BBM fake reviews

Scores of positive reviews repeat the same wording in broken English

BlackBerry's launch of BBM on Android this week was marred by a rather large number — and extremely suspect — reviews left in Google Play along with its 10 million installations on Android and iOS. Apparent to anyone with a set of peepers, the reviews in question all share the same broken English and likely Indonesian origins, though the number of stars left on each review varies.

The reviews read, "Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth"

It's still unclear whether the scores and scores of copycat reviews are a coordinated (if ridiculously obvious) effort to game the system, who, exactly, was behind it — as we all know, BlackBerry and BBM have a very ... passionate ... user base — and why the hell they didn't think anyone would notice. To leave a review on an app in Google Play, you have to have a Google+ account. So there are at least names and faces to go with the farce.

BlackBerry's Victoria Berry, director of PR for BBM, gave Android Central the following statement:

We have recently been made aware of a number of potentially fake five-star reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play. We do not approve of or condone such activities and are committed to working with Google to resolve this. There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our passionate fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels.

So, yeah. Something's up. We still don't know exactly why, though.


Reader comments

BlackBerry 'aware' of suspect reviews, 'working with Google to resolve this'


Im curious too how many of these accounts may be from compromised emails stemming from there wait in line sign up?

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Hey Phil, if you don't like BB or BBM why do you post news about it? Hey AC people, don't install it if you don't like it. If you see millions of downloads for the app you don't 'want' to like, then it means you're jealous.

I actually find imore guys more friendly, they have less fanbois than here, they're called iSheep unfairly. Android people are actually more hateful and stupid users than iphone users, and it's the truth. Just go to BGR and see yourself. Peace

Every platform has its fanboys. If you're saying that BlackBerry doesn't have them, then you're delusional. I can go to CrackBerry, at any time of day, and find, at least, 50 different posters spewing unwarranted hatred and/or misconceptions about Android/iOS.

The CrackBerry forums (and articles, to some extent) are, quite literally, littered with posters that "hate" other platforms and/or accuse their users of being sheep, simply because they chose not to use BlackBerry's products, whatever their reason(s) may be.

You don't even police your own peers; yet, you feel self-righteous enough, to come over here and accuse "us" of the very behavior you commit?

I'm fairly certain, if this comment receives a reply, it'll be from a poster that proves my point.

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Because poking rabid little fanbois like you is fun. It's cute when you get all fired up about your 3.2% market share.

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My aren't we sensitive, this article is about an issue on the Google Play store and has nothing to do with the app itself. Please drop the victim act thanks.

From what I gather, that's 10 million installations. Not how many people have it installed at the time.
So in theory, I could install, delete, Re install it and the number would keep going higher. It's kind of the same thing as YouTube views, just keep replaying a video to get the views higher.
If someone was spamming the reviews sections, people could have easily been Re downloading the app.

Posted via Android Central App on my Note 2!

No, the number doesn't go higher when you reinstall, because it goes lower when you uninstall. Here's how it works (source):

Device statistics

  • Current installs by device - the number of active devices on which the application is currently installed - it excludes any devices where the application was uninstalled or any devices that are no longer active.
  • Daily installs by device - the number of new devices on which the app was installed for the first time during that day.
  • Daily uninstalls by device - the number of unique devices which uninstalled the app in the past day.
  • Daily upgrades by device - the number of unique devices upgraded from an older version to the latest version of the app in the past day.

User statistics

  • Current installs by user - the number of users who have the app currently installed on at least one active device.
  • Total installs by user - the total number of unique users that have ever installed this app. We only count one install regardless of how many different devices they installed it on. It includes the users who have later uninstalled the app.
  • Daily installs by user - the number of unique users who installed this app for the the first time during that day.
  • Daily uninstalls by user - the number of unique users who uninstalled the app from all devices during that day.

What about all these new rating companies around that leave favorable reviews for products that companies can hire. I've read that it has happened on amazon. You hire a company to write favorable reviews of your product on sites that sell it. Given that all you need is a free gmail account i could see making dummy accounts and writing favorable reviews. Especially since now you can have multiple accounts on android devices in JB. There are also companies that will like your products, follow your twitter accounts, and spam your services written by people not bots. I wonder if BB or maybe their own marketing firm could have been behind it, since this all sounds like what a PR firm would do now.

Some of those companies do a good job, the cheaper ones hire a bunch of nomarks to leave messages saying "thank you so much bb team its so smooth"...

That covers stats BY DEVICE, and BY USER. It doesn't cover total installs. That number never seems to go down. And it wouldn't cover people gaming the system anyway. So, the 10M number is still suspect...

That counter is unique installs, that would be 10'000'000 phone's running BBM at some time...also replaying a youtube video on the same device DOESN'T increase the views unless you're not logged in and or clear your cookies each time and or access it at a later time...

Yep, you need to not be logged into your account for Youtube to count the views, that's how Lady Gaga got 100's of millions of views overnight by her "little monsters".

The amazing 10 million installs in just two days is matched only by the astounding 9.9 million uninstalls in the following 2 hours.

Umm no, the counter goes down if you unistall the app. Phil just posted how the system works above..

That's the info the devs see. Not so clear if that is also the number the public sees.

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That's the first thing that came to mind.

Secondly, what's the point to them doing this. Is that like the Windows 8 shill with all the "Windows 8 is awesome" reviews by paid bunches when real people that buy PC's and laptops with Windows 8 actually hate it?

Just looking at the reviews now on the Play site, lots of them don't have pictures but lots of Asian type names, and the exact same "Thanks blackberry Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth." message in every one of them. this makes me laugh.

Also I got an email from claiming I won something from them, whereas I've never been to that site nor did I enter any contest?

BBM paid for them of course. It isn't a new thing.

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Yeah, but not very much so they had to go with a budget service which didn't turn out that well..

There have been many, many instances of this in the past from companies everywhere and in every sector. Companies deny it at first but get caught down the road.

Don't defend blindly. show me proof they didn't or stfu

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Where there is smoke, there generally is a fire

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Correct answer. That is why I can see BlackBerry being behind this

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

You made the assertion, you provide the proof.

I'm not saying you're wrong about the reviews, but you are wrong in asking him for proof that YOUR assertion is incorrect.

It isn't just about about of stars, it is about reviews as well. I guarantee though there are way more 4-5 than 1-2

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

It is far more likely that it is a rogue shareholder with no affiliation with management. Simple pump and dump scams are more frequent occurrences than executives committing stock manipulation frauds. I have a dozen penny stock emails in my spam folder this month alone.

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I was thinking along the same lines. This seems more like something done by a fund with a large short position or a company looking to bid on a purchase of BlackBerry. If you haven't noticed the giant push by analysts and bloggers to keep pushing the company down, you haven't been paying attention. Between the "leaked" version of BBM for Android that halted the launch a month ago, the Apple update that removed one of BBM's core fonts, and a review "scandal" that basically discredits any real success the launch is having, it's apparent that there are parties that do not want BlackBerry to succeed.

To do it in mass quantities. I could write the program in about 2 hours, give ten thousand Gmail accounts, then another few hours to run.

Done. All of a sudden you 1 star fart app is the #1 rated app on the play store.

Then you can point to you great reviews and build the hype for your company.

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Then why are so many of them 1 star reviews?

The strange / fake reviews have 5 star ratings but they also have other ratings, including a lot of 1 star reviews.

Maybe BlackBerry paid for the 5 star reviews & Apple paid for the 1 star reviews :P

As of now, there are no proof that BB is involved in this.
That being said....
I can't think of anyone else outside BB that will benefit from BBM having a high install base and great reviews.

It could be just local marketing person getting over zealous about this app.

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It could also be a fanboi. BB themselves are more likely, but I've heard of fanbois setting up scripts to vote for things over and over.

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have you ever been to Crockberry? i don't think they're smart enough to set up scripts. i think they did it the old fashioned way - copy and paste over and over again.

Who says crackberry did this? It could be anyone, any fanboi and you chose crackberry? and Called them dumb while doing it

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Well, an amazing number of posters over there write in that same kind of broken English. In fact, the whole site seems to be made up of just Canadians and broken English types now. Just sayin'.

Yeah what aboot that?

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

More likely someone who wants them to fail and wants to make the company look pathetic so they can cash in their short positions in the stock

Why do so many people here give a care? Like some rabid sadistic death wish they have for Blackberry. Sorry but I don't want to be associated with this crowd. Neither would I want to be associated with the ios phanboise'. Just try out the free app and enjoy it.

Yeah, really. The app is free. Use it or not, but otherwise why do you care?

I think it's hilarious that Phil in the article is painting Crackheads as somehow more millitant and ridiculous than any other fanbois. Every tech flavor has its zealots...including Android.

The fake reviews are BS and lame and all that. I doubht this is the first app that's happened with, but BBRY is understandably under a high powered microscope. If in fact the company is behind it somehow, it's just the latest public display of its incredible cluelessness.

Actually, you said "... passionate ..." which implies something more than the word itself, and was your intent, right?

Oh come on Phil, it's quite clear from any post you make regarding anything BB that you have some kind of beef with them. They're down on the ground and you kick them in the gut as often as you can.

That doesn't explain why instead of writing a post yesterday insinuating that BlackBerry was somehow behind the wonky reviews we waited until hearing back from the company and posting their response in full.

Nice try, though. I don't have anything against BlackBerry. Never did anything to me. :p

Your opinion doesn't equal fact. If that's the case, I perceive you as a troll. Does that make it fact?

Posted via Android Central App

Seriously? That's just you trying to make it more PC. Just like you called the fans "...passionate...". You're not "saying" anything derisive, just heavily insinuating it. Seriously, if you "don't have anything against BlackBerry", go back and read the post you make about them and compare the tone of those to that of your other post. Heck, even your last "From the Editor's Desk" was titled "Wither BlackBerry..." i.e. "Fade,decay,decline BlackBerry"

Way to live up to the ...passionate... label you militant-ridiculous fanboys.

You are on an Android fan site. Why the hell do you come here if all you want to hear is cheerful BS about the OS you use?

Can we please get the Crackberry nuts back on their side of the fence?

LoL. I'm commenting in a comment section, and nowhere near as excessively as some of the BB haters on AC. I'm sure Phil can handle my lite criticism just fine.

To answer your question, I use BB, Android, iOS, and Windows 8 (desktop and mobile). As such, I'm on all the Mobile Nations sites. I think they even encourage it. ;)

To be honest, you'll very rarely find an Android Central poster commenting on any of CrackBerry's articles or in their forums. That's not to imply anything negative about the writers (they're all top-notch), or that no Android fan browses the forums (I browse them all). I've just rarely seen them over there.

Posted via Android Central App

Actually you said "... passionate ..." which is obviously implying something negative. At least have the balls to say what you actually mean.

Personally, I just find it interesting how much coverage BBM gets here on AC. Apple announced a bunch of stuff yesterday and not a word has been peeped about it here. What Apple does is far more relevant to the smartphone industry than yet another messaging system that lacks some basic functionalities. What's the over/under on BBM articles on AC for today? 3?

Tell me how many products designed and built to run on Android Apple released yesterday.

I'll wait. 

You keep leaving that very important detail — run on Android — out of your allegations.

What Apple released yesterday has absolutely nothing to do with Android. Now, if Apple released a iPhone specific app on the Play Store, that would receive the same if not more level of coverage.

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Actually, it does. You see, Apple is actually competition for Android (unlike BB, which will soon be competing against Palm, the way they're going) and what the competition is doing matters. That's something Blackberry never seems to have quite gotten.

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Don't get me wrong but why do you hate BBM or BB related news/stuff?. I mean, is it worth your time commenting all the time negatively about BB? Isn't it good when a company releases a product, a quality product on android? Didn't you like it when instagram made their app available on android later as well.

1. Boredom (this is the internet after all). You've got BB fanbois flocking in droves over here to espouse the amazing news of this app... When it doesn't do something as basic as auto-populate a contact list. Right, great app.

2. AC has covered the BBM launch like it's the second coming of Christ. I've never seen any other app get this sort of coverage here, much less one with missing features considered basic by any similar app. As it happens, BB was the featured sponsor of Talk Mobile. I think the AC staff has consciously or unconsciously let that affect their reporting.

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I should add, I don't have anything against BB. They make GREAT hardware, their OS is blah and their management is frankly hopeless, but the hardware is nice. I wish they had bought Palm/WebOS back in the day. WebOS on BB hardware, bringing the two biggest names in the foundation of early smartphones would have been a great combination (though both had management issues).

BB fanbois on the other hand, are what really cheese me off...
FB - "This is the best messaging platform ever!!!"
ME - "Oh? Well, what does it do different?"
FB - "You get D/R receipts! And group chat! And Voice calls!"
ME - "Well Hangouts does that already. Hang on, I can't log into this on multiple devices???"
FB - "That's a feature! It's for security!"
ME - "Security my backside... just put a pin, pattern or fingerprint lock on your device... Hang on, why won't this auto-populate from my contacts?"
FB - "That's a feature too! It's for security!"
ME - "You're a dumbass."

I am Indonesian, I am sorry for bad grammar, but me and my friend satisfied with BBM and i write a review to, but I' m sorry if my English is Bad, and than not make BBM is faker...and Im soryy for bad Grammar again

Posted via Android Central App

Having used Blackberry for many years, part of me wants to find a reason to install and use this app. But I changed jobs, the new employer uses iPhones, and my former employer just dumped their Blackberries in favor of Android. The number of people I know using Blackberry has dropped way off, and the last ones I know on it are Federal employees.

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I had 60+ BBM contacts back in 2011 before I switched to Android then I continued to communicate with most of them via plain SMS, logged into my old BBM ID last night and the number of contacts remaining was zip, lol I was surprised. My sister was among one of them and she's using an iPhone 4S now.

"Thank you blackberry team. I was wanting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth" There's probably 50 or so of that exact thing. I don't like any of them. Also, not liking that this app in unavailable on my Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Posted via Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (Android 4.2.2)

It's easily sideloaded. Get a copy of My App Sharer from Play, and create the apk from your phone. Save it to DropBox (no option for Google Drive for some reason), then run the apk on your tab. If you don't have an Android phone, you can probably find a link to the apk over on CrackBerry.

Download apk from other sources (android central forum, xda).
Sideloaded or install it.
If it says cannot install just keep trying or reset and try again.
I have BBM working on my 1st gen Nexus 7 wifi only

Hmm wouldnt the IP address give the game away blackberry and google? and i would have thought that only one review per IP address would solve the problem. Meaning in order for loads of fake reviews they would have to have multiple users doing this or visiting alot of internet cafe's?

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Restricting to the same IP would allow only one user to review from within a network sharing the same Internet Connection

You can get around that just as easily anyway. Just use an proxy

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I had it installed and I really do hate it. The interface is crammed like hell and messages get pushed to me later than they should. When I heard about this I uninstalled and went back to Hangouts. I keep checking to make sure I'm not somehow part of this scam and that my review is still what I left it as... I won't have my face associated with something I don't believe.

Posted via Android Central App

Did you turn off the notification icon? if you did, that's why you got delayed push notifications, FYI. AC had a post on this the other day.

Yes but those icons are pish when they're a workaround for not using proper push notifications. Skype & BBM both do it, Whatsapp and Hangouts do things properly.

As for the user interface - which is, indeed, anything but "smooth" - how many times do you have to press the button in the top-right before the new message box appears? I have to press it four or five times otherwise it ignores me.

ok time to shut down Crockberry. i bet all of the fake reviews came from that silly cult of french canucks.

Have you been to CrackBerry lately? If I didn't know better I'd swear it's been replaced by hundreds of plants from other companies, bitching about BlackBerry non-stop for at least the past six months. Actually, it started happening around the time the Z10 launched in the US, oddly enough. Almost as if... do Americans hate BlackBerry? It was really upbeat and cheerful at CrackBerry before the US launch...

Thank you so much Android Central team. I was waiting this story. Its really great user friendly and smooth!

Posted via Android Central App

No mention of this on CrackBerry. Wasn't Kevin just in Asia for something...hmmm...let the speculations begin :-)

"as we all know, BlackBerry and BBM have a very ... passionate ... user base —"

And this makes it unique from iOS and Android, Phil?


Back in the day when I started using the Blackberry Curve 8320 and I would be on Crackberry and post my PIN to meet people you'd be surprised how many people from India etc. would add you so this does not surprise me.

Bots? Or are there really that many indonesians, indians etc. still using BB software / hardware.

I just started using BBM on Android, it's a nice piece of software but is it adding any value or anything extra to the common software that most people already use? No it's not. The way Blackberry / RIM is going right now I'd give it a year before they get rid all their patents and go belly up. People are already used to apps like WhatsApp, Skype and what not to stay in touch and I believe these are already being widely used.

The people that downloaded BBM are most likely previous Blackberry users and just want to keep using it since well it was a nice piece of software on the actual Blackberry.

I installed it, messed with it but didn't add to any other IM related apps that I was already used too.

I was a loyal BlackBerry user for 7 years. Still vastly porefer a physical keyboard, but what can you do? I finally got fed up and leftin May as they botched the rollout of BB10 in the States.

I installed BBM on Monday primarily because I do still have a good friend (who I convinced to buy BBs for he and his wife) who is still on a BB and who doesn't have texting. Did not communicate with him anywhere near as much since my switch to Android.

So, it's there for chatting with him and if it takes off, I've got it.

The rollout (even if you ignore the botched prior attempt) is half-assed. The app itself lacks some of the better and most compelling features ("coming soon!!!") people might actually notice and decide to use, etc. Not only that, but there's no sizzle with this steak. They aren't out there pimping it with the *reasons* you should use it (much the same way they dropped the ball in their Super Bowl ad).

So, much like BB10 (and in particular the Q10), they have a product that *might* have a significant audience, and they're either too strapped or too stupid to actually speak directly to that audience in a meaningful way.

you convinced a friend and his wife to buy blackberries and then you switched to Android? what are you, a sadist?

Some friend huh? Convince your buddy to buy a Ford Focus then sell your's and drive off in a Camero. LOL

I was also potty trained, graduated from high school, saw Pete Rose break MLB's all time hit record, got married and had a kid.

My friend and his wife bought 8520s as their first BBs years ago. Another friend bought a 9930 2 years ago on my recommedndation.

When a company, like BB, is so desperate for any measure of success, any tactic is on the table, no matter how sleazy or unethical it may be.

Personally I'm not "waiting in line" for any app, unless its something killer. Also the fact that they rolled out this way tells me they think they don't have capacity to even run the few people that may try it. I don't trust my messaging to someone who may not be able to handle it when needed. Sorry BB but you have failed in all respects, and your fate awaits you. You can either accept it gracefully or continue looking like buffoons.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

Since when has bad grammar a sign of a fake review. I can find reviews like that on Google Products as well

It is not "bad grammar" it is the same bad grammar used over and over in thousands of similarly worded reviews. You really think Blackberry would have made a statement for suspect reviews with just bad grammar? They are not users on Reddit.

Are they joking? Do they not know how easy it is to set up multiple Gmail/Google+ accounts?

I have 37 Gmail accounts. Whenever I need to sign up for a mailing list or place an
order with a questionable company like, I create a new gmail account.

I also have multiple email accounts for that exact reason, and when I use a certain email address on stuff I'm not sure about, it ends up getting spam and junk mail weeks later.

That was my thinking, I still have my AOL account for that crap

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

They absolutely need to get rid of the fake 5 star reviews. On the other side of the coin, having just browsed through the reviews, a big chunk of the 1 star reviews seem to be by people that haven't even used the app. Another even bigger chunk are people pissed off they have to wait in line. Yes, that's a problem, but not really indicative of the apps performance once you have it up and running, and not really a review of the app itself. But I doubt those will get removed or changed once the wait line is gone.

Oh well, either way I think the app will succeed or fail on it's own merit, regardless of reviews. Word of mouth and people getting their friends on board will be the driver (or lack thereof).

yeah, and the word on the street is, if you download it you have to wait 2 or 3 days before you can use it.

Here's what happened. Somebody (likely affiliated with Blackberry) created a script that would connect to Google Play using newly created ID's and submit bogus reviews for the newly released BBM app. The script was supposed to select from a random list of pre-generated comments in order to make the bogus reviews look unique and authentic. The script did not work as intended, and instead of posting unique comments in the reviews, it generated the same review comment over and over again, hence revealing the reviews to be bogus. Extremely embarrassing for Blackberry.

Except that BlackBerry's goto move is to do nothing. Their marketing department can't even pull off a decent TV commercial. Forget organizing a fake review campaign. This was done to make BlackBerry look bad, not look good. Look to a hedge fund with a short interest in the stock who wants to make sure that the company doesn't start picking up momentum

I'm Indonesian and i was surprised to read this article. Let me tell you something important about our smartphone users: some of us are using two smartphones (BB+Android/iPhone) or Blackberry+Android tablet/iPad.

Most of them are using Blackberry because of BBM. There are a lot of Indonesian who still use BBM in daily basis. So don't be surprised if you guys see reviews with bad grammars in Play Store or App Store. they're us, Indonesian, who are too happy that now we can ditch our Blackberry but bad in English grammar.

Right. So you're saying it's business-as-usual, whenever the same review is posted multiple times? In the exact same words?


Posted via Android Central App

As far as I'm concerned the rating system on Google play is a mess. Doesn't seem like Google is doing much about it because if the allegations are true BlackBerry aren't alone in this as there have been 'many' instances of it.

Personally if some of you are getting all up in arms about it, I'd rather they just took the ratings off and the comments. The only thing that really matters to me is how many installs and so far bbry have been successful to have android users install their free app. An app that over the years has garnered a name for it self.

It's not rocket science to use BBM. I just can't believe how much the focus is on the ratings. This isn't some hacked together app were talking about here... I've found it to be indispensable but that's just me

Early 2013, RIM changed its name to BlackBerry Limited, because their Research is no longer in Motion, with their last product being the Limited BlackBerry - RB

Posted via Android Central App

I think BlackBerry did this because they wanted to lure consumers into downloading the app because of its great rating and reviews.

Posted via Android Central App

I think BlackBerry did this because they wanted to lure consumers into downloading the app because of its great rating and reviews.

Posted via Android Central App

The fake reviews are on an endless loop. BlackBerry did this ok? Now can we all move on?

Posted via AC app using my S-Pen

So all the apps that have high positives reviews, no one says anything.
As soon as BBM came to android and iphone people started to download it people came in droves to put it down as crap.
I came here to read the article and comments, never got disappointed with all comments , saying something without really using it.