Google Play spam policy / discussion on app review legality

Some of you may know that I’m working on, which will let app developers request review swaps with other developers, similar to rating exchange threads on this forum (as well as others), but more focused on the review and giving developers advice on how to make their apps better. Even though I’m really excited about it, I’m equally concerned about the Google Play policy on “Spam in Ratings and Reviews” (link). This is the particular piece that’s particularly concerning:

Don’t try to manipulate ratings—Do not engage in attempts to manipulate the ratings, reviews, or ranking of your apps, either directly or indirectly, or by manipulating the ratings of your competitors. Do not attempt to artificially boost reviews, ratings, or installs through any means.”

That can be interpreted in many different ways, and whichever way you choose to, Google will probably say that’s wrong. In my opinion, asking users for reviews is not manipulative. If it were, then every app that occasionally shows a popup saying something similar to “Like our app? Rate it in the Play Store!” should be penalized or banned. Without that popup, there would be fewer ratings/reviews. Of course there are more blatant ways of manipulating, such as paying people on sites like Fiverr offering to get your app X amount of ratings. My point is that it’s a grey area.

Regarding The Review Swap, I want to keep it as ethical as possible and don’t want Google to think of it as a rating manipulation tool. The purpose of it is to help developers make their apps better by getting feedback from other developers - feedback normal users might not provide. What do you guys think I should mention in the About page or FAQ (which will eventually be on the site) to emphasize that point?

If anyone’s interested, I decided to build this site because I saw similar site,, and spoke to the owner who said he stopped working on it. He encouraged me to go ahead and build my own version of it (hopefully it will end up better).