BlackBerry seems to be on seventh heaven after the cross platform version of its BBM or BlackBerry Messenger app recorded 10 million downloads and positive reviews
. However, it looks like a large number of positive reviews, at least on the app's Android listing on the Google Play store, appear to be fake or 'astroturfed' (paid or a PR effort).
One of the reasons for doubting the intent behind the BBM for Android reviews was that they featured the same text complete with grammatical errors, and a five star rating. The text said, "Thank you so much Blackberry team. I was waiting this app. It is really great user friendly and smooth." These reviews were first spotted
by Matt Baxter-Reynolds who posted a screenshot on Twitter.
Interestingly, one review started with the text, "Please post the following comment on the new BlackBerry Messenger Android APP. 'Thank you so much black berry team...'" followed by the same positive review. This review could even be someone's mischief, but on the face of it, it looks like the reviewer posted the suspected complete message sent by BlackBerry (or a related agency) management verbatim. This review was spotted
by Terence Eden.
BlackBerry issued a statement (via The Verge
) saying it has no knowledge of how these reviews were created or populated and that it doesn't approve of this practice.
Here's the complete text of the statement:
"We have been made aware of a number of potentially fake reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play, with ratings anywhere from one to five stars. We have no knowledge of how these reviews were created or populated. We do not approve of or condone such activities. There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels."
The fake reviews could certainly tarnish the image of the Waterloo based company which is struggling to win consumers back, after putting itself up for sale. A number of companies have been accused of fake reviews including Samsung, which was even fined in Taiwan for allegedly paying bloggers to write against HTC