iPhone App Dev Pays $$$$ for ***** and Sullies Santa's Name

Every Christmas, someone manages to diminish my already minimal faith in the power of the holiday spirit. Like the developer of the SantaLive 3D app for the iPhone, an innocent little app for Santa lovers that gives you a peek at what Santa's doing that day, like wrapping presents or whipping insubordinate elves. It appears that they're apparently paying cold, heartless cash for five-star ratings as a way to goose ratings that are now restricted to being doled out by people who've actually bought the app.

The developer, or someone posing as them (benefit of the doubt, yadda yadda) is offering $US4 for every five-star rating on Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Since the app costs $US1.99, you'd make a whole two dollars for the effort, enough to buy, like, another actually good iPhone app. Paid reviewers are told to identify themselves by placing five dots (.....) in the review. Gadget Lab points out that as of Friday, six of the 22 reviews had the marker. The dev's CEO wouldn't confirm or deny the effort. Shady shady. And dragging Santa into it, for shame. [Gadget Lab via Ars]

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