Today’s story covers two basic points. Yet another PDF reader, one of the App Store’s most popular app categories, and a seemingly devious tale of cloning and app reviews.
First up is PDF Reader Ultimate, a modestly priced PDF reader app which does annotation, notes, bookmarks, and integrated text-to-speach. The app’s icon, feature set, and price look remarkable similar to another PDF reader I’ve used called PDF Reader Pro. Ultimate must be better than Pro but if there’s a difference between the two I can’t find it.
That raised some hair on my neck so I decided to investigate.
As it turns out, PDF Reader Ultimate and PDF Reader Pro come from the same Mac app developer who publishes a dozen or so additional apps. A painting app, a drawing app, other PDF apps, a text editor, an RSS reader, a mini word processor or two, and more.
The Mac App Store has a bunch of four and five star reviews for PDF Reader Pro and PDF Reader Ultimate with many of the reviews posted on the same day, and from reviewers who only reviewed that one app, or who reviewed a number of other apps by the same developer.
Does that smell funny to you?
If it does, that’s because something is a little bit rotten in the process. Apparently, an app developer can create and publish an app on the App Store, then get friends and family to review the app and give it four or five stars, which makes it appear more popular than it may actually be.
Both PDF Reader Pro and Ultimate are decent– and if there’s a difference between the two I can’t find it. Both are priced modestly, and they’re highly ranked in a popular app category (everyone uses PDFs these days). What’s missing from the feature list is integrity.
This is much like a crummy restaurant which gets employees, family, and friends to post glowing reviews about the restaurant’s menu on Yelp.
Bad form. Bad form.
I’m still looking for the ultimate PDF reader.