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A Hundred 5-Star Reviews For $150 (Or: How Cheaters Game The Android Play Store Using Mechanical Turk)

Way back in the day, if you wanted to know if a piece of software was safe, reliable, or usable before you opened the package, you were out of luck. Once you rip that shrink wrap, you're stuck with it. The app markets of today are, by comparison, a breath of fresh air. A litany of user reviews let you know up front if a piece of software is crap or not before you download. Unfortunately, sometimes developers, like Noosoft Games, abuse this system by, as an example, using the Mechanical Turk system from Amazon to pay for 5-star reviews.

What Is Mechanical Turk

For the uninitiated, here's a little background: Amazon's Mechanical Turk system (named after an 18th century chess-playing automaton) is a platform for businesses to farm out minor, tedious tasks (called HITs) without hiring full-time employees, and lets users perform those small tasks for a pittance.

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[Editorial] Virtual Game Tokens For Android Games Exist, And They're Even More Evil Than DLC

To say that DLC is a growing problem would be an understatement. Of the last five games I've reviewed for this site, all of them have had some form of in-app purchases to expand the game or unlock content. Sometimes it's awful, sometimes it's not so bad, but all of them guarantee you only get most of a game. A new service called Pocket Change, however, wants to let game developers charge on a per-play basis. This is beyond scummy.

Going From Bad...

Back before DLC became a common term amongst gamers, we still paid for extra content. Whether we called them "expansion packs", "map packs", or "Pokemon Every Color Of The Friggin' Rainbow", we would pay money for new content to extend games we enjoyed.

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