BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) might consider BBM for Android and iPhone a silver lining in its long, losing battle for mobile market share – if the app were not running into so many issues. The latest has many sites wondering where a series of questionable BBM reviews on Google Play came from – and apparently, the folks at BlackBerry are “working with Google” to unravel the mystery.
With over 139,000 5-star reviews on Google Play, thousands of downloaders are saying the same thing: “Thank you so much this blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth.”
BlackBerry says it is “aware” of the problem does not approve of the practice. In a statement sent to the International Business Times, BlackBerry said:
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.
However, following interviews with several reviewers, it turns out that the problem may not be as fraudulent as some suspect. BlackBerry does not appear to have bribed users or otherwise attempted to artificially pump up its ratings – rather, the Canadian manufacturer is the target of a widespread prank.
It is all a joke, says Mathew Pinard, an IT professional working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, repeating the claims of many of reviewers IBTimes contacted. He said that the similarly worded reviews are an attempt to troll the app“just to kind of poke fun at BlackBerry.”
“It’s a joke, but to my knowledge it’s not sponsored or affiliated with BlackBerry itself,” Pinard said. “Its more of a prank that people are playing on the application, and it seems to have gone viral.”
Alas, the Great BBM for Android Review Hoax is one mystery the tech community can put to rest. When asked about how he truly felt about BBM on Android, Pinard said it was “convenient” to be able to interact with Canadian enterprise users who use BlackBerry’s BB10 smartphones.
“But personally, I don’t think its very different from other messaging platforms that I’ve seen so far. There’s a diversity of apps out there, and it doesn’t really stand out from anything.”
Thomas Halleck is a tech reporter for the International Business Times, covering Google, wearables, product reviews and mobile news....