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Bug Desktops (Apple) IOS Apple

Apple Will Finally Let Developers Respond To App Store Reviews (techcrunch.com) 62

An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report: Apple is finally going to give its developers a way to respond to customer reviews on its App Store and Mac App Store -- a feature that's long been available to Android developers on Google Play, much to the chagrin of the Apple developer community. According to developer documentation for the iOS 10.3 beta, when this version of Apple's mobile operating ships, developers will also be able to ask for reviews in new ways, in addition to responding to those posted publicly on the App Store. Apple's ratings and reviews system has felt antiquated, and has been a source of frustration for developers and users alike. When a customer leaves a negative review, developers couldn't respond to the criticism -- which is sometimes unwarranted -- in a way that other App Store customers could see. For example, a customer may be misunderstanding a feature, or may have complained about a bug that's been fixed in a later release.
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Apple Will Finally Let Developers Respond To App Store Reviews

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  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:00PM (#53730845)
    I get tired of developers who seem to think I'll give them a good review if they keep asking for one; that is especially true if I paid for the app. I don't mind a one time ask when I first start using it or after an update; but periodic asks is just as likely to get a 3 star so so review as a good one even if I like the app.
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      I get tired of developers who seem to think I'll give them a good review if they keep asking for one

      It is annoying. It sounds like you were ok with the app but did not feel like leaving a review
      I don't have a solution, but the problem is common -- 1000 people use the app and are ok/happy with with it and 7 of them leave a good review. 5 people have a serious problem and 5 of them leave a terrible review. Also, 2 more people did not understand what the app was for and 2 of them leave a bad review as well. And now it looks like half the people hated the app.

      • This is where install-base numbers might be useful.

        Just have the appstore description state how many user's have this app installed.

        Of course, this would require telemetry... which we all know is evil incarnate...

        • Install base tells you next to nothing except that the app was downloaded and installed. It doesn't tell you if the app was ever tried even once, and even if you set it to show only app installs which have been run a single time, there's no meaning beyond that tiny, meaningless metric. You might have used the app once for twelve seconds; I might have used it for a thousand hours, but we both show as identical participants in the install base. You might have used the app and hated it, but been too lazy to un
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The negative reviews are the most worthwhile, bad luck, that is just the way it is. Even developers can get dirt cheap advertising by buying their own products and ohh look, reviewing it and various different phone accounts, pretty cheap advertising even when you talk hundreds of low cost barely used phone accounts. Every possible B$ marketing scam is running all of the time on the internet, from politics to all other crap product reviews, the worse the product, the bigger the advertising spend ie decades w

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      I get tired of developers who seem to think I'll give them a good review if they keep asking for one; that is especially true if I paid for the app. I don't mind a one time ask when I first start using it or after an update; but periodic asks is just as likely to get a 3 star so so review as a good one even if I like the app.

      I know that this is an Apple story, but a while ago I had the Calculator App on Windows 10 pop up and ask me if I wanted to give it a review. WTF. Am I supposed to commend it for telling me that 2+2=4, or is it along the lines of the XKCD Tornado Warning App where I am impressed by the look and feel, but missed that it returned a wrong result?

      • One cannot change what one does not know is broke. Likewise, ass hat reviews are worthless to the developer. Sniper shots of the app are useless also. There really is no need to respond to either. But those few reviews that have constructive insights, or requests are priceless; developers can use this stuff.
      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        Shoulda panned the Win 10 calculator while you had the chance. It's slower than dirt. Every time I launch, I can count to 3 full seconds before it actually loads the app, and until it's fully loaded it's not buffering any keystrokes.

        Also, sometimes it starts to launch and then just closes itself again.

        Compared to the calculator in XP, Vista, 7, or 8, the one in 10 is inexplicably bad, just for those two things.

    • I know what you mean. I don't generally rate apps because I don't find app reviews to be all that useful in the first place since most people seem to blindly or subjectively rate.

      My general practice has always been to hit the "rate me" link when asked, but then close the appstore without leaving a review just so it stops bugging me.

      However, it has even gotten to the point where newer apps are periodically checking to see if you actually did leave a review and throw the nag if you haven't.... that kind of pr

      • i have started giving them bad reviews.

        this app works, but it won't stop asking for reviews. 1 star.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          That's really the only right answer here. Hit them RIGHT where it hurts, and let them know WHY. I'm going to be doing this from now on.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I get tired of developers who seem to think I'll give them a good review if they keep asking for one; that is especially true if I paid for the app. I don't mind a one time ask when I first start using it or after an update; but periodic asks is just as likely to get a 3 star so so review as a good one even if I like the app.

      There are scummy ones too - I know of a game that ask you for a review, just after you score big... but before they reveal you suddenly need to ante up $1000 to keep playing. So natural

    • by ameline ( 771895 )

      I agree; if I get nagged for a review, you're getting 1 star, and I'll explain why; I paid for the damn app, so stop nagging.

      There should be a global pref to turn off all review nags.

    • "One Star - developer nags for a review constantly"

      Problem solved.

    • by mcfedr ( 1081629 )
      I completely agree that they are annoying, but as an app developer I know that the nagging works, and reviews are so important for getting downloads - our app downloads per day go up and down with our rating
  • Amazing new feature, I bet Apple will try to patent it as well... I only have a niche hobby app on the store, that it's not there to make money, but it sort of drives me nuts that among the 5* reviews there are a few more, ehm, "critical" ones, that would really need a reply. For example, an Australian complaining that the UT time/date display shows "yesterday's date"... If my income depended on the App store, it would have been even more annoying...

  • by paulpach ( 798828 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:09PM (#53730887)

    I have responded to thousands of reviews in google play for my app. Sometimes users just want to know that I am reading what they post, sometimes users don't know how to do something, sometimes they want more features, sometimes they want to report a bug, sometimes they just want to curse at someone.

    Whatever the case may be, from the perspective of a developer, responding to a customer has 1 objective: turning that 1 star to a 5 star. This means a developer has a powerful incentive to be polite and helpful to customers. There is absolutely nothing to gain by being rude to customers so Apple is not "protecting" them.

    My customers are frustrated because they get no help and they don't know whether I am listening. I get frustrated because I could easily help my customers if I had a way to reach them.

    This was my #1 beef with iTunes and I am glad that Apple is finally adding that feature.

    • If you don't have a really easy way to get you a support message before they even think of dropping a one-star review, then you have only yourself to blame for one-star reviews.

      • If you don't have a really easy way to get you a support message before they even think of dropping a one-star review, then you have only yourself to blame for one-star reviews.

        I provide email, forum, website, and even chat which I link to within the app. Still many users prefer to just ask a question in a review. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I don't blame the users, they expect an answer to their review, I just want to meet them where they want to be met.

        • Then it sounds like indeed you did what you could... I should have made it clearer and less glib that I felt like most apps did not offer good support paths and that's why they get bad reviews. My hat is off to you for taking the time to do it right.

  • by jtara ( 133429 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:11PM (#53730899)

    Oh, great, then developers can respond with alternative facts!

    As a developer, I have some misgivings. I fear that the reviews will be used even more than they are now for feature requests and bug reports. It's not what they are for. And I fear that developers will fall right into that hole.

    I read a retort elsewhere (on MacRumors) that seemed to make the assumption that the above was the purpose of this change, and suggested that users should use "the usual support channels".

    The problem is, there ARE no "usual support channels". Each author is responsible for providing whatever means of support, including bug reporting and feature requests, and every one is different since it is up to the author to set something up (or not). Unless you are a heavy user of an app, it is not worth going to the trouble to register on the author's site for access to a reporting system, forum, etc.

    What Apple needs is a uniform, in-app (or in-app accessible) bug reporting and feature request feature. And then require or strongly urge use of it. Yes, developers will complain, as each has their own favorite system. But I think a uniform system would bring so much to app quality (due to higher participation) that it would be worth the (perceived) developer pain.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Maybe they should have something like:

      apps.apple.com/your_official_ios_app_name

      And have it be a forum-type page where you could post questions, reviews, get answers, etc.

    • Oh, great, then developers can respond with alternative facts!

      Half the time it's not the developers which have the alternative facts, but the users.

      I fear that the reviews will be used even more than they are now for feature requests and bug reports. It's not what they are for.

      Sure they are. If you produce a great app that crashed constantly when I try to do something, expect a bad review and a low rating.
      If you create an app for a purpose missing a killer feature (Tomtom being one of the few navigation apps that doesn't allow you to force an audio stream allowing you to link to your car's bluetooth and use navigation at the same time, expect a bad review).

  • I started with iOS Apps and recently ported to Android. The review system is startlingly different.
    - iOS rating of an App is per country. Android are global and lumped together. I prefer this.
    - iOS has 2 ratings. Current version rating and all time rating. I hate this as it's actually stifling innovation on the App Store. Why? Because the keyword search rankings are affected by current version rating. So if you submit a new version of your App it resets to zero and your App falls in ranking

    • - iOS has 2 ratings. Current version rating and all time rating. I hate this as it's actually stifling innovation on the App Store. Why? Because the keyword search rankings are affected by current version rating. So if you submit a new version of your App it resets to zero and your App falls in ranking as do install numbers. What you end up with is a top 10 (no one ever looks beyond there) of complacent Apps that haven't had an update in a couple of years.

      This is actually something that Android devs at work are jealous of. On android a single problematic version is likely to stain your rating forever, as people use 1 star ratings "new update broke it" as a way to complain and often never changing their vote when its fixed. Basically both approaches have their own merits.

      • On the other hand, when an app requests 20 new permissions and you refuse to update, you'd like to leave a review that affects their rankings without having to install that newer version.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      - iOS has 2 ratings. Current version rating and all time rating. I hate this as it's actually stifling innovation on the App Store. Why? Because the keyword search rankings are affected by current version rating. So if you submit a new version of your App it resets to zero and your App falls in ranking as do install numbers. What you end up with is a top 10 (no one ever looks beyond there) of complacent Apps that haven't had an update in a couple of years.

      Unfortunately, you need per-version reviews as wel

    • - iOS has 2 ratings. Current version rating and all time rating. I hate this as it's actually stifling innovation on the App Store.

      I disagree. It's hard to make a lot of changes to an app, to bring a bad early release inline with what people expect, when you have to dig yourself out of a hole of bad reviews.

  • Thet should copyright a new protocol and call it
    Combined
    Airpod
    Bifocal
    Line
    Enhancement

    And that just to mess a bit more with people and they could say that they have a CABLE connection with their iPhonie.

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