Announced in an update to the developer guidelines, the change in policy is designed to cut down on keyword spam, and to improve the experience for users. The new guidelines tell developers to “let your users speak for themselves via Play’s comment review system.”
In addition to keyword spam, where testimonials include references to unrelated subjects to influence search results, Google also mentions these reviews often include references to competing apps, which is a violation of Google Play’s guidelines.
Before the new rule, developers could have gathered glowing testimonials from the comments section, website reviews, through beta testing, or simply from friends. The change will force developers to write improved descriptions to help sell apps, and in turn help users make better download decisions.
Google says a good app description and title are “essential to effective marketing,” but adds many developers often violate policy without knowing it. To help avoid unwanted problems, it includes some practical advice in its guidelines. For example, apps should be described accurately, but briefly, and without excessive use of keywords. Failure to follow the rules, or to use the newly outlawed testimonials, may result in apps being removed from the Play Store.