App Developers, Stop Asking for 5-Star Reviews!!

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about the dos and don’ts of requesting and writing reviews on both Google Play and App Store. Nothing’s really changed from 5 years ago; people are still writing shitty useless one-word “reviews” and developers still put those prompts for a 5-star rating in their apps.

Once again, I will explain why I take issue to the latter:

  • The developer only has one thing in mind: A 5-star or perfect rating means better visibility in search results in the application’s store which ups the chances of it being downloaded. It doesn’t matter if the app is not right at the top of the results. The chances are many users LOOK for 4 or 5-star ones as it gives the impression that it’s a good product.
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  • Developers use the bullshit excuse that a 5-star rating will better motivate their team. If you actually valued user feedback, you’d be asking for critiques without tossing in the specific rating suggestion and incentive (or bribe as I like to refer to it as) to review.
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  • EVERYONE WANTS FREE STUFF — especially when it’s premium currency so of course most people will bite. Developers know this and they also know that they’ll fall for the following point.
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  • Users do what they’re asked to despite how they actually feel about the game.
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. :(
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. 😦

    PRO TIP: I’m unsure how it is with Android apps but with iOS, you don’t NEED to even rate or write a review to get a gift/bribe. Simply tap on the prompt box and allow the device to automatically switch to the app’s store page. Once there, don’t do anything! Just immediately go back to the app.
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    I believe this can also be applied to sharing on Twitter or other social services where you can just cancel the post and still receive the review incentive.

I leave 1-star reviews for companies that practices this sort of shit and call them out. I actually received a reply from one for a game I like playing which stated that players are free to give whatever rating they feel appropriate.

Well, gee. No shit. But as that example screenshot I provided showed, people a) rate 5-stars because they are told to, and b) believe giving a full rating is the only way to get the gift.

I’m not saying developers should outright stop asking for reviews and ratings or giving incentives. I’m only wishing they’d stop being dishonest and deceitful with the review prompts. Users will, in all likelihood, give the full rating and write positive comments if they’re happy with what they’re using. I think that should motivate the team more than all the blind & thoughtless 5-stars.

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2 thoughts on “App Developers, Stop Asking for 5-Star Reviews!!”

  1. Unfortunately when everyone does this, it becomes the norm. Have you taken an Uber recently? Would you reject a ride by a 4.4 star uber driver? Many of my friends would, and I would as well. Did you know that in most cities, uber drivers are booted from the platform if their rating drops below a 4.5*? Instead of asking developers to be dishonest, I would suggest asking Google to change the rating system. A simple thumbs up / thumbs down seems like it would solve many problems.

    1. Developers aren’t part of the service industry and most of them are indie studios consisting of 1 person or just a handful of employees. Perfects without explanation mean nothing. Likewise, perfects with useless compliments, keywords, or completely pointless remarks are worthless as well. Getting honest ratings would and should help them. It’s not like they’re going to fire themselves if they get a 4.4 rating, but I do get that their sales and visibility on the store would suffer.

      I’m not sure a simple like or dislike would solve anything because devs would start bribing for likes (which they already do for visibility on Facebook) and everyone would judge by the number of likes. 😐

      As for Uber, I’ve never used them and I’m assuming they don’t let customers get specific on their trip and driver. I wouldn’t be surprised if people docked points for road conditions and other stupid shit that had nothing to do with the service they received. :\ Kind of like how servers in restaurants get blamed for the food the kitchen staff makes in those review/rating systems they use.

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