Google Play, the digital content repository of the search giant meant for Android devices, won’t allow developers to insert “user testimonials” in the description of the app.
Google Inc. seems to have taken a bold step and decided to stop developers from inserting testimonials submitted by downloaders on Google Play. The company appears to be afraid of developers manipulating users through these testimonials, artificially creating a favorable outlook for an app or a game. The “Spam and Placement in the store” section of Google Developer Guidelines now asks developers to refrain from inserting user testimonials.
“Please do not include user testimonials in your app description. They tend to be dubious and are frequently utilized to include references to popular search terms and competitor apps in violation of the policies outlined here. Let your users speak for themselves via Play’s comment review system.”
The move clearly suggests that Google is seriously trying to dissuade developers from artificially inflating their apps’ standings in Google Play search listings. Google has always frowned upon such manipulative techniques that aim to artificially boost the popularity and visibility of the apps in Google Play. In fact, Google has multiple checkpoints in place to prevent developers from “managing” search results.
Some of the old-school techniques that the Google Play algorithm attempts to weed out include using “repetitive or excessive” keywords in an attempt to boost an app’s presence, using completely unrelated keywords to draw people to your app, and excessive references to other apps a developer has created.
Google’s guidelines for app submission in the Google Play specifically read, “To help ensure the best experience for Android users, Google Play policies prohibit the publication of spam. Please do not publish unwanted, deceptive, repetitive, or irrelevant content on Google Play. Not only will it lower your app’s rating and cause negative reviews, it can result in your app being suspended or your developer account being terminated.”
However, to date, quite a few developers seemed to exploit the “user testimonial” feature to portray a glowing review of the app. This is primarily because anyone can say anything about an app. Moreover, it was pretty easy to cherry pick comments that make it look like a particular developer’s game is the greatest thing since say, Super Mario Bros., or the app was the best thing to happen since sliced bread.
With Google putting the brakes on inserting favorable user testimonials in the apps’ description, the search results in Google Play could get a little cleaner and unbiased. But will the move impact downloads?
[Image Credit | Google]