[URGENT] Limit number of coupons per developer due to abuse practice

Case: free coupons are being used to unfairly gain higher positions on Top paid lists.
Once again I have to bring up the serious issue of developers using massive free coupon giveaways to cheat the system of top list rankings. Last year we were told this problem was resolved, but the truth is it’s not. While the algorithms were changed, it is still apparent that it is possible to push a paid application higher on the top lists by giving away thousands of free coupons.

I would like to point out to all developers that this practice is a one way road to total devaluation of content. If you keep giving away thousands upon thousands of coupons, eventually you will teach your customers that your apps aren’t worth anything.

Why would a customer pay for an app, when all they have to do is visit your coupon generator and get it for free? Not to mention that you are keeping paid apps on the Store while simultaneously giving them away for free on Facebook groups. What happens when a customer who bought your app on the Store finds out he didn’t really have to pay for it since it’s readily available for free? How will this customer feel?

It’s one thing when you decide to share a free coupon to 10 or 20 lucky winners that maybe liked your post or shared your photo, but it’s a totally different thing when you are giving away hundreds of thousands of coupons to whoever comes by.

Also, this practice is bad for everyone, since it enables poor content to end up being presented as if it was high quality. Ever noticed how some amazingly bland watchfaces end up inexplicably high on the paid lists? This is misleading to the customers, highly unfair to developers who don’t hack the system and play fair and worst of all - rewarding to developers who use shady tactics.

If this practice is allowed to continue, the natural progression will be that more and more developers will start doing it, multiplying all of these problems even further. We will end up with a Store full of mediocre content where no one will buy anything, because hey - why pay if you can get it for free? Developers will stop designing amazing watchfaces and will instead focus on sharing as many free coupons as possible.

I am appealing to everyone here - be reasonable. This cannot go on. You will ruin the Store, ruin the sales and teach customers that content can be found for free in Facebook groups or Youtube giveaways.

I am proposing a radical change in coupon system:

  • Limit number of free coupons available to each developer on a monthly basis to 150.

  • Introduce a fee to developers who want to generate more coupons than 150, by deducting a 1$ from their monthly settlement for each extra coupon they generate.

  • Possible alternative is to limit the number of free coupons per country, for example only 10 coupons per country each month.

I understand that developers that are doing this will likely vehemently oppose my suggestion, but I am also counting on common sense of everyone. THIS HAS TO STOP. VOTE NOW!

I totally agree!
These activities must end as soon as possible.
This damages everyone and makes the store very confusing.
In the last week I have been focusing more on coupons than on design.
This is totally absurd.

My view is that coupons should be used to reward existing users (buy another one …) or a minimal promotion.
Not like it’s been happening lately … It looks like a battlefield.

Please vote.

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I’ve even seen where one developer has an app to generate free coupons! It’s nuts!!! As with the majority of new store content being crap, it’s devaluing the efforts of those who actually care and spend a lot of time to develop faces.

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As far as I know there is only one way to generate a coupon and that is through the store. I have seen coupon dispensers that allow a potential down-loader to get his particular country related coupons.

If you know of any instance of someone that is currently using coupons to improve the Top Paid list can you send me that information either in a private message here or via my work mail if you know it. I need something tangible.

Ron
Samsung Developer Program

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I think he creates hundreds of coupons then uses the app to let people use one… but why should anyone have a need to download hundreds of coupons, except for what Drazen mentions.

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What ever watch face I make , I just can’t compete with what I call ’ Coupon Scam’ and i am suggesting one more very effective way to completely eliminate this problem.
Please read completely and let me know

  1. As i understand the real purpose of the coupons was to share your app with family and friends.
    so let the developers issue the coupons for them
  2. The solution REVIEWS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED WITH COUPONS PERIOD.
    ONLY ALLOW REVIEWS WHICH ARE PAID for by credit /debit card.
    PROBLEM SOLVED . Now if the developer is desperate enough to get the reviews let his customers or he/she pay for it. Limiting coupons is not going to help
    Malcolm
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Voted ! And I have to say… I’ve started doing that too… Why? Because I saw too many unfair practices in the store…

  1. Devs are using copyright name for unfair promoting - e.g. BEST 2019 , TOP2019, BEST2020… seriously? I think copyright name should serve for different purposes.

  2. App is in the Top list - 99% discount - 1.99$ (250 $) … Doesn’t need more words…

  3. Banner promotions - Devs have chance to apply for it every 3 months while they see global banners for for some rotating every two weeks.

  • Many others

I Agree with all the three points URARITY mentioned. Too much unfairness in the store - thats why more and more devs have to play “dirty”

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Ron, many are doing it.
I too have recently been forced to do this but it is not a good thing.
We had already asked many months ago to solve this problem but the situation seems to have remained the same.

That’s not the point.
Coupons increase the ranking even without reviews.
There should be a monthly limit for creating coupons.

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That’s also reason for doing this kind of coupon giveaway. The store is overloaded with tons of new watchfaces with the same design and only different background. I release watchface I’ve been crafting 3 weeks and it will quickly disappear from the “new releases” tab because someone “spammed it” with his creative work.

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Something has to be done for sure. But I do not think limit will stop the spammers. Its a simple thing to implement, but I guess It would just make more people using the practice to the limit to even out the chances. And real spammers would just split their actions into multiple “brands”. More important would be to truly stop counting watchfaces obtained with coupons for any kind of rankings.

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Hi Peter
If you will please read my post , I have suggested the exact same thing
The review field in the Galaxy app store should be blocked (greyed out ) not allowing anybody who has used a coupon to write a review.
You want to write a review buy it with a credit or debit card
But somehow I am pretty sure most people will not agree with it.
The system is set up to fail.
Malcolm

Hi Matteo
Coupons increase the ranking even without reviews.
If that is true , then the store’s ranking system is more messed up than I thought.
The solution I suggested serves two specific points

  1. It still allows the developers to issue coupons to repeat buyers creating brand loyalty(only they cannot write reviews)
  2. It keeps the system clean not totally but to an extent on the rankings front
    Before I pass any more comments , I would like to hear an OFFICIAL REPLY on the topic of coupons and
    The criteria and the mix the play store uses for ranking besides the actual sales of the app.
    Malcolm

Before I pass any more comments , I would like to hear an OFFICIAL REPLY on the topic of coupons and
The criteria and the mix the play store uses for ranking besides the actual sales of the app.
Malcolm

Malcolm, we will never be told the criteria and details of how exactly the ranking algorithm works, and that’s a good thing actually. Just look at how the system is being abused now and imagine what would happen if everyone knew every detail of how the rankings are calculated.

Coupons increase rankings even without reviews, that is certainly true. But I mentioned reviews and ratings because they do another thing - create a false impression of popularity and high ratings.

If you give a paid app to a customer for free, he is very likely to leave a 5 star rating and a positive review. But someone who came to the app from the Store doesn’t know this, he sees hundreds of 5 star ratings and naturally assumes all these people paid for the watchface and took the time to rate and review it. But in fact he’s the only sucker paying for it, everyone else just got it for free.

For me, this is unacceptable. People are literally tricking paying customers in the Store while using backchannels to peddle their apps to thousands coupon users.

There are international laws that govern positive business practices. This behavior is breaking those laws.

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Drazen
Your thoughts mirror mine,(I am in total agreement) I am actually shocked nobody has done anything about this

Malcolm

Peter
Something has to be done for sure. But I do not think limit will stop the spammers. Its a simple thing to implement, but I guess It would just make more people using the practice to the limit to even out the chances. And real spammers would just split their actions into multiple “brands”. More important would be to truly stop counting watchfaces obtained with coupons for any kind of rankings.

A coupon number limit would certainly stop spammers. You could split into 20 accounts, but you still couldn’t create a major impact if each account only has access to 100 or so coupons per month. It would be mathematically impossible, since an app can only be accessible to 1 account. Even if you took all 100 coupons and spent them all on 1 app, globally it wouldn’t matter much.

Coupons are being treated as if they’re worthless. They’re not. A coupon is a valuable tool to reward your faithful customers, resolve customer complaints, make your apps available to reviewers and give out a handfull of free codes to lucky winners.

Right now they’re being used as weapons of mass destruction.

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You are absolutely right about the coupon spammers, I just didnt realize yet, that it would go into tousands. I sometimes use coupons if the watchface is interesting, not download plain everything.
Sorry, I somehow transferred my attention to those spamming store with multiple new watch faces daily.

Peter, that is a whole new can of worms… But this is already being discussed in a separate topic, where the question is should both themes and watchfaces be limited in amount of content that can be submitted daily / weekly / monthly.

As for coupons, I have even heard rumors of free coupons being used to actually sell watchfaces at discounted prices outside of the Store. While I can’t confirm this, since a lot of this coupon hocus pocus goes on in closed Telegram groups, it wouldn’t surprise me that this too is really happening.

I thought this issue was fixed recently, but here we are again.
I totally agree, something should be done to stop this growing coupon abuse.

I also have to admit that I’ve tried distributing coupons recently (twice, lol) due to frustration caused by current lack of options in getting recognized in the Store.

  • Banner submissions with the Global team have become a complete “hit or miss”, often not getting a banner featured for several months due to a huge demand.
  • The “Top” list in the Store is often full of watch faces which I regularly see being promoted through thousands of coupons (with some exceptions ofc).
  • The “New” list still gets regularly flooded with basically identical watch faces which are unnecessarily separated by specific country, 12/24h format, colors etc., all features which can and should be placed into one single watch face - and not create 30 different but basically identical watch faces.

To get back on topic - I also believe that if coupons continue being abused like this, it could easily ruin the Store and overall credibility of developers and our hard work.

I’ve even been getting emails of random people requesting coupons, because they’re used to getting paid watch faces for free from some other developers.
I don’t mind rewarding a returning customer with one free coupon of their choosing every now and then, but I refuse to give away coupons to random people who contact me with “hey gimme coupon for ____”.

Idea to limit coupons per country and/or per developer would be a good start.
It could still get abused but significantly less, like someone before stated - it wouldn’t make nearly as much of an impact as thousands of coupons do now.

Also making reviews impossible when using a coupon would make sense - reviews in the store would mean a lot more if they’re only left by paying customers.

I wouldn’t mind having 100 or so coupons per month for potentially sharing them with my friends & family, and still being able to offer some smaller coupon giveaways (of let’s say 20 coupons).
This definitely beats having to rely on massive coupon lists which in turn destroy the credibility of all my work, and other developers as well.

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I hardly ever use coupons, for watches or themes. If people contact me I ignore them… they have no business buying an expensive watch or phone if they can’t afford a couple of bucks for my work. Limit coupons to 5 per app…

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