On the same day that it was reported that Samsung was fined $340,000 for "astroturfing," it seems there is solid evidence that BlackBerry is trying to up the rating of its Android BlackBerry Messenger app by gaming the system. A large number of reviews seem to contain the exact same review text, raising suspicions, according to a Thursday report by Ars Technica.
The report noticed that suspiciously similar (ahem) text. Each of the reviews spotted -- 150 or so, according to the report -- had the text:
Thank you so much Blackberry team. I was waiting this app. It is really great user friendly and smooth.
Admittedly, 150 reviews is small, considering the 170,000 reviews on the Google Play Store (at the time of this writing). However, if those reviews were posted in the early stages of the app's launch, they could have give BBM a head start toward a high rating.
The current average rating on the Play Store is 4.2 out of 5.
As one commenter noted, if he were a rival IM client that wanted to make BlackBerry look bad, he might post obviously gamed reviews, figuring they would be picked up.
Strangely, some of the faux reviews don't have 5-star ratings. Several were spotted with only a 3-star rating.
What do you readers think? Considering that "astroturfing" isn't something new, and isn't limited to BlackBerry, is this really a big deal, or is it simply humorous (assume the accusation is true) simply because of the inept way it was carried out?