Bombarded with Spam Reviews

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Zombie Byte

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Feb 29, 2024, 4:12:40 AMFeb 29
to Chromium Extensions
Our extension has been bombarded with spam reviews. We are a highly rated tool and all of a sudden in one day we are bombarded with a lot of 1 star review. All the review details are false, and the only intention seems to be to tank our tool. 

Has anyone else had this issue? What can we do about this? 

Please help. We had put in a lot of work with our tool and build a good reputation, and it is sad to see such bad actors trying to distroy it. 


Zombie Byte

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Feb 29, 2024, 6:51:22 AMFeb 29
to Chromium Extensions, Zombie Byte
So, to give an update to previous email. Some one reached out and started blackmailing us that if we use their service they can remove all the one star review. To prove the point they also put in another twenty 1-star review. Then offered to remove the review for some cash. Have given screenshot of the conversation below. 

We have stopped all conversation with them and dont plan to engage. Wanted to share this so others are aware.

Also wanted to check, what can we do about this? Is there anyway to report this and remove the fake reviews? This is affecting our reputation. Please help. 


Initial reachout.png
Final message.png


Uladzimir Yankovich

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Feb 29, 2024, 4:45:09 PMFeb 29
to Chromium Extensions, Zombie Byte
I hope the Chrome team can give you a helping hand 🙏.

Juraj M.

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Feb 29, 2024, 5:01:15 PMFeb 29
to Chromium Extensions, Uladzimir Yankovich, Zombie Byte
This is a nice example of what will happen if you decide to pay for shady services to improve your rating. They use your money to maximize their income, now even with blackmail!
If there is no market, they will stop, so never ever give them any money!

And I really hope Google can allocate some of it's vast resources to battle this plague.

hrg...@gmail.com

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Feb 29, 2024, 6:29:07 PMFeb 29
to Chromium Extensions, Juraj M., Uladzimir Yankovich, Zombie Byte

This is a nice example of what will happen if you decide to pay for shady services to improve your rating.

Interesting. I hadn't heard of this scam before.
First you pay them to scam the system in your favor and then they use the same system to scam you in their favor. Brilliant!!
Dealing with criminals is never a good idea.

Zombie Byte

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Feb 29, 2024, 9:53:03 PMFeb 29
to hrg...@gmail.com, Chromium Extensions, Juraj M., Uladzimir Yankovich
Hi everyone, 

To update, someone from the chrome team did reach out to us after this email, and we provided the details they required. Thank you for that. Hope the fake reviews will be removed soon. 

To clarify, we never ever even engaged with any review providers or any other similar service. This was out of the blue. We would also never pay as it only encourages these behaviours.  It seems that they were targeting a specific kind of extensions. It seems that one of our competitors was also targeted 2 days back from the same accounts. The fake review provided for them was also from the same accounts. 

Regards

 

Juraj M.

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Mar 1, 2024, 2:53:01 AMMar 1
to Chromium Extensions, Zombie Byte, Chromium Extensions, Juraj M., Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com
I didn't meant to say that you specifically payed them before :), I mean it in general. Those that support malicious companies can expect them to grow into something even worse.

Zombie Byte

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Mar 4, 2024, 8:49:55 AMMar 4
to Chromium Extensions, Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com, Juraj M.
To update to the extortion with spam review, we are still keeping on getting them every other day followed by a message offering to remove it for money. Another similar extension is also being bombarded like this. Our average review has gone from 4.9 to 3.2 something. Even after escalating with chrome store, no reviews have been removed after 5 days. 

Longer term, shouldn't Chrome Store have a better way to handle reviews? These people who are targeting us do not seem to be that sophisticated . They are just using bots to add like 20 review in 10 minutes using random text from somewhere. They are just trying to make some quick buck. Should there atleast be a CAPTCHA on the review form, maybe a little dialed up? This can also take care of the fake review services who usually uses bots. That itself will take care of the less sophisticated operations. And now that we are at it, shouldnt there be a CAPTCHA before viewing the chrome email too, like how we have with YouTube? Atleast lets add some friction.

Otherwise, is there a way to freeze the review section for apps that have been affected by these intentional fake reviews? Even after escalating after mentioning here, it is taking more than 5 days. So with a similar pace the people doing these kinds of things have a big advantage.  

I worry this will turn into a cottage industry. It is just too easy to hold an app to ransom, and even if a small set of people pay it is enough to sustain them. Not sure submitting a ticket and waiting by itself will solve this long term?

Jackie Han

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Mar 4, 2024, 1:47:13 PMMar 4
to Zombie Byte, Chromium Extensions, Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com, Juraj M.
Hi Zombie,

I see that issue has now been resolved and the 1-star reviews were eventually deleted. So please wait a little longer.

Also, could you share your extension link? Let other developers keep an eye on it.


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Zombie Byte

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Mar 4, 2024, 10:17:54 PMMar 4
to Chromium Extensions, Jackie Han, Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com, Juraj M.
Update: Seems Google has removed all the fake reviews now. Want to thank the Google team for doing this promptly. 

Hope the spammers don't come back and continue doing the same thing.

Thank you everyone.






Justin Silverman

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Mar 28, 2024, 5:38:59 PMMar 28
to Chromium Extensions, Zombie Byte, Jackie Han, Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com, Juraj M.
Has anyone else run into this issue recently and have a way to fix it? About a month ago my then 4.9/5 star rated Chrome extension with 10,000 users got flooded with 25 1-star reviews, mostly within a few minutes of each other, all saying completely off-topic things. When trying to figure out what happened and why someone would do this, I spotted an email in my inbox saying they can help me remove these reviews from my profile for a fee. They admitted in email that they were the ones that left the negative reviews, and took one down as a way to prove they could do that if I paid them. I have all the evidence saved. Has anyone had luck getting these types of spam/ransom attacker's reviews taken down? They drove my rating down to a 4.1 and it's really hurting my business and my team's spirits since they really took pride in our great ratings.

Thanks so much in advance to anyone who can give me some hope here!

- Justin

Patrick Kettner

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Mar 28, 2024, 5:43:40 PMMar 28
to Justin Silverman, Chromium Extensions, Zombie Byte, Jackie Han, Uladzimir Yankovich, hrg...@gmail.com, Juraj M.
Hey Justin!
Sorry to hear that - can you share the extension ID? I can make sure it is investigated straight away.

Justin Silverman

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Mar 28, 2024, 5:57:16 PMMar 28
to Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Chromium Extensions, Justin Silverman
Thank you for the incredibly fast reply, Patrick! Here's our ID: gllhamnkpecmfhgdbildlgbbopofnnoe

https://chromewebstore.google.com/detail/profilepro-ai-seo-tool-fo/gllhamnkpecmfhgdbildlgbbopofnnoe

Please let me know if there's anything else I can provide to make this easier for you.

Cheers,
Justin
Screenshot 2024-03-28 at 2.46.51 PM.png

Patrick Kettner

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Mar 28, 2024, 5:59:50 PMMar 28
to Justin Silverman, Chromium Extensions
I've escalated with the review team, they will take action asap.

best
patrick

Zombie Byte

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Mar 28, 2024, 11:11:58 PMMar 28
to Patrick Kettner, Justin Silverman, Chromium Extensions
Hi Patrick, 

This seem to be the same people who left the fake reviews for us. The date seems to match and the user accounts are the same. 

In our case, it is a month exactly after starting this post and still some of the fake reviews are not removed even after escalating. Can you help again to look into our issue, this is our initial ticket number: 0-1465000035551. All reviews on Feb 28th (all 8) we have on our tool are fake. You will infact find that some of the accounts from which we got fake reviews are same as what Justin has on his chrome account. 

This has been affecting us a lot, would be very thankful if you can help us both at a very higher priority. It is already taking too long.

Regards





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Justin Silverman

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Apr 19, 2024, 1:41:23 PMApr 19
to Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Chromium Extensions, Justin Silverman
Hi Patrick, we haven't heard anything yet and these fake reviews have crushed our signup rate. The spammers took us down from a 4.9/5 to a 3.7/5. Any idea what else can be done here?

Thanks so much in advance.

Very best,
Justin
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