Begging for App Ratings

Speaking of The Loop magazine, I agree almost entirely with this piece from Wil Shipley, on “Rate This App” prompts in apps:

So good sense is required here. Part of the problem is that Apple hasn’t provided developers with any APIs to tell if users have rated our apps, or to make it possible for users to rate apps inside the app itself. This would obviously make it less intrusive for users.

Since Apple resets apps’ ratings with every tiny release, developers find themselves wanting to ask users over and over for ratings, since they get wiped out all the time. But no customer should be asked to rate an app twice — it’s like that clueless waiter asking a customer to tip twice.

After months of debate on this, my stance is mostly unchanged. But it’s worth clarifying what the problem is. The problem isn’t asking for a review (although it is a little uncouth, even once). The problem is asking repeatedly, with every single new version of the app. The correct solution is to put a “Rate This App” button or link next to your contact and support links, and but if you do prompt the user for the review with a dialog box, do it once and only once.

And as Shipley ably describes, the root problem is with Apple’s App Store design. It’s the App Store that resets an app’s ratings with each and every release. And it’s the App Store that makes ratings so essential to success. They’ve created a system that is easily gamed, and so, inevitably, some developers are gaming the system.

Monday, 24 February 2014