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Google bans user testimonials from Play Store app descriptions

Citing "keyword spam" as the complaint, Google has done away with featured user commentary in app descriptions. The change will hopefully improve searches.

Published onDecember 24, 2014

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As anyone who has seen an infomercial knows, product testimonials are pure gold when it comes to hawking your wares. With “ordinary people” giving their honest “unfiltered” opinions, the eager buyer can feel confident plunking down some cool cash. Google it seems, is not such an eager beaver, as it has now asked app developers not to use testimonials in their Play Store descriptions.

As part of the Android Developer portal’s Policy and Procedures section, the new changes appear under the term “Keyword Spam” and are based upon a sad reality that app developers frequently feature user comments that make reference to other (possibly) more popular apps, and thus cause the unrelated application to appear in search results. For example, if you search for “Monument Valley”, a totally random app might appear in the results, because the creator has deliberately used the term somewhere in their app description. Google’s official explanation is as follows:

[quote qtext=”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.” qperson=”” qsource=”Google” qposition=”center”]

Regardless of if this is for the benefit or detriment of the Play Store and its users, kudos to Google for seeking to keep things honest.

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