New review system biased towards negative ratings?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by jsnuff1, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. jsnuff1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2003
    I think reviews by nature are already biased towards negative ratings since most people that like a product wont bother reviewing it, and those that have a problem with it will tend to go leave a review stating their problem.

    Now with this new rating I think its unfair that apple would make a user rate an app when they DELETE it. If someone is deleting an app they are doing so because they dont like it enough to keep it on the phone, so I doubt those same people would leave a good review about it.

    Now we are going to have a huge influx of negative reviews with this new rating system, which I think is unfair and targets people that dont like your app in the first place.
  2. Delirium39 macrumors regular

    May 19, 2008
    Exactly, and I have proof of this. My Lite version normally gets a steady stream of 4 or 5 star reviews. As soon as the new review system went in, I got three 1 star reviews in a row, all from people who obviously never even bothered to read the instructions for the game, based on their comments. It really makes me angry that I spent four months gaining a 4.5 star rating, only to possibly have it destroyed by people just trying the game for a couple minutes.
  3. wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    You would be correct!

    I have to agree and I don't even have apps in the store yet! Your reasoning is also correct, by definition you delete apps you don't like or are otherwise not desirable. Prmpting somebody for a review at deletion time is just poor form and is unreasonable.

    There is no perfect approach of course but polling the purchaser a week or two after purchase might help balance things.

  4. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Actually these people probably did not use the new review button. I have tried it and it prompts you for a star rating, but does not allow you to leave a comment. They would have to search for your app again to do that. It may however be prompting more people to go leave reviews...
  5. Delirium39 macrumors regular

    May 19, 2008
    Right you are! I just tried it as well. So I guess that's why my lite version says there's 175 reviews, but there's really only 86 reviews. It doesn't look like they're counting towards the star average, unless everyone is giving me 4 stars, which, if they're deleting it, I highly doubt. If it doesn't count at all, is Apple just trying to make the apps look like more people care than really do? If so, it's going to really help or hurt people. If you have a 2 star rating, and the number jumps to 500 "reviews," that's going to look very very bad. But if you're sitting at 4.5 stars, you're going to look fantastic.
  6. mstream2008 macrumors newbie


    Oct 24, 2008
    It seems that now the average score is determined both by 'published' text reviews and by anonymously sent marks.
    People just send 'marks' from their iphones, they do not write text reviews, their marks are not published. I do not know anything about them.
    I have released a free game (Meteor Lite) and now I see the following results:

    France App Store:
    reviews with text messages - 3, 5 and 4. The average score is 2.5 (was 4 with the old system)

    Canada App Store:
    reviews with text messages - 5, 5, 5 and 5. The average score is 4 (was 5 with the old system)

    UK App Store:
    reviews with text messages - 5, 5. The averate score is 3.5 (was 5 with the old system)
    The difference in other countries is even worse.

    Also, no single e-mail to me, no one tried to contact me, only anonymous, not-even-published marks that put down the average score.
  7. jsnuff1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2003
    yea this is BS, my new free app had one 5 star text review and now its down to 3.5 stars with still only one text review, so that means 2 people deleting the app rated it badly.

    What kind of screwed up system is this Apple???
  8. kevm macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2008
    Interesting. I kind of like the idea of rating apps when they are deleted, however as pointed out it does add a negative bias. I also thing this bias will be greater for cheaper apps and especially free ones since people are more likely to delete those apps.

    Obviously no rating system is going to be perfect. Hopefully Apple will continue to refine it. Also ranking in the app store is based on popularity.
  9. FunkyMonkey macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2007
    Right behind you
    I definitely think the OP has a point. I wish Apple would lets us rate the app without writing a review while we have the app.
  10. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    How can it possibly be unfair, since Apple applys this new rating scheme equally to every app in the App store, including both your apps, and your competitor's apps.

    If you manage to convince a lower percentage of your customers to delete your app, compared with your competitors, then you will likely end up with a fair advantage in the ratings (less potential negatives). It looks like that is what Apple is trying to encourage. So get working, and make sure that your apps do not have a bad early user experience, any false advertising, memory wasting size, ugly icon, or other obvious reasons to be deleted.

  11. mstream2008 macrumors newbie


    Oct 24, 2008
    iPhone developer may be bribing reviewers, and from that discussion, just a single quote
    If people admit such things, then sure, something is wrong with this review process.
  12. Pring macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2003
    Hah I can assure you that 99% of developers won't be buying reviews. I didn't even ask my family members to review as it's usually pretty obvious what the fake reviews are.
  13. pinkfloyddwc macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2008
    Prime example...

    What an unfortunate update...

    I put my app "Trippin" out a few days before the update came out... i had three 5 stars and a 4 star review... granted one was my friend, but as soon as the update hit, my app rating began falling. It's now 3.5 stars. Even though there are no visible reviews. It's not fair that a few people deleting the app because they didn't understand it get to influence my sales. I'm sure that most people liked it...

    They should at least allow you to rate the app after running it a few times to say if you liked it...

    - disgruntled iPhone developer
  14. zerogate macrumors newbie


    Oct 28, 2008
    Oakley, CA
    Ratings hurt by giving away apps?

    Here's one reason; we made our app free for the Thanksgiving weekend and gave away 10,000 or so apps. Our app, MeterRead has a niche market, primarily homeowners and renters of homes who want to monitor their electric use and save money. We have 10 reviews averaging 4.5 stars and while from the front screen icon we show 6 reviews with a 4 star average rating star, our new average rating is 2.5... Not because our app is a 2.5 app, it's just that thousands of people picked it up and clearly have no use for it because they live in an apartment. Over 65% of people just don't need it. Hopefully we will be listed as a 4.5 star app and not be punnished for giving the app away to so many people.

    It looks like the same thing happened (or I should say is happening) to Pathways, probably because not everyone likes action puzzle games, but they have a very highly rated app based on the true reviews. Still it has a bogus 'overall rating' of 2.5. It's a 5 star app to most of the users who like action puzzlers.
  15. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    I think what apple should do is this. After you've used the app for x amount of time, whether it bases it on number of times you've opened it or an actual amount of time spent in the app, it'll ask you to review the app after you close it. You can choose to rate it, rate and review it, choose not to do either, or ask the dialog to pop up next time you close the app. They could certainly still have the deleting dialog, but doing this would really help the ratings be accurate. I know that I for one usually don't bother reviewing a game I liked. But I always do the deleting dialog rating.
  16. mpatric macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2008
    I think the new review system is a good thing. Many people delete an app and couldn't be bothered to review it. I've downloaded too many highly rated apps only to find they're terrible. So, anything that encourages more ratings per application can only be a good thing. Yes, it may be biased towards lower ratings, but EVERYONE is subject to it, so ratings across the board should go down a bit.
  17. nottooshabby macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    With the mobile app store my app says I have 19 reviews, but there are only 11 actual written reviews. Is there any way to see the distribution of these star only ratings?

    Also, is this system smart enough to not let someone continue to delete and reinstall an app on their iphone to give multiple star ratings for the same app?
  18. PrinceDraven macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    London, UK
    Any plans?

    Sorry to dig up and old topic, but.

    Does anyone know if there are any plans for this system to change?
    I am not a developer and have no ties to a developer, but clearly the system as is has problems.

    Take an example, say I release a Puzzle Game for Free:
    Huge amounts of people download it, as it is free so what have they got to lose, the 40% who like puzzle games keep it, but only a very small % go online to rate it. The other 60% who don't like puzzle games delete it and give it a poor rating. The result: POOR RATING

    Same example but I release it for 1.99:
    Medium amounts of people download it as they have to justify the cost, 80% of those like puzzle games and keep it, a small % go online to rate it. 20% delete it and give a poor rating. The result: AVERAGE RATING

    Same example but I release it for 6.99:
    Smaller amound of people download as they have to justify a higher cost, 90%+ of those like puzzle games and keep it, a small % go online to rate it. 5% delete it and give a poor rating (5% keep it as they have paid for it and hope for updates). The result: AVERAGE TO GOOD RATING

    Clearly I have made huge leaps with these examples and I accept that it is not as simple as this, but I find that some very good free apps are getting lots of bad ratings with zero comments, this seems very unfair, they could all be from 1) people who are downloading just so they can leave negative reviews. 2) people who do not understand what the app is for or have no use for it. 3) malicious developers of simular apps. etc...

    I agree with other comments that maybe after you close an app for the 5th time it prompts you to rate. That way you would get a mixed bunch of reviews, not just those people who are deleting (and therefore clearly are going to give negative ratings).

    Ohh and also I think that if it allows you to rate on delete it should not allow you to proceed with the rating without some form of comment, this would stop a lot of negative reviews that are based on nothing. People are generally lazy and would not bother if they had to justify it, and if they genuinely did dislike your app they should have to (and be able to) justify it.

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