On "Rate This App" Popups


There's been a conversation over the last few weeks, prompted by John Gruber's post suggesting that he had considered encouraging his readers to leave 1 star reviews everytime an app displays a "Rate this App" Dialogue. It sure has stirred up a ton of debate as developers say that it's a necessary evil as the ongoing profitability of their business is closely related to app store reviews.

On the most recent episode of John's podcast with guest Daniel Jalkut, they further defined the reason why these popups are so frustrating for users. They just aren't about the user. You know- the person who installed, and perhaps even paid money for the app. Love this commentary by Marco-

I’d go further than Gruber’s moderate stance on The Talk Show. I think even interrupting people once with these is too much. I’m strongly against them — to me, they’re spam, pure and simple. They’re as intrusive as a web popup ad, they betray a complete lack of respect for users, and they make their apps’ developers look greedy and desperate.

I've felt a disdain for "Rate this App" popups since the first time I saw one. I'd go leave bad reviews but I don't want to spend time doing that any more than I want to deal with the popup.

I don't know if my behavior is normal, but I just don't leave very many reviews and I don't feel like they are necessary or all that useful with a couple exceptions. I've left a couple reviews to warn people when an app is broken or doesn't do what it says it does. I don't pay much attention to piles of overly positive reviews, but I've noticed a direct correlation between a lot of negative reviews and problems with usability.

In other words, I don't use app store ratings to choose apps, I use them to give me a final yea or nay before purchasing or downloading. So, I find the argument that the incessant quest for app ratings is necessary, kind of ridiculous.

Trying to secure more reviews, in a terribly curated and poorly indexed store isn't the way. If that's what it's come to, you need a better marketing strategy. A well designed app, a good reputation and word of mouth is the way to reach clients who appreciate these things and are willing to pay for it.