Rate It If You Hate It!

appstore12The AppStore “Rate It If You Hate It” system is such a spectacularly bad idea that I really need to talk about it for a second. I certainly appreciate what Apple is trying to do. Like I’ve said time and again – I’m VERY VERY happy with Apple’s clearly demonstrated policy of working to improve things. I’ve seen other companies allow their flawed systems/devices/OS’s to sit around for YEARS with no effort to improve them. So, please don’t take this frustration with one aspect of the system as an overall indictment.

But seriously – a system that specifically encourages people who are removing an application to review it, with no reciprocating system to encourage people who LIKE their applications to review them, is a terrible plan.

Read on after the jump for the whole story…

What Is “Rate It If You Hate It”?

The system I’ve dubbed “Rate It If You Hate It” is a built-in function of the iPhone/iPod touch that encourages you to rate an application if you uninstall it. They make it extremely easy, letting you just tap a number of stars and then get on with your life.

The Problem

The problem is that they are encouraging bad reviews with no way of encouraging good reviews. In a real way, they’re sabotaging their own rating system as every single person that hates the app and uninstalls it, is given an EXTREMELY easy way to smack it with a 1 Star review.

Meanwhile, all those applications that people KEEP on their phones and possibly use every single day, Apple doesn’t encourage reviews for at all! Every app that I’ve disliked, I’ve gotten a “Rate This!” prompt, but for those apps I LOVE (Phase 10, Scrabble, Notes2Self, and more) Apple has never bothered to say “Hey, if you love this App you really should rate it! Let other people know it is great!”

And do you REALLY want to prompt for a review at the moment a person is the most frustrated?

“Fraking piece of junk. I’m deleting you! Oh, review it? Heck yes I want to review it. 1 STAR! DELETED!”

Open Season on Free Apps

This is an especially big problem for Free Applications. With Free Apps, TONS of people just grab it to try it and probably a huge majority of those folks remove it shortly thereafter since all they wanted to do was give it a try. Thousands of users are prompted “Rate It If You Hate It!” as they uninstall while many more thousands happily use the app with no prompt.

My Plea to Apple

PLEASE change this system, Apple. We haven’t been impacted too badly by it yet but it is just such an amazingly bad system that it really has got to go. Either that, or put in some sort of balance – a prompt that comes up the 5th time you use an app saying:

Boy, you use this a lot. Want to rate it?

Or something like that!

Thanks for listening!

6 thoughts on “Rate It If You Hate It!

  1. Kevin White

    I see a smaller problem with Rate It If You Hate It: the star ratings.

    I’m a good user; I actually pick a rating if I’m uninstalling, even if it’s a program I liked (but don’t use.)

    I usually rate software like 1 star – bad software. 3 stars or the middle option: it’s fine, nothing awesome, I maybe didn’t like it but it’s an okay program. 5 stars or 4 stars: I really like it and it’s cool.

    I would rather see a “did you like this app or not?” kind of rating for uninstalling. I’ve uninstalled a lot of apps because I just didn’t really see a use for them or I found a better app, but I still liked them. I’ve also uninstalled apps that were useless or badly designed.

    Having to formulate an actual opinion on a scale of 1 to 5 is much harder than saying, “didn’t like it.”

    However, that doesn’t solve the problem that Marc’s whole post is about, it just lessens it. Maybe.

  2. Adam Talcott

    You saved me from writing a blog post myself. This is a major flaw in the App Store’s rating system, and it’s responsible for all the apps that have a rating of two stars but four- or five-star raves in the reviews. I think Apple could learn a lot from Amazon.com in this regard. Perhaps send an e-mail to users asking them to rate their recently installed applications? This should be made as easy as possible for users to do either on the iPhone or on the Web.

  3. Pingback: Well the ratings are in… | Steili.com

  4. Venky

    Hi,
    I dont think so bad about it. Apple is asking users who are not satisfied about a product rate it. You can take all those inputs to modify your code. Specify clearly in your app description that ur apps were corrected and modified. If your following reviews are looking better, your app would feel mature and advanced.
    All this only if your survive the bad reviews. Gotta have some money for marketing expenses to survive.

  5. Marc

    @Venky: Only problem Venky is that they don’t solicit reviews – just star ratings. This really doesn’t tell us anything useful at all. And as I said, when they don’t solicit GOOD reviews, only the bad ones go up – it’s lopsided.

  6. Adam S

    There needs to be some sort of review system if they are going to do the stars. Just doesn’t make sense from a design standpoint. If you want accurate information you don’t design to only find out from people that don’t use it. You need to find out from people that do use it and why. Just bad design.

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