Degradation or Aspiration

Degradation or Aspiration

“It is impossible to expect them to be perfect in this; what worries me is the alternative. If they don’t continuously redouble their efforts to maintain standards then the Store will decay. Over time, customer confidence will fall and turning trust around will become ever more challenging.

I want the App Store experience to feel like shopping at a premium retail store and not a street market — I hope Apple does too.” – David Smith

The consumer side of this is super easy to agree with. I’m totally all for this because I completely agree. I want to know that if I download an app, there’s a damn good chance that it’s going to be good. Note, good doesn’t me that it’s good for me. Only that it’s capital G, good. To date, we’ve been really lucky on this front. Yet we’re are on the slippery slope to the cesspool… Just look at the app rating cheating which has already gone on.

As an app developer, especially a small one, I’m at a complete loss as to what to do. There doesn’t seem to be a good way around this. In the beginning, without app ratings, it’s damn hard to get people to download your app, especially if it’s not free. To mitigate this we’re trying two new things: free AND requesting app ratings.

My gut says that free is the right thing to do.

My gut says that the app ratings request, as an alert which interrupts use, is the wrong thing to do.

We’re going to remove the app rating alert approach and push it into our settings view. We have lots of other high value stuff there (actually useful settings, customer support, and tutorial information) so maybe that’s the right place.

One thing that Apple needs to do, which hasn’t been talked about anywhere that I’ve seen, is to change app reviews such that there’s status and value associated with it. Look at Amazon. They do this really well. They encourage detailed and useful reviews (via status and direct monetary incentives) which are at least most likely not astroturf.


“It’s not just the App Store that we want to feel like a special place — it’s iOS itself. Using iOS … should feel like a platform in pursuit of perfection.” – via Daring Fireball.

Special place is such a better way to say it than “capital G Good…” Not cliched like magical, so it still has it’s poignancy.