Good observations Steve, thanks for collating all that data and research; I very much look forward to your slippage report.
With regards to the cost of trading at ICM, it can be further reduced by a discount of $1.55 USD or equivalent / RTL over the standard $1.50 USD / RTL per my signature. I definitely invite you to take advantage of this for your test accounts.
As a client of ICM I can tell you first hand that the platform freezes when they were an issue were due to overcapacity; the broker's client base grew too large, too quickly, and the servers were getting overwhelmed. Since new servers came online and were fully rolled out, I have noticed that the freezes that were previously complained about are no more.
So far as the support issues go, nothing especially notable has come up for me personally short of a substantial delay with Global Collect's local bank transfer service which was essentially GC's fault. Either way IC Markets is aware of this perception, whether right or wrong, and there does appear to be a genuine drive recently to step this up per my correspondence with Angus Walker.
Manipulating reviews? No idea. Can't confirm or deny it. Has anyone provided proof of this?
Offering the best commission discounts for the best broker: $1.50 / RTL Global Prime: