Technology September 4, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,466 Reads share

The Good,The Bad And The Ugly With iTune App Reviews

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Reviews are something we used to rely on before we downloaded an App, surely it must be a good indication as to how good an App is! Not necessarily, as we found out once we started developing our own apps and were on the receiving end of reviews.

How Many?

There are 123 app stores in the world, and each store has its own review site. All reviews are recorded under the individual countries. There are 400,000 apps on the app store that have no reviews, or are not getting downloaded.

No Way?

The developers/owners are not sent details of the reviews, the only way to find them on iTunes is to check out each country one by one.

Chances are your review will never be read by the Owner or the developer unless they are using a tool like

AppAnnie is a tool used by developers and owner of apps, the site sends sales data and collates reviews from around the world and emails the developers, if they are signed up.

Related: Nine Tips To Prevent Your App Becoming A Needle In The 600,000+ Apps Haystack

Another Frustrating Problem

Owners and Developers of an App cannot respond to reviews. This is very frustrating.

  • A positive review is fantastic and we do like to say thank you but we can’t.
  • Also when a review is left that contains incorrect information, such as “I can’t edit” “this app is useless” “it won’t work”, there is no way for the developer/ owner of the app to respond to the user to correct the information, which means that anyone else that reads the review will think that the review is correct, and might base their assessment of the app on an incorrect review.
  • In general, users of Apps don’t always edit or delete their reviews when an issue has been resolved or fixed. For example, every single genuine issue that has been raised on the App Store Reviews for our apps has been fixed or is in the process of being fixed, but it is not very often that reviewers edit their reviews, or deleted their review or even leave another review to say that the issue has been resolved. This means that the reviews do not provide a level and balanced view of an app.

Developers Love Reviews

Developers love to get reviews, especially positive ones as they are usually stuck in a room with not much human contact, developing away to give us all great Apps to play with and utilise.

Related: Developing An App: Forgot The NDA, Don’t Own The Source Code And Other Expensive Oversights

We Also Love

Developers also love the user who gets in touch if there is an issue, we want to know about issues so that we can fix them, but you need to do this via email, Facebook or Twitter not by leaving a review in iTunes.

Most Apps have a “contact the developer” button. This will usually let you email the developer with your issue; a good developer will appreciate you taking the time to contact them and will assist you with your query.

This is a good time to leave a review after you have tried to resolve the issue.

It’s Not Fair

iTunes App store reviews are not a very fair representation of the user base of an app. When we say ‘fair’ we are not having a tantrum, stamping our feet and saying “it’s not fair!” I mean that the number of reviews is not representative of the number of users.

For example:

  • One of our apps has a total of 15 reviews for all versions sold in the USA, but over 15,000 people have bought the app in the USA.
  • The free version of one of our apps has a total of 19 reviews from the USA, but over 60,000 people have downloaded it.
  • From these  USA reviews there are  five star reviews,  four star reviews,  two star review and  one star review.

Quiet a mixture, which goes to show not everyone likes the same things in an app, it is down to personal taste as to whether an app suits you.

Related: Building An App Into A Business: An Interview With Lisa Domican Of The Grace App

Should users leave reviews on the iTunes App Store?

Absolutely Yes.  But, not if you are having an issue with an app. If you are experiencing problems with an app, contact the developer so that they can either correct your thinking about how to use the app, or correct the app if it isn’t working as you would expect. Allow the developer the chance to resolve a problem before you tell the world that the app has issues.

Remember that when you leave a negative review, you aren’t communicating with the developer because they can’t respond; you are effectively putting your fingers in your ears and shouting at the developer.

If you do leave a review that outlines some issues in the app, make sure that you edit the review once the developer has fixed the issue, and then leave a nice review for the new version.

Help A Developer

If you are happy with an app, or if you have issue with an app and have spoken to the developer, and they are fixing your issue, leave a review to tell the world about the positive experience. Positive reviews enable app developers to stay in business and keep improving their apps, increasing the chances that you will benefit from better functionality from the app in future releases.

Related: Native, Hybrid, Mobile Enabled, Facebook. So Many Types Of Apps, But What Are They?

One Last Question

When was the last time you left a review for an app you downloaded from iTunes? There are so many independent little developers out there who would benefit tremendously from a positive review. Support the developers behind your favourite apps put a smile on their little faces by leaving a great review.

I hope you enjoyed my little insight into a developer’s view of reviews.

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Debi Harper

Debi Harper

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