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Contributor
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎05-21-2010
My Device: ...

Negative reviews on App World

Hello,

 

Our application has a pretty low average star rating, and we get a few negative reviews every week. Some of these don't list any reason or explanation of the issue they had with the app, which is too bad because we are really eager to improve and fix the numerous issues which may exist. It's a free app, and there is no paid version.

 

From old posts, it seems that this doesn't exist, but I'll ask anyway:

 

Is there any way to respond to reviews on the App World, for instance to ask the users for more information on the problem they found? Is there anyway to contact a given reviewer?

 

Do any other developers have suggestions for handling poor reviews?

Regular Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

Sadly there's no way to respond or contact to the person that give the review. I open a thread for developers to post their suggestion maybe you want to check it out http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/BlackBerry-App-World-Development/Suggestions-RIM-should-work-... and leave your comment. 

Developer
Posts: 204
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

IMO we really need a way to respond to reviews.  I amend the description with an "Answers to Reviews" section at the bottom.  I'd rather respond to stupid reviews than have them denied, otherwise people think the low rating is actually for a valid reason.

 

Contributor
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎12-05-2010
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

[ Edited ]

The entire review system is an abomination IMO.

 

Here is a letter I wrote to Keith Pardy last month. Mr. Pardy is a Marketing VP with RIM. Naturally, I receive no response - not even a form letter. What a shock.

 

Here is what I said - in case any of you would like to add to the suggestions in the hope someone at RIM who cares (and is in a position to take action) ever reads the developer posts:

 

 

December 4, 2010

 

Mr. Keith Pardy

Research In Motion
295 Phillip Street
Waterloo, Ontario
Canada N2L 3W8

 

Dear Mr. Pardy.

 

Within the past year, I have submitted three requests for changes to the App World application rating system methodology via your online form. Unfortunately, all responses to date have been statements that management is aware the system needs improvement however other changes must be made first.  This response has been consistent for a year which seems to be an excessive amount of time to address a problem that has such financial impact on its developer partners as well as RIM itself.

 

Please consider the following observations:

 

  • First, the current system is totally subjective. There are no metrics used anywhere to quantify the statements made by customers. Any measurement system that is subjective is open to abuse, misuse and misinterpretation. It is useless as a guide to the performance and/or fitness for purpose of the entity being measured and it is equally useless to its users as a customer satisfaction tool.

 

  • Next, the customer side of the review system is unmonitored. Subjective, unfair, caustic and inflammatory verbiage is allowed to be entered without limitation.

 

  • Third, there is no penalty exacted when a customer’s entries cost RIM and its developer partner a loss of future revenue with inflammatory, reckless and/or false statements. Hiding behind the cloak of a pseudo-name, a customer can make any claim he or she wishes without penalty, censure or recourse to the developer or RIM. Worse, the developer must remain mute – defenseless – since no on-the-record response is allowed.

 

  • Fourth, if a developer’s competitor “games” the system with a bad review, (in an attempt to discredit a competing business offering a similar application), there is no retribution.

 

  • Lastly, the fact that review verbiage can be redacted (upon written request from a developer) but the associated “star” rating cannot be removed is grossly unfair. If review verbiage is deemed unfair or inappropriate, and is removed, how can it be appropriate to leave the equally defective “star” rating in place and roll it into the average?

 

Suggestions:

 

  • First and foremost, make the review system objective by constructing a rating matrix based on measurable criteria and allow the reviewer to fill in the blanks.

 

For instance – the matrix would ask if the claims made in the description on App World were truthful. This is a simple, binary question. The answer would be assigned a numeric value. Next, did the customer experience unresolved installation or operational problems. Again, the response would elicit a yes or a no answer with another numeric value assigned.

 

Support would be another metric, this one would be a five step rating from poor to excellent and 5 more numeric values would be created. Additional review questions could be added, the only limitation would be they have to be objective.  The maximum total of all responses would add up to 100.

 

Lastly, the reviewer would be required to provide his or her email address (which would not be published but would be available to both RIM and to the developer for follow-up). The email address given would be verified against the email account of record on the customer’s App World account and if there was no match the review would not be posted or counted.

 

The review numeric would yield a cumulative number which would be published and become the visual aid instead of a star system. It would be based on quantifiable metrics, not subjective comments (nor the equally subjective customer assignment of a value to the “star” system).

 

This change would correct the most egregious problems with the current system. As soon as the system was in place, all previous data would be purged and the review ratings for each application would begin again. (It is pointless to keep faulty data. Any attempt to cleanse the current data could not be done programmatically since the new system would be objective and numeric whereas the old system is text based and has two layers of subjectivity masquerading as a quantitative assessment.)

 

  • The second suggestion is to add a download counter to each application sold on App World.

 

For this change, some relatively easy data cleansing, using records of previous Digital River transactions would protect the legacy applications from being lumped in with the new applications. In other words, there would be no reset to zero; only an importation of legacy data from another system. The counters would then be incremented by each new transaction going forward.

 

Here is the rationale for this request:

 

It’s a customer service reality that you seldom hear from “Happy Customers” whereas you almost always hear from unhappy customers (including those who may simply be having a bad day). These data grossly skew actual customer satisfaction numbers. They have a pronounced effect on a storefront operation like App World and needlessly depress sales numbers.

 

If a potential customer sees that an application has been downloaded hundreds of times, one or two bad reviews do not have nearly the effect that they have now since presently there is no way to know the size of the existing customer base and therefore gauge the degree of credence to give the reviews.


I believe it is in everyone’s interests to address these issues as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

Regular Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

av8er maybe you can check the link on my post above there's a lot of suggestions from different devs.... I think it would be great if your add yours...

Developer
Posts: 498
Registered: ‎06-24-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

[ Edited ]

It is true that the review system is not the greatest measure of an apps worthiness, however, RIM are unlikely to change it anytime soon if only because everyone else uses the same kind of system.

 

So bearing that in mind, heres what you do.

 

1. Do not release poor quality apps. Use the app yourself. Don't assume that because you're a genius everyone else is. Get your less intelligent friends and relatives :smileywink: to try it out and give you feedback on how usable it is. Fix anything that is not working or that isn't easy to use. Don't get upset if people don't like it. Treat all criticism as constructive and make the needed changes.

 

2. Use the "test" option if you can't manage the above.

 

3. If the reputation of the app is competely ruined. Rename the app, perhaps with a new logo, and re-submit the app after addressing any obvious issues. Remove the previous app from App World. Offer the app on an Try and Buy basis to try and increase downloads.

 

4. In your app provide a link to support. Give the user a FAQ. Tell them how to get their money back. Ask them for their feedback. If you wish, ask them nicely to review your app, but ask them also to give you a chance to respond. Bear in mind that it isn't the easiest thing to do a review, so if you get poor reviews it's usually because people are momentarily pissed. If you can slow down the process their response will generally be more considered.

 

5. Make sure you deny anything less than a 3 star. Even though the star rating will bring down your average, negative comments are far more damaging.

 

In my experience customers are 15 times more likely to review a free app than a paid app. It's as though they feel reviewing your app is an act of reward.

 

I've also found that paid app reviews are significantly more likely to be critical which makes the whole process unfair.

 

So don't invite negative criticism. If you receive a support request respond as quickly as you can, even if you can't fix the issue.

 

Offer a refund if the app isn't what the customer wanted. If you can fix the issue, provide the resolution quickly. If you're going to offer refunds make sure you let them know before they buy. Be very clear about support and feedback etc in your descriptive text. Bear in mind the text is used in searches etc.

 

Unfortunately there are limited ways to attract attention on App World other than by reviews. So

get your friends and relatives to buy the app and provide a decent review. It will give you a head start. But don't overdo it. Apps are removed from the store because of fraudulently obtained reviews and customers can see straight through a ridiculous optimistic review. And new paid apps with loads of 5 star reviews are pretty clearly being set up (though there are ways to attract that kind of review).

 

There are one or two books about on App marketing and most of the app stores use similar approaches.

 

I've been fortunate enough to have an app at the top of my category for a while now using the approaches above (I hasten to add I didn't need anyone to buy my app - other than the copy I bought to test the system). So while I recognise the inadequacies of the system, it is also true that people will positively review a decent app. And plenty of others will give you lousy reviews because they didn't bother to check the app out properly.

Developer
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎11-18-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

i agree there should be a way to respond. I have a theme up on appworld that someone posted "Looks nothing like the screen shots" - that is completely wrong. I have the theme installed on my S2 and the screenshots are DIRECTLY from my device. I would love to be able to respond and ask what is the user talking about????

 

Frustrating.

for all your theming needs go to http://bbthemelab.com
Developer
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎02-08-2010
My Device: Torch 9800, Storm 9530, Curve 8330
My Carrier: AT&T, Verizon

Re: Negative reviews on App World

Here's a great one: 0-star, ""Cr*p - Didn't Put A Flash On My Camera I Hav A Curve 9300 Cud Sum1 Tell Me y???", even though in the description under "Answers to Reviews", it says, "Downloading an app can't add hardware to your phone if it doesn't have a camera light."

 

This shows that posting answers in the description is not being noticed enough, there must be a way to answer reviews under the review or people may not have the knowledge to figure out it's utterly silly.  The 9300 does not have a camera light, how could an app add one to it?  But it's marked compatible for use of other features.  However, users may not understand that unless can answer the review.

 

 

Developer
Posts: 498
Registered: ‎06-24-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Negative reviews on App World

That was my point LSphone.

 

Problem is the customers aren't necessarily going to realise that their phone doesn't support features of your app or that a particular feature is not supported by a phone. Maybe the buyer thought you used the device screen in some way (some flashlight apps have done just that).

 

I've posted instructions in upper case in the first line of the descriptive text, and the instruction was simply ignored. 

 

In your case, the answer is to have two apps. One that includes the light, one without. That way you can support most users while still selling the app to 9300 users.

 

That way you avoid negative reviews that will lower your ranking in App World.

 

Until the review system becomes more sophisticated it is the only choice.

Developer
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎02-08-2010
My Device: Torch 9800, Storm 9530, Curve 8330
My Carrier: AT&T, Verizon

Re: Negative reviews on App World

Thay may be what I end up doing, and maybe also will add a popup after a month using the app that says, "Thank you again for purchasing this app, sorry to bother you for a moment, but we would really like your feedback, and so would other prospective buyers, so could you write us a quick review?"

 

Part of the problem is that not enough of the satisfied customers are leaving reviews, it's all to often more of the ticked-off people who find motivation to leave a review.  The reviews from satisfied customers are so infrequent that it becomes possible for the handful of confused or dissatisfied customers to have an exaggerated effect on the rating.  I believe the ratio of satisfied vs. dissatisfied customers is actually much better than is reflected in the rating and reviews.