A company that produced travel guides of Australia along with more than 1000 other iPhone applications has been black banned by Apple after being caught writing its own ‘positive’ reviews.
The developer, Molinker, has been developing iPhone applications ever since the iPhone was launched, with many of its travel guides getting rave reviews from users.
Now questions are being raised about the authenticity of the reviews after British blogger Glyn Evans of iphoneography complained that that a large number of the reviews were extremely positive, poorly written and by users who seemed only to review Molinker applications.
Shortly after Evans’ opinion was posted, the company’s applications were pulled from the Apple store pending investigation.
The Guardian newspaper said that if it turns out that Molinker is in the wrong here (and Apple hasn’t made a statement on the issue yet), it wouldn’t be the first time a company has been caught astroturfing online. In fact, it’s not even the first time a company has been caught astroturfing on the iPhone app store.
Last year Belkin was caught out using employees to write reviews of its products. It also paid consumers to write favourable reviews.