Free download of BlackBerry BBM for Android, iPhone: Beware of 'fake' reviews

It’s been almost a week that BlackBerry re-launched its BBM for Android and BBM for iPhone app, and we don’t have to tell you that it’s been a roaring success.

The app was downloaded more than 10 million times within the first 24 hours, BlackBerry told us on Day 2, and the app has featured in the Top 10 free Apps on iTunes for a number of countries, including here in the Middle East.

In fact, according to BlackBerry’s second-day update, it was No 1 in most countries. “…BBM rose very quickly in the Apple App Store free app rankings in the first 24 hours, taking the number one slot in more than 75 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Indonesia and most of the Middle East,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive VP for BBM at BlackBerry, in the official BlackBerry blog.

The app has now been downloaded more than 10 million times on the Google App store alone, and has been rated 4+ (out of a maximum 5) on both the Android (Google Play) as well as iOS (iTunes) platform.

However, there seem to thousands and thousands of 5-starred reviews on Google Play, with a large majority of users writing exactly the same comment over and over again: “Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting for this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth”. The ratings and comments, supposedly from different people, are all using the exact same words.

It is indeed great to have the BBM service on our Samsung, HTC, LG and a host of other Android smartphones, but how can so many of us be saying the exact same thing in the more than 157,000 5-starred reviews?

Yes, the app has received over 158,200 5-starred ratings, out of a total of 236,100 ratings on Google Play (at the time of writing this article). That’s about 67 per cent of users deciding to give it a 5-star rating – possible, but unlikely given that there are other messaging apps available today (WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.) that are good, established alternatives on the rival platforms.

So what’s going on? We decided to ask BlackBerry, who distanced themselves from such “potentially fake” reviews.

This is the statement that BlackBerry issued to Emirates 24|7 this morning: “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.

"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.”

In the end, however, while there might be a number of such fake ratings and reviews out there, the fact remains that the BBM for Android and BBM for iPhone apps are indeed being downloaded in droves as you read this, and the app remains one of the hottest downloaded apps in one week.

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