Apple Bans Developer for Bogus Reviews on iTunes
Normally I just write about music and guitars on this site, but Doug Marks, the guy behind the Metal Method DVD Course, let me know about a pretty serious issue: the proliferation of bogus review sites and misleading Google ads. For most people, guitar lessons are a hobby, but for Doug it's how he makes a living. So he has a vested interest in getting this problem fixed.
I blogged about it on InfoWorld:
These sites purport to provide objective evaluation of consumer products, but they are simply paid advertisements. The sites are typically either selling the products or receiving a kick-back or commission for referrals. If you dig into these sites its not uncommon to see half a dozen similar sites with the same format and content, but slightly varied graphics. I have no idea whether these sites make much money, but the fact that there are so many, is a strong indicator. Even Google is benefiting from the ad words these sites are running.
Doug has exposed some of the dubious practices among his competitors and has raised the issue to Google. But so far, no response. And its not just scams about guitar and piano lessons. There are fake review sites on language instruction, vitamin supplements, exercise equipment and even software packages. I don't know if the competing guitar instruction sites are good or not, but it makes me suspicious when someone goes to the trouble of creating these kind of misleading ads.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons the FTC's is requiring bloggers to disclose their financial relationships effective December 1. And hopefully it will get tougher for these scam sites to operate.
Apple Removes Developer from iTunes
Interesting note that today, Apple uncovered a developer who was posting bogus reviews for their applications on iTunes. Apple wasted no time in removing all of the developers applications and their reviews for violating Apple's iTunes policies. Looks like at Apple takes this a lot more seriously than Google does.
Have you seen these bogus guitar lesson review sites? If you've used any of these other products, let me know what you think of them. In fairness, I should also say that I'm an affiliate with Metal Method.