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The Chinese Windows Phone Store is teeming with spam and bad behavior [Updated]

Despite high expectations, the internet is not a place where you can say whatever you want. There are etiquettes to make sure everyone could have reasonably enjoyable online experience. That's why there are moderators and administrators everywhere to have personal assaults in discussion threads removed, and to have user who spam banned.

The same applies to Windows Phone Store, and Windows Store. The app review you submitted don't just appear immediately. Instead, there is someone (or some bot) at Microsoft having a quick look at it first, and have it published if nothing particularly naught is found. You guys should have been used to it already, after so long time.

However, according to Chinese site WPDang, online etiquette does not exist in the Chinese Windows Phone Store, which is causing a growing problem for user experience.

The pictures above shows part of the review thread for the app Abby in Wonderland (click the link to see the app in the CHINESE Store). On June 25th of 2013, a guy named Yan Chao was apparently so happy with this app that he left a five-star review and commented "Superb! Nokia's got unlimited creativity! Hope Huawei acquires Nokia early!" From the next day on, a whole legion of angry Nokia supporters showed up, each leaving a five-star review and basically repeats the same thing: "Yan Chao is a ****." 

The expressions may vary, but the principle's the same. (On a positive note, at least the offenders left 5-star reviews).

My personal disagreement with this Mr. Yan aside, I don't think this should happen in a reputable app marketplace. People throwing curses freely, bullying up one poor guy, blocking actually useful reviews from innocent users, without any interference from the marketplace regulator?

I just checked Abby in Wonderland a few minuted ago. Looks like the string of assault has been kept continuously all the way to today, with the latest entry being "Yo, Yan Chao! You've made some fame by hitting WPDang headlines!"

All the time, Microsoft didn't do anything.

Being derogatory isn't the only problem in the Chinese Windows Phone Store. There are surges of spam after what looks like every single app with remarkable popularity. Below is one example:

Three entries of obvious spam in a row, having entirely nothing to do with the app itself. The first is advertising for "part time job, make money online", while the second and third are Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 discussion groups looking for new members. Yes it's not reasonable to ask for a platform absolutely free of spam but there should at least be some sort of control mechanism, with visible result.

The contrast between American and Chinese Windows Phone Stores is quite stark, with the former offering acceptable experience, while the latter being more like unregulated chaos in its raw form. I've come to suspect Microsoft didn't even bother hiring a Chinese speaker to oversee the Store comments in his own language.

Non-American readers, especially those speaking other languages than English, what is your native Windows Phone Store like? Well managed? Or basically left to its own like the Chinese one? It's a bit more forgivable if it's a Chinese-only problem, or is restricted to just Chinese/Japanese/Korean languages. Asian languages are extremely hard for machines to interpret after all. But if the same happens to every non-English-speaking Store, well that's some serious problem. Windows Phone Store is no longer THAT desperately low in app count, perhaps it's time for Microsoft to shift some energy onto quality control? And by "quality" I mean the Windows Phone Store as a service.

Hopefully with future updates, the Windows Phone and Windows Stores will both begin to offer methods by which users can "flag" comments for inappropriate content--really, that's all that is needed here. Indeed, we'd be shocked if Microsoft wasn't already working on such a system, but until it goes into effect, some Stores will continue to experience the above.

Source: WPDang


Microsoft responds fast. In just one day, the Windows Phoen team is already in action to cleanse the Chinese Store comments, starting with manually removing spam reviews. As said before, the Chinese language is excessively flexible in grammar and phrasing, rendering keyword-based comment filters almost useless. I'm not sure how Microsoft could keep this as an ongoing effect without hiring a dedicated "review-reviewer" team specifically for the Chinese Store. But it's good to know the company cares very much about user experience.



There are 103 comments. Sign in to comment

erchiappa says:

Italian's quite good. Never seen spam

icyrock1 says:

Same. Never had a problem with spam review on the Windows 8 store. 

SnatchedIT says:

Well man, you gotta admit many in our Italian store leave senseless review (I've seen reviews on instance like: 1 star and "zomg we want instagram, Microsoft y u no make instagram).

Spam is a moderating problem, ignorance is not..

venetasoft says:

Apart from "make it free" + 1 star...

erchiappa says:

Or only 4 because it is only in English

venetasoft says:

True :D !! That's essentially the reason why some devs publish 2 separated apps, una free and one full, in order to keep this kind of comments out from the full app.
It could be a nice idea a devloper-oriented app where we can post funniest 1-star comments :D

nauhtnn says:

Vietnamese's has the kind of annoying comments, too.

Khoa Lai says:

i cant agree more with u on that, despite the fact that im Vietnamese.

xajuan says:

I never see things like that. I'm from Detroit, mi USA

afg_farnab says:

Even the WPCentral app has been a victim of spam reviews lately. :/

mdscj4 says:

You failed to capitalize the Internet.

Failed or chose not to? It's debated on whether the term is so generic now that a "capital I" is no longer needed.

rodneyej says:

I guess I'll think twice about what I said to you yesterday... Remember, that "foot in yo a$$" comment❔.. Lol.. Just joking.

procen says:

LOL! You like to push his button. :-)

rodneyej says:

No, I like to push his buttonS.. Lol❕

Fndlumia says:

One day he will push the ban button on you

rodneyej says:

He knows that I contribute comments of substance heavily most of the time.. He's a good boy, he don't bite,,, you can pet him... Lol❕

NIST says:

Good grief. Sucking up is never pretty.

Xaphoon148 says:

Store in Norway/Scandinavia? is quite good with a few exceptions...
Guess it's all about normal behavior... or lack of it...
Maybe some do not have the ability to be shameful about their savage behavior...

jlynnm350z says:

Them crazy Chinese. Cease an desist, or I'll have to come over there and bang some heads!

tissotti says:

Haven't seen anything like this on Swedish or Finnish store. So typical for both countrie though is that pretty much 90% of the reviews are in English, when only locals can read the reviews.

marantaz says:

Its the NSA... Bunch of Whiny Bitches.

uselessrobot says:

I've been noticing a number of crappy apps getting multiple positive reviews. There was one game, I can't remember the name, where it was bad enough that legitimate reviewers were commenting on it because they felt misled.

tekhna says:

I uh, I thought this was supposed to be an Android-only problem? Or so I was told over and over again here. 

Kellzea says:

Different type of spam mate. Its not the apps that are spam, its the reviews.

Jack Larson1 says:

Yes. At least there are no security problems.(knock on wood)

Witness says:

Read the article.

Darren Walsh says:

Seems grand here in Ireland but not sure if we're linked/regulated by the US ?

sasukeluffy says:

Nothing like that in Finnish store :)

Amran Nagal says:

Bad reviews?
You should see how people curse WhatsApp developer team in the app review section.

xratola says:

Everything's going properly in the peruvian's store :)
btw I Can't understand why they get so upset ._. It's only a simple comment :S... Too much fanatism on these days :/

Jason Wun says:

Man, you would never know how crazy the Chinese Nokia fans are. If you say something negative to Nokia, they would leave comment and attack you. And more and more non-Nokia-fans users would leave the same comment just for fun.

The main problem with the US store is that most reviewers are morons.

rebel_yell says:

Haa! I dropped a cylinder with that comment.

jlynnm350z says:

Hey, I resemble that remark

thirdday2002 says:

Love the fact that Perry the platypus is front and center on the picture.

sholokov says:

Where is Agent P?

Belgium is fine!

blackprince says:

Thanks for cleaning up Daniel

I say Mr. Yan is a c***. But, yeah, hate spamming, and reviews boards shouldn't turn into a YouTube comments section, although some "reviews" are uselessly poor, or the boring beg for "free", "free"...

rebel_yell says:

Thank you. If I had been drinking a beverage I would have blown most of it out of my nose.

We also have the "make it free" begging in the Spanish store plus the even worst "please translate it into spanish" wich applies for everything from a RPG (maybe justified) to an stopwatch app (not at all). Otherwise reviews are generally useful and heavily censored (in spanish bad words are rather common so it gets a little strange to see your "es una puta mierda" converted in "es una **** ******".)

AriesDog says:

To quote Giant Bomb, "China don't care."

Every Chinese Store is teeming with spam and bad behavior


realwarder says:

I would love (as a developer), to be able to comment back on reviews.
For instance in the Windows 8 store we have an app which you get reviews like "It doesn't print".  But actually it does, if you use the Charm to "Send to a printer Device".  Problem: new Windows 8 users expect to see a Print button in the app, which we contemplated adding, except the Microsoft design rules stronly recommend not to do this (likely because it taints users from learning about the Charm).  So... developer improvements are needed to the Store to be able to provide public feedback on comments and flag comments too.

rebel_yell says:

I always write the developer first if I have a problem. If, after repeated attempts , I do not get an answer only then do I give a less than stellar review. I also include the issue in the review. 99.9% of all developers are more than happy to help.

realwarder says:

If only everyone was like you :)

rebel_yell says:

To quote Confucius, "The man who walks through the airport turnstile sideways is going to Bangkok." He also said, "He who has a sharp tongue cuts own throat."

jlynnm350z says:

Because in the midnight hour she cried more more more

Chi28n2k says:

Confucius, said that? What airport was he talking about, in 500BC? In that case, he should have said, "He who walks through airport turnstile sideways, has a long walk, with a stupid man, ahead." Followed quickly by, "What's an airport???"

Pacus1x says:

There is no such problems with Latin american WP store (Most of the apps reviews comes from Mexico), no spam nor foul behavior from latino WP users.

bradbamford says:

I bet it is monitored for anything less than a 5 star review.... Incorrectly assuming any 5 star review would be a positive comment.

majohnny says:

Theres that "free, free FREE" thing in the German store, too. And I can often see people say "please send me this app to, because I don't want to buy it". I always wonder what's up with that. Sometimes people discuss useless things, depends on the app really. Reviews work really well for the less known apps, and not so good for the popular ones.

MrSimmix says:

The South African store is mostly alright. There is the occasional person that swears in Afrikaans (but the swearing never degrades the app or any other person.) But I have never seen any spam. After reading this I have lost a lot of respect for the Chinese.

the_zeni says:

While there is almost no spam, many users try to interact with the developer via the swiss store (requesting updates, bugfixes, new features). And since Microsoft choose tho only have one feedback-function for switzerland (despite the rest of the store exists in all three required versions), it's a huge mess regarding language. There are reviews in all 3 swiss main languages (german, french and italian) aswell as english...

Bohan Li says:

This is just an example that Chinese Internet users enjoy an unusual kind of liberty of speech, , contrary to common impressions that they are constantly monitored and censored, the liberty to spam shamelessly, curse freely and speak irresponsibly about anything however they wish to. Microsoft would immediately be labeled as an EVIL MIND -WASHING COMMUNIST CORPORATION THAT RESTRICTS PEOPLE'S FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION by those Chinese netizens as soon as they start to moderate app reviews. And then they will start a campaign to spam the marketplace with reviews like "ANTI EVIL COMMUNIST MICROSOFT", and you can never imagine what "nicknames" and memes they will come up with for the company.

EspHack says:

ban the spam, everything else is ok for me, i could be an angry nokia guy too, when i first read the tittle i thought it was about malware or something more relevant tbh

Bohan Li says:

Oh and in fact a lot of netizens already hate Microsoft for its anti-piracy practices in China. "Evil Microsoft restricts people's freedom to use pirated software!!"

I am from Russia, but I use UK store. However, I've checked Russian store from my mom's phone and it's filled with foul words and tons of whine about "WHY THERE IS NO RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN THIS ***** OF AN APP?" But, it's ok overall. Surprisingly no one spams over there.

venetasoft says:

It could be useful to be able to contact back a user....Is this possible on apple or android ?

TKhaldi says:

I'm from Jordan, but I use the UK app store because the Jordanian marketplace doesn't get some of the more internationally popular apps on time. Besides, I'm not interested in Arabic-language apps.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that there's a distressingly frequent amount of "Nokia is a s*** company. I need [insert popular iOS/Android app here]" reviews and some comment that WP is a joke platform.

mango.lover says:

Misleading article title. I thought this would be about actual malware in our pristine and precious Windows Phone Store.

poiman says:

Everything OK in the Portuguese Store :)

titoyees says:

Dominican Republic store: not a lot of comments but not spam

Kram Devil says:

What I took from this incident is that even Nokia haters or fans of other manufacturers consider Nokia as superb and a fount of unlimited creativity.  You can't really argue with OIS, wireless charging, supersensitive touch, great proprietary apps, and soon 41Mp. 

The Philippine Store, I think, is basically the US Store with Filipino comments/reviews. Looks pretty okay, although the posts in our native tongue sometimes get rowdy.

txDrum says:

I wonder if the Chinese government could have anything to do with it, in regards to not wanting people outside of their control (msft employee?) controlling their marketplace. In this case, if the govt or a govt controlled entity does, it would be reasonable to think they're focusing efforts on keeping "bad" apps to them out, while not caring about spam.

Chickedy china, the Chinese chicken. Eat a drumstick and your brain starts tickin.

trwrt says:

Where's the "stupid Nokia fanboy" guy?  This is right in his wheelhouse, and he'd actually be right for once.

Zamir Yusof says:

Ha! My thought exactly! I'm waiting for his legendarycomment

pulkit10 says:

Mr. Chan is a ****.

That's all, folks!

Canada here - store is pretty nice except for the occasional Quebecers straying on em.

Josh Harman says:

Damn Quebecers.

Ben Kolo says:

Something with the Chinese and spam, I get spam emails in Chinese on my work account even with strict security settings using enterprise Microsoft Outlook. No other spam gets through, only ones sent from Asian top-level domains and ones with a bunch of Chinese characters.

Josh Harman says:

Absolutely shocked! Spammers in China?!? I don't believe it!

edwardtkl says:

Other than the spam messages, I can always see someone rating the app one star just because it cannot display in Chinese.
I am enough with the Chinese Windows Phone store and switched to the UK Windows Phone store permanently.
I can't understand why Microsoft put Hong Kong users into the Chinese Windows Phone, those apps are not for us.

Marc_SP says:

At least you HK people with HK  WP8 devices have the option to change the store (unlike mainland China "harmonious" handsets). I bough my Lumia in HK just because of that.

edwardtkl says:

The Lumia bought from China mainland have no option to change the store? OMG

Marc_SP says:

It is not just Lumia, it is WP8. They cannot risk people downloading Skype or Facebook or Twitter from other stores (and using a VPN router). People from Tencent, Renren, Sina Weibo and other chinese clones woult NOT be happy if they had to compete in a free market with the original international companies (aside from the keeping control thing). The funny thing is that we allow their companies to enter our markets. Shoud be "quid pro quo", but anyway, I doubt these services get any atention in the rest of the world. They are condemned to be "from China to China". No freedom, no future. Internet is based on that. And I wouldn't be surprised if that store thing wasjust the tip of the iceberg. For example, it is my understanding that encryption is disabled in mainland China WP8. Who knows what else MS gave to the Dear Leaders. (To be fair, in the light of recent news, we could also exchange "Dear Leaders" by "Nobel Peace Prize winner" , haha).

nike_ab says:

Indian reviews are in english and i haven't seen any such non-sense here with popular games ofcouse. Don't know about other apps

Aryan Angel says:

Yan Chao is a ****

Yan Chao "is" an a****

mms-pc says:

Other than this spam issue, there are also several shitty apps shown up in Chinese Windows Phone Store, the contents are so terrible that they don't worth buying, a lot of users from Taiwan and China complain about the extremely poor qualities, complaining that why MS let them through in the first place.

Bob101910 says:

Even on the U.S. marketplace you see those 1-star reviews simply because the full version of an app or game isn't free. Not as bad as cursing or those people that spam Nerflix reviews begging for something to be on instant stream, but it's still annoying.

winroon says:

I've gotta say it's popular in the Chinese internet.

winroon says:

Another problem in the Chinese store is that an app have many visions such as Weibo,qq,which makes people confused.

winroon says:

I think this is not a single problem.Like in the USA,you can see many 1 star reviews like its not free,we want instagram....

Jason Wun says:

It's very easy to fix this problem. MSFT-US enlarge the authority of MSFT -China and let them mange Chinese Windows/Windows Phobe store themself.

littlek4za says:

U should specify, Chinese from china, not all Chinese behave in this way, the title is not fair for Chinese from other country!!!

I travel a lot and have to sat, as a country as a whole China is the rudest and most self serving. People non stop are spitting on the streets. What is with that? Not a person here or there, but all over the place. Its insane. I was even more shocked when I was in a shopping mall and SAME THING. People spitting everywhere. Then when waiting in line for whatever (food, tickets, service, etc) there is nonstop blatant line cutting. I could go on, but I was somewhat shocked. ZERO manners and people just bring disgusting.

So as a result, I'm not shocked by the horrible behavior and chaos on the Chinese marketplace...seems to coincide with what I saw when I was there.

Localhorst86 says:

I occasionally run across rude app reviews either stating the developer is stupid or that Microsoft and/or Windows phone "is shit". This happens in the german store but then again the people writing these reviews are usually called "Player########" and they don't actually use curse words, they have the habbit of censoring themselves:
"OMG, Windows Phone is sh**, Microsoft should kill this abomination of an OS. Why do we have to pay 2,99€ for an app that's 99c on IOs? Are you shi*'*ing me? Does MS think we are mor***?"
i have seen a handfull of reviews that would attack other reviewers personaly as well like "Player########, you are an idiot. The App does exactly what it says. Do your research next time. Go die in a corner", but at max I came across such reviews 4 or 5 times.
But still, I wish there was an option to report reviews as I have often come accross reviews where the complaint of the reviewer was false or already fixed by the developer, yet there were low ratings because of that "missing" feature.

It's the robot that places the asterisks, it's not civility.

Localhorst86 says:

If it was a robot filtering out profanity, why would they not simply filter out the whole review/comment?

It is a robot, at least in uk, some people already found out and use creative characters to spell foul language to avoid the asterisks.

StevenChoon says:

China is like that,they dont know what is moral...this is the effect of COMMUNIST country

Yeah, let's pretend citizens from our countries are all very civilized..., it's just the Chinese. Right...

The indian store is fine.. No rage.. But only people saying to make the app free.. Every 5th comment will be a true app review.

Morq says:

Poland reporting everything's in order.

Chesmez says:

I have never faced a problem in the Danish store.

dynamic_cast says:

Recently I changed the region of my phone to China. Yes I noticed there are spams. However I also noticed:
1. There are much more reviews (non-spam) in China's WP store than US
2. There are more useful apps in the store, and most of them are free.
1 probably means Lumia has been selling well recently in China.
2 is also reasonable. The number of developers in China is *huge*, and their salary is low, so companies can make good quality apps at amazing speed (incuding Nokia China).

Oleg Ilyin says:

I wonder, if Chinese users are so severe why they didn't trash this comment section already? Looks like they have some bound, apparently.
I see some spam in Russian store from time to time, but the problem is not so widespread, IMHO it is because of low popularity so far. It will be there eventually too. Unless spam catching mechanisms will improve by that time.

NIST says:

This is why we can't have nice things.