Being Gamed on Google Play Ratings - What to do?

Discussion in 'Android Applications Discussions' started by rottz, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. rottz

    rottz New Member

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    Hey guys.

    I've released a game on Google Play about 10 days ago - it's a port to a successful game on iOS, and it's been getting great ratings and reviews. In it's 25 first reviews it averaged 4.8, having only 4* and 5*s, and most of them not anonymous: people would type something like "great UI, smooth gameplay, etc".

    Then suddenly in a matter for 1 hour, without any new updates or anything, I get 4 new 1*s anonymous (no text) ratings. Then the next day I get 3 more anonymous 1*.

    I heard Google has some algorithms to check if things like that are happening and prevent it, but I assume it will only fire up if there are hundreds or thousands of fake ratings. But for a small app, a dozen bad ratings are already a big damage (rating went from 4.8 to 4.0, and falling).

    So, any ideas?

    Thanks!
     
    #1 rottz, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  2. sweaner

    sweaner Member

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    What is the name of your app? Can you give the Play link? The best way to combat this is to get more positive legit ratings.
     
  3. rottz

    rottz New Member

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    Hey sweaner.

    I didnt mention the app initially because it was not my intent to promote it, but to get some real solutions. But of course I will send the link. In case you download it, please rate it appropriately, dont need to give 5* to counter the 1*, or it would be gaming the system also :).

    But anyone has any suggestions? I couldn't find a way to contact Google on this - does anyone have an idea how can I contact them or otherwise remedy this problem?

    Thanks.
     
    #3 rottz, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  4. pnikosis

    pnikosis New Member

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    First of all, it looks beautiful, congrats for your app.

    On the main matter of this thread, I think you can't do too much, besides trusting people to give honest reviews, as asking Google to deal with bad reviews would probably lead to a lot of score manipulation from developers (but your problem is still there). I thought that anonymous reviews weren't allowed anymore at the Play Store. Sorry about your problem, that definitively sucks, at least these people had to leave a review without text, probably because they didn't have anything bad to say , really.
     
  5. rottz

    rottz New Member

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    Hey pnikosis, thanks for the kind words :).

    Yeah, I believe there's not much you can do, which sucks, because it will only incentive others to act like this (and I believe it already happens a lot), since we're talking about money and profit, a subject where many (most?) people leave their ethics behind when dealing with. Google has to fix this - on Apple it's a bit harder to do this because you need a valid Credit Card to make an account.

    There should be an option to report it, then an automated Google script would analyze the data (deviation of average ratings, anonymous or not, from the same device or not, same IP or not, same country or not, etc), then if a red flags come up a human go and check it, and do something about it (not just remove the bad comments, we need justice to be done).

    Oh well, of anyone else has an idea, let me know!

    Thanks
     
  6. rottz

    rottz New Member

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    Now it's up from 7 anonymous 1* reviews (3 days ago) to 20 anonymous 1* reviews today. The person has issues - it would be hilarious if it wasn't sad.

    And my game rating went from 4.8 to 3.5.
     
  7. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Member

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    Speak to Google, it works.
     
  8. pnikosis

    pnikosis New Member

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    Well, I guess Agryhater is right, asking Google shouldn't harm. Now rethinking about the ratings, it comes to my mind the system IMDB uses. In order to avoid, or at least reduce the fabricated ratings, they calculate an average excluding the extreme scores based on the values variance (ro something like this, I can't remember exactly the method, but they have the equation at their page), I think Google should do something similar, which doesn't delete the bad ratings, but ignore them for calculating the overall score.
     
  9. rottz

    rottz New Member

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    Thats a nice suggestion pnikosis. I hope they do that in addition to some other measures, such as new accounts can only rate after a certain amount of usages (5?) and hours (72h?). Or a way to autodetect behavior like this (it shouldnt be hard, it deviates completely frmo a standard rating behavior) and ban all the accounts.

    Regarding talking to Google, there's no contact point for that, take a look:

    https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/troubleshooter/2857301?rd=1
     
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