The App Store Ratings System Is Broken

Mobile Insights is a daily newsletter from BI Intelligence delivered first thing every morning exclusively to BI Intelligence subscribers. Sign up for a free trial of BI Intelligence today.

The ratings system in app stores, whereby users rate apps between one and five stars, needs fixing.

Many high-level developers are up in arms about many apps’ pop-up review prompts, claiming they are no better than a spammy Web browser pop-up ad. They are calling for Apple to ban these intrusive “Rate This App” dialogs.

As a developer, it is natural to want to present users with the cleanest, most streamlined user experience possible. But the catch-22 behind the sentiment is that too many developers are dependent on these prompts to generate more ratings.

High app ratings drive higher download rates, which in turn lead to greater revenue potential for all developers. And there isn’t really a more effective review-generating alternative to these pop-up dialogs.

Once a user downloads an app, the reality is that there are fewer opportunities to get more income from that user.

Because of this, a review becomes essential to the developer. It acts as a form of marketing that will be seen by the next potential customer. So what’s the solution?

Ideally, developers themselves will come up with a more effective ratings vehicle, one that would be less intrusive, perhaps by being better integrated with the app experience. Or, platform operators such as Google and Apple could make changes to the structure of their app stores or the app review system, in order to make developers less focused on getting stars. For example, they might develop an algorithm that scrapes and analyses text-based reviews to give an app a score, which would remove developers’ incentives to collected five-star reviews at all costs.

The “Rate This App” controversy was taken up by iOS-focused writer and developer John Gruber, and was further commented upon in the Apple developer community by developer Marco Arment and blogger Chris Gonzalez.

In other news…

Apple is building a proprietary real-time ad bidding exchange that will help automate the sale of in-app ads, so that the rest of its iAds team can focus on iTunes Radio. (AdWeek)

Amazon has acquired mobile payments company Gopago, which specialises in apps for iOS and Android that allow for customers to purchase a good from their phone before picking it up in the store. (TechCrunch)

Samsung has come out saying it wants to sell 330 million smartphone units during 2014. To do so, it will debut a brand new low-cost handset, the Galaxy Core Advance. (The Next Web)

Promoted accounts ads on Twitter will now be appearing on all mobile devices. (All Things Digital)

In order to sell more units of the Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon is offering potential new customers a 9-month payment plan for the tablet. The main goal of Kindle Fire products is that they be used as a platform for customers to purchase Amazon products, content and more. (All Things Digital)

Tech writer Tim Bajarin thinks Google will spin off its Motorola division and that the PC market may actually grow in 2014. Here are some of his other predictions for the new year. (Tech Opinions)

What you may have missed this week on BI Intelligence…

A Social Engagement Primer: A Portrait Of Time-Spend And Activity On The Top Social Networks

LINE Provides A Great Example Of How Mobile Messaging Apps Can Make Money

This Startup Wants To Help Big Bricks-And-Mortar Retail Chains Become Just As Data-Savvy As Amazon

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Tagged In