The usual reason for the use of a promo code is when a developer wishes to give his or her app to people for review, such as ourselves. Other uses could include giveaways and the like. According to Apple though, if you receive an app by this method you will no longer be able to leave a review or assign a star rating to it.
Here is the email that brought this to everyone’s attention.
Anand here again from iTunes Store Customer Support. Thanks for writing back and letting me know your concern.
I understand that you are still not able to write a review. I know how disappointing it can be when things don’t work out the way they should.
I am sorry to inform that it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer’s promotional code.
However, I took the liberty of submitting your feedback to Apple on your behalf. Please know that Apple takes the feedback from our customers very seriously. This is the reason for our feedback page – to create a forum where our users can vent, praise or share whatever feelings they have to allow us to meet your needs, and grow as a company. I suggest that you use the link in order to share your feedback with us. I would also encourage you to share this link with all of your friends and family who wish to submit the feedback, and have them all submit the same request.”
“It is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded
using a developer’s promotional code.
You can review this app by purchasing it on a different iTunes account
using something other than a developer’s promotional code, such as a Gift
Card, Gift Certificate, or other payment options.”
While this is causing a bit of a stir in the developer community we’re not sure what all the fuss us about. Apple is currently trying to reduce the number of poor apps finding their way into the iTunes app charts and bogus reviews can affect just that. It is not unheard of for unscrupulous developers to offer free apps in return for a favourable review in the App Store. This writer has been offered such in the past by more than one independent developer.
The intention doesn’t even need to be malicious. The quality of reviews could be affected by a number of things – for example, if a user received an expensive app (Sat. Nav. software for example) for free, will their review be as strict as it would if they had paid? Perhaps it would, but you never know.
This move goes some way to making the reviews of apps in the App Store just that little bit more accurate, which we’re sure everyone agrees has to be a good thing!