What's the story with the app store?

Discussion in 'iPhone/iPad Programming' started by ayasin, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Whats the story with all the drive by one star reviews if your app isn't free or $1? I'm getting hammered by these. The majority of the reviews complain about the price and give my app one to two stars. The people that actually bought the app and used it gave it very good reviews (with one exception). I checked the guys out who were doing this to my app and it turns out they were doing it to lots of other apps as well. I can understand if they don't want to pay for apps, but geez, the review is not a spot for a protest against apps that cost money. If you legitimately have trouble with the app or don't like it for usability etc, then I have no issues with a ding, I'm just getting frustrated with all the people complaining about the price. What do you guys think Apple will/should do about this (if anything)? I think Apple should restrict reviews to people who bought the app, this will mean legitimate reviews rather than drive-by slamming.

  2. macrumors member

    hmm, o maybe this way they want to promote their app? Just a thought...
  3. macrumors 6502

    You mean the people giving the reviews are trying to promote their app? Maybe, but that's a pretty scummy thing to do and in almost all cases the apps mentioned as alternatives don't even compete with me. They are things like general list makers or notes (lol).
  4. macrumors 68040

    I've been the victim of one or two of these two. I recently sent an email to Apple voicing my concerns over the lack of the developer's ability to respond to reviews.

    They really need to put a different review system in place for the App Store than they have in the rest of the store.

    The main problems are:

    1. People who didn't buy the app can review it. Not allowing this would probably kill about 90% of the useless bad reviews.

    2. Devs can't respond to comments. I'm not as concerned by the useless 1 star reviews as I am about the helpful reviews that mention specific things that could be improved. In many cases I have already implemented said features and have an update ready to go, but I have to wait for Apple to approve it. I'd like to be able to let the users know this.

    3. After an update, many of the previous reviews might not apply any more. There should at least be some indication of the version that reviews were for, and perhaps some way of affecting the apps rating based on the current version's reviews.
  5. dwm
    macrumors newbie

    Ditto that. I have an app that costs, OMG!!!!, $14.99!!!!!, whose target market is DOCTORS!!! and there are nothing but drive-by one-star reviews because of price. (More at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=512101&page=2)

    Anyway, Apple should absolutely limit "reviews" to those who own the product.

    If the price is too high, the free market will take care of that (I'll admit that my pricing was a shot in the dark, made in a vacuum). Unfortunately, there is no data (other than drive-by comments) available on the number of downloads so I'm hesitant to change anything until I see those numbers.
  6. macrumors 6502

    I posted this in another thread as well, but I think its perfectly ok for a developer to review the reviews. Go ahead and mark those drive-by reviews as useless, if in fact they are useless. It may not change your rating, but at least some of the more useful reviews will hopefully rise to the top where people see them first.
  7. macrumors 601

    I was wondering about this myself.

    It seems to be pretty unfair on the developers…

    Some of the people use their "reviews" as a forum to complain about Apple/ATT/O2 etc… and then proceed to give the poor App a 1 or 0 star rating… people are weird.
  8. macrumors 6502

    On itunes its not such a problem because (at least on my app) the drive bys have been modded down while the detailed reviews have been modded up. It's a real problem on the app store on the phone because there people see the star rating before they click on the app...a low star rating could unfairly bias customers against your app. If nothing else Apple should let customers police the app store and if a review is clearly not helpful (as in 0 out of 15 listeners found this review helpful) then they should not have it's star rating count towards the average star rating.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Just doing some quick research. If I remove the reviews where 1 or 0 out of 10 listeners found this helpful it gets me more than 1 full star higher. If I further exclude the reviews where people didn't purchase the app it bumps me up to 4 stars. Come on Apple, fix this please.
  10. macrumors 65816


    How do you check whether people purchased the app or not in the first place? I'd think that would be information Apple can't release because of their privacy agreement.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Well I think they can release it to developers but I gleened the info from the reviews themselves. If they said things like "I got this" or if they talked about strengths/weaknesses of the feature set or usability comments then I assumed they bought it. Admittedly this is not a perfect way, but it was the best I could do with the available data.
  12. macrumors 65816


    We don't get that kind of info either, as far as I know. All we get is monthly reports.

    It sucks, really. "You send us an app you've worked hard on, we might approve it eventually, then you can figure out how well its doing in a month or so."
  13. macrumors 6502

    I used to get monthly reports from handango and palmgear. They contained the name and email address of the purchasers as well as their device and units bought. But you're correct, currently we have no idea what Apple will give us in the monthly report. It could be just units sold per product.
  14. macrumors member


    I hope as more reviews get entered the nonbuyer drive-by one-star reviews will be drowned out. I also hope buyers will begin to ignore those reviews that obviously are just folks complaining about a price or lack of feature they want.

    If Apple allowed a Comment review (with no stars and no effect on average rating) then it would not look so bad. I think developers do need to hear if a large group of potential buyers feel the app is too expensive. Pricing the apps ended up being a very difficult decision for me. How do you balance your investment into what is only a potential return?
  15. dwm
    macrumors newbie

    A "comment" section is a very good idea compared to a "review" for the reasons you specified. And yes, there should be both as all feedback is worth something.

    But again, the problem right now is there is no data to make an intelligent pricing decision. If you read the comments on ANY app over $2, they are all priced too high.

    For my app (for a very narrow niche market), there are about 22 reviews, and about 20 of them are one-stars ONLY because of the price (or that somewhere it is already readily available and free and THAT should be the basis of my pricing). If only 5 had sold so far, then the "reviewers" were actually trying to do me a favor and help me sell more of my app, and I would immediately lower the price. But what if 50 sold? I would also lower the price. 200? I don't know. 500 sold in a week? I would leave the price right where it is and the heck with the whiners.

    BUT, I doubt anyone from Apple even knows this forum exists much less reads it :( And their own developer forums are basically worthless with the same fate. Apple is too busy watching the money roll in from the MonkeyBalls of the world that will sell hundreds of thousands, maybe millions.
  16. macrumors 603

    Submit a bug report on their Apple Bug Reporter developer web site. That's what they seem to pay the most attention to. The more reports with the same bug or enhancement request, the more likely it might get their attention at least.

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