Impact of Referral Incentives on Mobile App Reviews

  • Noor Abu-El-RubEmail author
  • Amanda Minnich
  • Abdullah Mueen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10360)


Product owners occasionally provide referral incentives to the customers (e.g. coupons, bonus points, referral rewards). However, clever customers can write their referral codes in online review pages to maximize incentives. While these reviews are beneficial for both writers and product owners, the core motivation behind such reviews is monetary as opposed to helping potential customers. In this paper, we analyze referral reviews in the Google Play store and identify groups of users that have been consistently taking part in writing such abusive reviews. We further explore how such referral reviews indeed help the mobile apps in gaining popularity when compared to apps that do not provide incentives. We also find an increasing trend in the number of apps being targeted by abusers, which, if continued, will render review systems as crowd advertising platforms rather than an unbiased source of helpful information.


Online reviews Advertisement Referrals Google play Abuse Cliques Incentives 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noor Abu-El-Rub
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amanda Minnich
    • 1
  • Abdullah Mueen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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