BBM for Android received a large number of positive reviews that contained the exact same text, but BlackBerry denies any involvement.
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BlackBerry released BlackBerry Messenger for the Android and iOS platforms this week. By most accounts, the relaunch of the instant messaging application was a success. The app was downloaded by more than 10 million people in the first 24 hours, which means there are still plenty of people willing to give BlackBerry a shot -- even if from a different platform.
A few days after launch, however, blogger Terrence Eden noticed something fishy about the reviews garnered by the app in the Google Play Store. Hundreds of reviews contained the exact same words: "Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth." Many of these word-for-word reviews rated the app at 5 stars.
This led many to question the legitimacy of the reviews and whether or not BlackBerry or some other company was behind them. Both Google and BlackBerry were notified.
"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," said a BlackBerry spokesperson. "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."
BlackBerry denied involvement, but there's still no word from Google on how the reviews might have been published. BlackBerry confirmed that the number of downloads is correct, but the app's rating may have been skewed by the fake reviews. Eden hypothesized that one of the fake BBM apps in the Play Store attempted to give itself some good reviews. In so doing, it accidentally published all the good reviews for the official app from BlackBerry.
So far, fake reviews for BBM have not appeared in Apple's iTunes App Store.
Fake reviews aside, BBM for Android and iOS appears to have had a good first week. That's more than can be said for BlackBerry's previous attempts to launch the app. BlackBerry originally said the app would arrive during the summer months. Then, in mid-September, the company actually attempted to launch the app, but had to yank it due to problems. This week's launch came a month after its aborted attempt in September. Ten million downloads is a solid start, though the download figures don't necessarily reflect active users.
BBM lets people send messages without using their texting allotment from their carrier. It can be used to conduct two-way video chats, voice calls and screen sharing. It is free.
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