The reviews are out for the new and improved Forbes Magazine Newsstand app. And from the early reviews…it’s just fabulous. And we all know we can trust online reviews from impartial users, right?
Cue the salt shaker, please.
D.B. Hebbard of Talking New Media has uncovered something fishy in the first dozen or so write-ups. According to Hebbard, “Before checking [the new app] out I wondered if the publisher had moved from a replica to an interactive magazine. So I first went into iTunes to check out the new reader reviews for the app.
“Wow, what positive reviews! All but one reader, who couldn’t log into their account, raved about the new app. But then something didn’t look right,” he writes.
What Hebbard found was a list of reviews from readers who have reviewed a strangely similar list of titles in addition to Forbes Magazine, including National Enquirer, Soap Opera Digest, Country Weekly, Star Magazine and OK Magazine. And these readers all posted rave reviews for the new Forbes app. (The one negative review in the list comes from a person who couldn’t log into their account.)
Hebbard discovered something else.
“All the magazines listed above, coincidentally, appear to use the same vendor to create their apps,” and, he says, “Make of it what you will.”
All sorts of guerilla marketing goes on out there, and online reviews should always be read with one eye skeptically squinting. I will say one thing, though. I’ll definitely be checking out that app now!