Ethics and App Reviews

Editorial ethics have been around as long as the published word, but that might not be obvious if you have read iPhone App review sites. Unfortunately, there are some Web publishers (and reviewers) that put quick cash in front of the best interests of their readers by taking money for reviews. Selling out is the critic's cardinal sin, and the growing tendency to do so is why we published the Organization for App Testing Standards (a.k.a., O.A.T.S.).

O.A.T.S. is a group of iPhone App review publications that came together to raise the journalistic bar for the emerging world of iPhone application and game review sites. As it happens with any hot new technology, a lot of people with little or no editorial experience are jumping into the fray. Many of them are doing great work, and we want to encourage that. But for the App Store ecosystem to succeed, we also need to make sure that consumers know where to turn to for objective, reliable reviews

From our initial base of four sites, we have grown to 18 publications that have promised to serve their readers first, last, and always. Joining is simple, and every English-language site is welcome-providing they take the following oath:

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WE, THE CONSTITUENT SITES OF THE ORGANIZATION OF APP TESTING STANDARDS, have gathered under the auspices of O.A.T.S. with a common goal: to improve the quality of iPhone games and app criticism. Whicle we applaud the great diversity of opionion now available to consumers looking for iPhone app reviews, it is clear to us that not all of these sources have put the best interests of the readership first. We hope to combat this by holding ourselves to a higher standard


  1. WE PLEDGE to never mix business with editorial. We reject all forms of paid reviews, including "express reviewing fees". Advertising on an O.A.T.S. site will have no bearing whatsoever on whether we decide to review an app, or on the nature of coverage we give it, when and if we do;
  2. WE PLEDGE to clearly mark all advertisements as such on our sites;
  3. WE PLEDGE to ensure that each of our reviews is as thorough, accurate, honest, and fully informed as possible;
  4. WE PLEDGE to promptly correct all factual mistakes in our reviews and to post an Editor's Note when we do;
  5. WE PLEDGE that all editorial work appearing on our sites is our own;
  6. WE PLEDGE to allow disagreement, dissent, and complaint through reader commentary, and to never censor it;
  7. WE PLEDGE that all app reviews will follow the same process, whether a partial app is obtained via promo code, purchase, or ad-hoc distribution;
  8. WE PLEDGE that site promotions or contests involving promo code giveaways will not influence reviews in any way

O.A.T.S. Member Publications

Slide to Play(—148Apps(www.148Apps.comTouchGen(—The Appera(—The Portable Gamer(—Apptism(—Just Another iPhone Blog(—AppGamer(—Touch My Apps(—iPhone Reviews(—No DPad(—AppStruck (—Appmodo(—Thumb Spree(—App Shouter(——Apps and Hats(—GiggleApps(—iPhone Life Magazine(

For more about O.A.T.S. and ethical iPhone app reviewing, go to

Spring 2010
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