I tend to have great level of appreciation to Apple’s ability to design amazing and easy to use products. In most cases, there is a lot of thinking behind each feature, but here is one which is far beyond my understanding: Apple intentionally destroys third party apps credibility by encouraging bad ratings.
If you ever wonder why so many applications have bad ratings the answer is quite simple: sometime along the way Apple added a step to the application delete process: rate this application before deleting. Now, you don’t have to be Steve Jobs to know that users that delete apps are either not happy with what they got, or just don’t think the app is useful anymore. In either case, the poor app is doomed to get a rating of 1-3/5 from virtually everyone that deletes the app, since it is so easy to do. It takes as long to hit the “no thanks” button as it takes to click on one of the stars and click “rate”.
Now, assume I am a happy customer that really likes FlyCast. What will it take me to write a positive review about the app?
- Think of writing a positive review
- Go to App Store app on the iphone
- Search for FlyCase (assuming I can spell it right…)
- Scroll all the way down on the app screen (can be 4-5 screens down)
- click on the review button
- Click on write a review
- Enter my itunes password and wait for the screen to load
- Click on the 5th star to show my excitement and hit save
It is easy to assume that a user needs to be highly motivated to go through this couple of minutes process to write a review. In reality, Apple has created the easiest way for unhappy customers to voice their opinion and the hardest way for all the rest. By that it creates a huge bias toward negative reviews.
I think the idea of creating an easy way to voice an opinion is actually good. It is similar to the way Netflix is embedding the ability to review in their confirmation emails when a movie is returned. The big difference is that Netflix does that for all movies, all renters and therefore gets balanced ratings. If Apples wants to solve this issue all it needs to do is to add a new button next to the X that appears on the app before it is moved or deleted with a star icon that will lead the user to an easy, 1-5 star selection screen or whichever other idea that will level the playing field.
While Apple is not impacted directly by this unbalanced system (you can not delete the Apple pre-installed apps), it diminishes the overall value of its eco system and iphone biggest asset, its third party apps.