, it’s quite common for some mischievous developers to manipulating app store search results, rankings, and reviews in order to generate sales. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse that often prompts Apple to make sweeping changes to the way apps are displayed on iTunes.
In the most recent illustration of that, Apple recently began prohibiting users with promo codes from leaving reviews. Typically, developers will give out promo codes to reviewers so that they can give apps a test drive for free. The problem is that this can sometimes prompt said reviewers to leave glowing reviews in a wink-wink nod-nod type of exchange.
Originally noted by forum poster Therealtrebitsch on TouchArcade, an email on the topic from Apple customer support reads as follows:
“Hi, 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.”
“It is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded
using a developer’s promotional code.
You can review this app by purchasing it on a different iTunes account
using something other than a developer’s promotional code, such as a Gift
Card, Gift Certificate, or other payment options.”
The change of course is the latest initiative from Apple to increase the quality of search results on the iTunes App Store by preventing gaming the review and rating system.