Under the Radar

Under the Radar 62: App Store Reviews


00:00:00   welcome to under the radar a show but

00:00:01   independent iOS app development I'm

00:00:03   Marco Arment and I'm David Smith under

00:00:06   the radar is never longer than 30

00:00:07   minutes so let's get started one star

00:00:10   useless but a terrible review so today

00:00:15   we're going to talk about the review

00:00:17   system in the App Store

00:00:19   mr. star I think we're gonna start off

00:00:21   by talking about a little bit of way

00:00:23   it's structured and it's maybe some of

00:00:25   its origins and some of the implications

00:00:27   of like the way our customers actually

00:00:29   see that and then towards the end I

00:00:31   think we're going to dive into a little

00:00:32   bit of the way as a developer we should

00:00:34   approach using you know you asking for

00:00:39   reviews and dealing with reviews that

00:00:41   are given to us and so on so the review

00:00:45   system in the App Store is very much you

00:00:47   can kind of tell that it is based on the

00:00:51   review system for something like a movie

00:00:54   or music or something you know the

00:00:56   origins of the App Store's I've

00:00:57   certainly call from iTunes and so you

00:01:00   can kind of see that the trickiness of

00:01:05   that is that it was definitely not

00:01:06   designed for something like software

00:01:07   that changes all the time that already

00:01:10   changes often you know a movie or

00:01:12   something you publish it and it's the

00:01:14   same forever a software changes on a

00:01:16   regular basis and so it was definitely a

00:01:18   early on especially very awkward because

00:01:21   reviews would just stay around forever

00:01:22   and you have reviews bad reviews you

00:01:25   know for you really said busted version

00:01:27   you get a bunch of one-star reviews you

00:01:30   submit the fix those one-star reviews

00:01:32   were still there and so the vendor shape

00:01:33   will went through and changed it so that

00:01:35   now your reviews that are visible

00:01:38   initially to the user are always based

00:01:40   on your most recent version which is

00:01:43   sometimes problematic when you first

00:01:45   release a new version because that means

00:01:46   that if you don't have I think it's five

00:01:48   or so reviews for your application you

00:01:52   don't just doesn't show any of them I

00:01:54   think it's just essentially to prevent

00:01:56   for the situation where if your first

00:01:57   review was a one-star review or your

00:01:59   first review is a five-star review

00:02:00   they're not gonna say that that's their

00:02:02   the rating for your your app just

00:02:04   because you only have one so you need a

00:02:07   certain number of them so it's a little

00:02:08   awkward when you submit a new update and

00:02:10   someone comes to look at your app and it

00:02:12   says hey there's

00:02:13   no you know there's no right ranking for

00:02:15   this app which thank you sir it's an

00:02:17   implication at least if it's like that's

00:02:19   not good well it's not necessarily bad

00:02:21   directly but anyway that's sort of the

00:02:24   way it goes but I think star ratings

00:02:27   especially are very powerful indicator

00:02:30   to our customers about the quality of

00:02:33   our apps because they're one of the few

00:02:35   things that are shown to the user when

00:02:38   they first you know and then they're

00:02:39   first looking at the list of apps so you

00:02:42   know that isn't from me maybe it's the

00:02:44   right way to say it you know so they you

00:02:45   if you search for one of my apps in the

00:02:47   App Store it pops up you'll see the icon

00:02:49   I made the name I gave it the first few

00:02:52   lines of the description it's

00:02:53   screenshots and then the stars and the

00:02:56   stars are the only part of that that are

00:02:57   all right isn't marketing isn't just me

00:02:59   making stuff up because obviously

00:03:00   everyone's gonna say my app is great my

00:03:02   app is awesome the stars have this vague

00:03:05   sense of objectivity to them and so I

00:03:08   think they have probably a fairly

00:03:11   significant impact on what customers

00:03:13   think about an app and with how you know

00:03:16   how likely they are to download it and I

00:03:17   think I've seen that definitely in terms

00:03:19   of my own downloads where I know that if

00:03:22   my star rating starts to go down or I do

00:03:24   a new update and the star rating

00:03:27   disappears for a couple of days that it

00:03:29   can have a noticeable immuno reduction

00:03:32   in downloads that if it's not like they

00:03:35   go to zero but it's you know there's 20

00:03:36   30 percent of my downloads will start

00:03:38   will go away for a period until I'm able

00:03:41   to build that up and so I think it's

00:03:44   something that we have to deal with as

00:03:45   developers to make sure that we're like

00:03:48   aware of that the importance of this and

00:03:50   then also it's like really awkward

00:03:51   because you get into all the tricky

00:03:54   things that you can get into where

00:03:55   people start you know paying people to

00:03:57   review their apps paying people to give

00:03:58   it five star reviews which you know it

00:04:01   eventually if Apple you know catches you

00:04:03   doing that they'll pull you out of the

00:04:04   App Store for that kind of thing but

00:04:06   it's this really strange tension of

00:04:07   where is the appropriateness there you

00:04:10   know how how is asking for a review fine

00:04:13   is asking for a review in a in the app

00:04:16   okay is it fine out somewhere outside of

00:04:18   the app etc but it's all a big mess but

00:04:20   ultimately and probably the best place

00:04:21   to start is just the importance of that

00:04:25   star rating and

00:04:26   trying to keep it up yeah I mean it

00:04:30   looks like a lot of the AppStore it's

00:04:32   the kind of thing where like the system

00:04:33   is not perfect we as developers have to

00:04:36   basically grin and bear it we have to

00:04:38   work around its flaws or tolerate its

00:04:39   flaws or you know somehow just

00:04:41   accommodate them but also like it's hard

00:04:45   to imagine a lot of better systems like

00:04:48   I have tons of ideas and how they could

00:04:49   improve user reviews on the App Store

00:04:52   but it's not going to be like a massive

00:04:55   improvement like it's if they're gonna

00:04:57   have user reviews at all they're doing

00:04:59   an okay job of it again not not a

00:05:02   wonderful job but an okay job of it you

00:05:03   know and and again like changing it

00:05:05   would be incremental not revolutionary

00:05:07   and and I do think it is it serves a

00:05:12   useful purpose to have user reviews like

00:05:14   you know I've often thought there's a

00:05:16   lot of contexts in which there are no

00:05:18   user reviews you know on your own sales

00:05:22   page like that's how the web works like

00:05:24   you know if you go to buy software and

00:05:26   you go to the company's website they're

00:05:28   not gonna have a set well they usually

00:05:29   aren't going to have a section of random

00:05:32   user submitted unfiltered reviews you

00:05:35   know they're gonna handpick you know

00:05:36   they're gonna cherry-pick what good

00:05:38   things have been said about them and

00:05:39   that's gonna be all you see and it's

00:05:41   weird to have like on the page that

00:05:44   everybody will go to even if somebody

00:05:46   goes to your site for an iOS app fully

00:05:48   intends to get it you send them through

00:05:51   to click through to the App Store page

00:05:52   for them to actually download it and

00:05:53   they're seeing that those star reviews

00:05:55   so you can't escape your customers will

00:05:57   always see those star reviews so they

00:05:59   are probably important from that point

00:06:03   of view however I really don't know how

00:06:08   important the nitty gritty details are

00:06:11   for customers so for instance I think

00:06:14   the average star rating that people see

00:06:16   is probably fairly important you know

00:06:18   you said you've seen a dip in downloads

00:06:20   when that when it's been too early for a

00:06:22   version to show a rating can you tell

00:06:24   have you did have you like isolated

00:06:26   enough variables to really have any idea

00:06:28   whether it matters whether it's like two

00:06:30   star 4 star average um not not quite to

00:06:35   that level I don't like I think there's

00:06:37   I've seen

00:06:39   measurable impacts when you have a bad

00:06:41   version that is a really bad rating

00:06:44   where the you know the number it's like

00:06:47   I don't know if there's a difference

00:06:49   between being four four and a half or

00:06:52   five you're like if you're on the high

00:06:54   end like the difference between those I

00:06:56   haven't been at quite been able to

00:06:57   narrow it down but I think there's

00:06:58   definitely an impact like if you have a

00:06:59   really bet really low rating is really

00:07:02   bad and probably even in some ways worse

00:07:04   than having no rating at all because

00:07:07   like the people it's like the active and

00:07:09   the active statement of like this app is

00:07:11   bad rather than like I don't know what

00:07:13   is this app that's true but but there is

00:07:16   definitely something funny there too I

00:07:18   think it's also interesting that in the

00:07:20   app store they show the number of

00:07:21   reviews that have been left like in the

00:07:25   little parentheses after the star rating

00:07:26   and I feel like that number is also

00:07:28   probably somewhat indicative as well

00:07:30   because think if the efficient you know

00:07:32   it's like five stars four views or

00:07:34   whatever you know a very small number

00:07:36   I probably carries a lot less weight

00:07:38   than if you have you know 1,600 reviews

00:07:42   and the average rating is five stars

00:07:43   like that also care has more weight to

00:07:45   it probably that but yeah it's a really

00:07:48   awkward thing to try and like actually

00:07:50   isolate and work out the impact because

00:07:53   it's such a fluid thing and it's not you

00:07:55   know as a devout as a developer we don't

00:07:57   have any direct control over and so it's

00:07:59   like you can like run an experiment of

00:08:00   like let me try running the App Store if

00:08:02   I have a five star review let me see if

00:08:04   I have a four star review so Joe is just

00:08:06   kind of more anecdotal and kind of just

00:08:08   gut feeling about how it how it works

00:08:11   yeah I mean you know as somebody like I

00:08:14   buy things and Amazon all the time I

00:08:16   occasionally will look for new apps on

00:08:18   either iOS or even the Mac App Store and

00:08:20   as a buyer like that what I'm looking at

00:08:22   reviews I hardly ever read any actual

00:08:26   post posted review text right but I

00:08:28   almost always will look at the average

00:08:31   star rating and the and the approximate

00:08:33   number of ratings and that's the one

00:08:34   thing like when I'm buying something on

00:08:36   Amazon you know if I'm buying like

00:08:37   something where there's a lot of fairly

00:08:40   commoditized similar competition like a

00:08:42   cable you know something like that like

00:08:44   if there's one that has 900 reviews and

00:08:48   a four and a half star average and

00:08:50   there's one that has five reviews on

00:08:52   five star Everidge you know that that

00:08:54   stands out to me and I will pick the

00:08:56   more popular one those figure I will

00:08:57   figure there's probably some reason why

00:08:59   they have so many more that that's

00:09:00   probably a good sign it's just a larger

00:09:02   sample set so to achieve a decent

00:09:04   average with that big of a sample set is

00:09:06   a pretty good sign compared to something

00:09:08   with five reviews right and I have to

00:09:10   imagine that most people will do the

00:09:12   same thing with App Store reviews

00:09:14   because it's it you know whatever we

00:09:16   think of our apps and and our position

00:09:18   of the market the way the way I think

00:09:21   the market has has shown us over and

00:09:23   over again that it actually works is

00:09:24   very much like people buying basic

00:09:26   cable's on ahem azan where it's like

00:09:28   they're looking at a list of a thousand

00:09:30   apps about looked the same and they're

00:09:32   gonna just pick the one that has like

00:09:34   you know that shows up near the top

00:09:36   probably the one that's free if there is

00:09:38   one that's free which is they're almost

00:09:39   always is and they're gonna pick the one

00:09:41   that has a decent looking you know name

00:09:44   and icon and screenshot maybe and

00:09:46   they're gonna and with decent ratings so

00:09:48   in the aggregate I do think these are

00:09:52   very important to to kind of just keep

00:09:54   your average up and to try to get a good

00:09:57   number of reviews that being said I

00:09:59   think the specifics of like if you have

00:10:03   an app that has mostly good reviews and

00:10:04   there's one angry person who leaves a 1

00:10:06   star and trashes you in their review

00:10:08   even if even with stuff that isn't even

00:10:09   true I mean look I my attitude both in

00:10:13   you know personally and in my software

00:10:16   development style my attitude inspires

00:10:19   extreme feelings in some people and I

00:10:23   get a lot of of those extremes and and

00:10:26   some of that is great if most of it is

00:10:28   great you know most of my reviews tend

00:10:30   to be pretty positive but there's always

00:10:32   with anything I do I could write a blog

00:10:34   post saying the sky is blue and there

00:10:36   will be one person raging against it on

00:10:38   Twitter you know it's like anything I do

00:10:40   because of my attitude and style there

00:10:43   it okay it will anger a certain number

00:10:46   of people right and so everything I do

00:10:48   always has a small percentage of really

00:10:52   negative response or reviews on it so

00:10:55   you know even the best versions of

00:10:56   overcast the best version of Instapaper

00:10:58   like even like the most uncontroversial

00:11:00   updates there's always a one-star review

00:11:02   or two or three or four you know they're

00:11:04   always there

00:11:05   some of them get really rude and some of

00:11:07   them are really personal but whatever it

00:11:08   doesn't really so

00:11:10   basically I've stopped reading them like

00:11:13   because it's just I found it mostly

00:11:15   unhelpful to read the reviews I find it

00:11:19   much more helpful to pay attention to

00:11:22   what people are saying via email and

00:11:24   Twitter and even though I don't usually

00:11:26   even respond to those and sometimes

00:11:28   that's gets overwhelming I can't even

00:11:29   read them all honestly but but usually I

00:11:32   am able to keep up with reading them and

00:11:34   you know the more engaged somebody is

00:11:38   with trying to contact you and trying to

00:11:40   use your app I think the more useful

00:11:44   their feedback tends to be and so App

00:11:46   Store reviews are kind of the bottom of

00:11:48   the barrel like somebody can look at

00:11:51   your app for three seconds and leave a

00:11:52   review and they don't even like they

00:11:54   didn't get to your contact link they

00:11:56   didn't they didn't find your Twitter

00:11:57   username like it's like there there's a

00:11:58   lower barrier to entry there and to some

00:12:01   degree that means you're gonna get more

00:12:02   feedback that way which is often a good

00:12:04   thing but it also means that the level

00:12:07   of engagement these users and level of

00:12:08   effort these users is pretty pretty low

00:12:10   on average and so you're gonna get more

00:12:13   of the crap that you should mentally

00:12:16   filter out coming in through that

00:12:18   channel than through other channels and

00:12:19   so the way I look at like individual

00:12:23   reviews the ones that are like onestart

00:12:25   angry and everything is you know if I

00:12:27   see one

00:12:28   which again I've been seeing fewer and

00:12:30   fewer because I stopped reading the

00:12:31   reviews for the most part but if I if I

00:12:33   see one making a reasonable point I will

00:12:37   take mental note you know like okay this

00:12:39   person really really hates you know my

00:12:41   decision to remove this feature six

00:12:43   months ago whatever okay you know that

00:12:46   that's that's like kind of like an

00:12:47   upvote in my head of like maybe I should

00:12:49   reconsider that or or whatever else or

00:12:52   maybe people want a way to address this

00:12:53   problem that I removed forever ago but

00:12:56   for the most part I don't think you have

00:12:59   to worry that much about any individual

00:13:02   review both score wise or its content

00:13:05   because what matters way more to the

00:13:07   people who are actually browsing for

00:13:09   your app is the the number of reviews in

00:13:12   the average star rating and I would be

00:13:13   very surprised if a lot of people

00:13:15   actually went through and read a

00:13:17   meaningful number of review

00:13:19   now this obviously is a bigger problem

00:13:22   if you don't have very many reviews and

00:13:24   so we'll get into this but like you know

00:13:27   all the the the problem of like the

00:13:29   occasional one-star angry people is

00:13:31   magnified the fewer reviews you have

00:13:33   because the you know the few reviews to

00:13:35   kind of bury it or average it out or

00:13:36   whatever else and so I've been lucky

00:13:39   that overcast has almost always had a

00:13:41   very large number of reviews and I think

00:13:44   we'll talk after the after sponsor break

00:13:45   about kind of how and why and and when

00:13:48   and when not to ask for reviews because

00:13:51   I think I think that does have an impact

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00:15:07   show yeah because I think what the thing

00:15:10   that's so tricky with all of these

00:15:11   things with reviews is this planning

00:15:13   this balance between like it's um it's

00:15:18   it's a really it's an odd part of the

00:15:19   development process because we don't

00:15:22   have any direct control over it but it

00:15:25   has a direct impact on us and there are

00:15:27   very few things I think in the

00:15:28   development process like one of the

00:15:29   things that I love about being a

00:15:30   developer is that like I'm telling my

00:15:32   app what

00:15:33   like it's a little bit control freaky

00:15:35   like I enjoy that I can control all the

00:15:38   behaviors all the aesthetics everything

00:15:41   and everything in my app I can control

00:15:42   because it exists you know as a result

00:15:45   of like sitting on Xcode and making it

00:15:47   but the reviews are completely out of my

00:15:49   control like I have no direct way of

00:15:51   doing that and instead and I think like

00:15:53   we're just saying it's it's like any

00:15:55   individual reviews probably not all that

00:15:57   important but it's more important though

00:15:59   is that we are able to encourage our

00:16:02   customers to go there and a high enough

00:16:06   volume of customers to go there such

00:16:09   that you have a representative sample

00:16:10   and obviously I prefer to be

00:16:12   representative of customers who love my

00:16:15   app and want to give it five stars and

00:16:16   talk about it lovely but at the very

00:16:19   least I want that number to be

00:16:20   significant so that it isn't just

00:16:22   drowned out by the one person who's

00:16:24   angry or even just given that bad

00:16:27   impression of like why does this app

00:16:29   only have seven reviews like you kind of

00:16:31   least in my mind I start to like I don't

00:16:33   know what but exactly what the

00:16:34   multiplier is but I'm like if the app

00:16:36   you know it's like there's a certain

00:16:37   like the audience and the customer base

00:16:40   of this app is probably some multiplier

00:16:41   of that and so if it's only like seven

00:16:44   maybe the app is kind of is only used by

00:16:46   a few handful of people and isn't that

00:16:48   good and so there's a strange tension

00:16:50   though and there was this that's

00:16:53   probably three or four year years now

00:16:55   but there was a big hoo-ha a couple

00:16:57   years ago where around the like little

00:17:01   pop-up dialogue said a lot of apps use

00:17:03   where it you know you're using the app

00:17:06   using the app then all of a sudden it

00:17:08   pops up and says hey we're gonna review

00:17:10   my app and there was an app there was a

00:17:12   library called he was operator that was

00:17:15   used in just over hundreds and hundreds

00:17:17   of apps and got you know had this very

00:17:21   aggressive version of that and I think

00:17:23   it's that's it's something that I try

00:17:25   and always avoid in my apps like I've

00:17:26   never really felt great about doing this

00:17:29   because the reality is like the reviews

00:17:32   are primarily beneficial to me and

00:17:36   they're beneficial to future potential

00:17:38   customers the actual current customer

00:17:41   who's using it the review doesn't really

00:17:43   benefit them in any way directly other

00:17:45   than like

00:17:46   the vague sense that it makes my it

00:17:48   helps me which helps them because it

00:17:51   helps me to be wanting to make the app

00:17:53   better for them but it's mostly just

00:17:55   they're doing me a favor and so I need

00:17:59   to look at it from that perspective and

00:18:00   I think you know automats I've avoided

00:18:02   putting in things to kind of ask for

00:18:05   them for that because it is asking them

00:18:08   a favor and it's like you don't want to

00:18:10   you want to be really thoughtful if

00:18:11   anytime you ask your audience for

00:18:13   something but then I also look in the

00:18:16   App Store and next reason this is top of

00:18:18   mind for me is I just went through and

00:18:19   added a little section in the settings

00:18:22   area of pedometer plus plus where it

00:18:24   says you know would you like please

00:18:26   leave a review leave me a review really

00:18:28   helps thank you essentially I can have a

00:18:30   little button to go to the App Store to

00:18:32   leave a review and I hadn't had one in

00:18:35   there for a long time yep usually was

00:18:37   reviewed fairly well but I was starting

00:18:38   to look at look at it from the

00:18:40   perspective of a new customer and I went

00:18:42   into the App Store and I started you

00:18:43   know searching for the terms that you

00:18:44   would search for if you were going to

00:18:46   try and find that app and what I was

00:18:49   noticing is that I had various massively

00:18:52   disproportionately lower number of

00:18:53   reviews then my cus customers and based

00:18:56   on like where we rank together our

00:18:57   downloads are fairly similar which makes

00:19:00   me think that a lot of it is coming just

00:19:01   from the fact that I'm pretty sure a lot

00:19:03   of those competitive competing apps have

00:19:06   the like in-your-face pop-up hey go

00:19:08   download the app and enough people go do

00:19:10   that that their numbers look good but

00:19:13   from a fresh customers perspective that

00:19:14   means that my app looks like nobody uses

00:19:16   it or being a very few or

00:19:18   disproportionately fewer that you know

00:19:20   our start of the actual average star

00:19:22   rating is very similar but I have a

00:19:25   tenth of the number of users or reviews

00:19:27   left and so it's like now I've added

00:19:28   this I don't feel great about it but I

00:19:32   think putting it in AB you know it's in

00:19:33   the bottom of the settings area it's the

00:19:35   kind of thing that you'd probably only

00:19:36   find if you are you know you've used the

00:19:41   app a little bit and it's also you know

00:19:44   it's never in it's never end going to be

00:19:46   in the course of the core functionality

00:19:48   of the app so in this case like showing

00:19:49   you your steps it's not like you open it

00:19:51   up to see your steps and you know your

00:19:53   steps are hidden away behind something

00:19:54   asking you to go and do it but I think

00:19:56   the reality is not having one of those

00:19:58   was

00:19:59   kind of disadvantaged disadvantaged we

00:20:03   was putting my putting myself at a

00:20:04   disadvantage that it probably didn't

00:20:06   need to be yeah I mean I I kind of came

00:20:09   around to that as well and I came up

00:20:11   with a a similar solution for overcast

00:20:14   and an overcast 1.0 was released in was

00:20:17   2014 it was it was kind of right in the

00:20:20   middle of a lot of this debate about

00:20:22   about uh the the irate dialog box and

00:20:24   and I mean these and these these rape my

00:20:27   app boxes are now so ubiquitous like you

00:20:29   know big apps like Instagram does it it

00:20:31   bothered me all the time my bank chase

00:20:33   the Chase Bank app does it I'm like

00:20:35   really like I'm trying to posit a check

00:20:37   and like this is like business stuff and

00:20:39   you're interrupting my business stuff

00:20:40   with my business bank for your stupid

00:20:43   rape my app dialog for a bank app like

00:20:44   that but yes it they're so ubiquitous

00:20:46   and I I think you know what you said is

00:20:50   is perfect about like you know you're

00:20:53   asking the app is interrupting good

00:20:55   usage of your app to do themselves an

00:20:58   advertising favor and that's that's it

00:21:00   kind of rubs me the wrong way as a

00:21:01   customer and user of these apps and so

00:21:04   in my apps I've always kind of been you

00:21:07   know not only refusing to do that kind

00:21:10   of interruption but for a while I would

00:21:13   like with Instapaper and the magazine I

00:21:14   never had a link even in settings or

00:21:17   anything to rate cuz I just thought like

00:21:19   kind of like the the pure angle kind of

00:21:21   like back before I would do colon

00:21:23   keywords after a title of an app you

00:21:25   know I used to think well this is I want

00:21:27   to do things like the pure proper way

00:21:28   and this is just how things should work

00:21:29   and sometimes how things should work

00:21:32   isn't how things do work and and so you

00:21:35   have to find some kind of compromise and

00:21:37   so you know with all these little you

00:21:39   know app store realities or shortcomings

00:21:40   you know like like the keyword title

00:21:42   thing I found a compromise of with

00:21:43   overcast I actually couldn't name it

00:21:45   overcast there was there was another app

00:21:47   in the store with an exact name was a

00:21:49   cloud file really dirty app so it wasn't

00:21:51   even like the same kind of thing but I

00:21:53   had to call it overcast something so I

00:21:55   called her an overcast : podcast player

00:21:57   like the the most basic honest short key

00:22:00   word thing I could prove I could really

00:22:01   come up with and and so with the with

00:22:04   the user ratings thing I had a a similar

00:22:08   kind of compromise with overcast 1.0

00:22:12   it was it was clear this kind of thing

00:22:14   was important so I wanted I wanted to

00:22:15   address it somehow and so I just put in

00:22:18   the settings area and in the settings

00:22:20   screen it's still there now it's been

00:22:22   unchanged since version 1.0 I have on

00:22:26   the server side a when when overcast

00:22:29   syncs it the the part of the sync

00:22:32   response is the cached ratings count

00:22:36   from iTunes because you can get it

00:22:38   through the iTunes API this is the

00:22:40   iTunes Search API so you can get your

00:22:42   own ratings count from your server or

00:22:43   directly from your app that way so the

00:22:46   app keeps a record of the ratings count

00:22:48   for the current version and so in the

00:22:51   settings screen again it's been in there

00:22:52   since 1.0 I have a simple item right

00:22:55   next to the feedback item that says

00:22:56   please rate overcast and below it it

00:22:59   says 2014 people have rated this version

00:23:02   and if that number is less than I think

00:23:05   50 it says only X people have rated this

00:23:08   version and right below that it says

00:23:11   overcast will never interrupt you for

00:23:13   ratings and I think enough piece has

00:23:17   worked remarkably so my thinking here is

00:23:20   it's a simple polite relatively compact

00:23:23   thing that encourages people who like

00:23:27   the app to go support it in this way

00:23:29   but it's not pushy about it and

00:23:31   clarifies right there that they will

00:23:33   never be interrupted so this is telling

00:23:35   them that you know I thought about this

00:23:37   very carefully like this is telling them

00:23:39   that I respect them it's tell them right

00:23:42   there I will never interrupt them for

00:23:43   ratings so it's telling them I respect

00:23:45   them I won't do this thing that everyone

00:23:46   does that you hate and also please

00:23:50   please rate it and if the number seems

00:23:52   low especially when it's low enough to

00:23:54   be prefixed with only that's kind of an

00:23:55   additional push like here's how much I

00:23:57   can actually use your support right now

00:23:59   and I've never had to call attention to

00:24:02   it in like in on Twitter or anything

00:24:04   else like or I've never called attention

00:24:06   to it in the app like it's just there in

00:24:07   settings and it has always gotten enough

00:24:09   reviews with remarkable speed that and

00:24:13   part of that so you know I've been

00:24:14   fortunate with overcast the user base is

00:24:15   pretty sizeable now but even back like

00:24:17   in the early days it was always that way

00:24:19   that kind of approach like when you just

00:24:21   respect people and and you you let

00:24:23   people who like the app

00:24:25   supported in this way in a reasonable

00:24:27   way and without getting in their face

00:24:29   and annoying in them that's great now

00:24:31   that being said that's not gonna apply

00:24:33   to every app and that's unfortunate you

00:24:34   know it's one of the defenses back in

00:24:37   the day when when these boxes were being

00:24:39   debated was well they work and we need

00:24:41   them and so I I think what you have to

00:24:46   just keep in mind is that that's not the

00:24:48   only approach that can work and while

00:24:51   you do probably need some kind of easy

00:24:53   way for people to rate your app doing it

00:24:55   in a more respectful way like what we

00:24:58   are doing and in our apps not you know

00:24:59   not to toot our own horn too much but

00:25:00   like doing this in a way that doesn't

00:25:02   interrupt your user and annoy them is I

00:25:05   think a far superior way to do it

00:25:08   because it works well enough so like you

00:25:10   don't need to be more pushy about it

00:25:12   obviously these kind of ways do work

00:25:14   well enough and it doesn't compromise

00:25:15   the user experience and it doesn't annoy

00:25:17   your your legitimate good customers so

00:25:19   to me it's a win-win yeah and I think

00:25:22   too there's like these kind of things I

00:25:25   always do do also take the other I

00:25:27   always try and take the other

00:25:28   perspective to Oh finally I find the a

00:25:31   rating style log very offensive or at

00:25:33   least very annoying but I sometimes do

00:25:37   wonder if my how many of my customers

00:25:39   actually have that same a that same

00:25:41   experience in the same perspective and

00:25:43   it reminds me in many ways have the same

00:25:44   way that like I don't like using a apps

00:25:47   that have banner ads in them but I make

00:25:51   apps that have Henner head's in them

00:25:52   that I people use on a regular basis and

00:25:55   doesn't seem to be a problem for people

00:25:56   like fievel's thresholds for what they

00:25:58   can support if they're annoyed by or

00:26:00   what they consider you know undesirable

00:26:04   they're certainly different I think then

00:26:06   what I have and which is fine but it's

00:26:10   also something that I was trying to keep

00:26:11   in the back of my mind as I'm working on

00:26:12   through these kinds of things is that

00:26:14   well I may think that these things are

00:26:17   really annoying maybe some people don't

00:26:19   don't think they're annoying maybe some

00:26:21   people think that they're actually

00:26:22   useful they're like oh yeah I'd love to

00:26:23   support the SAP I didn't know I could do

00:26:25   that or you know this is something that

00:26:27   I enjoy doing and they like being

00:26:29   prompted to do it in the feeling of

00:26:30   empowerment of that or whatever but I

00:26:33   think whenever I was trying to wrestle

00:26:35   with this a little bit is I think the

00:26:36   approach that it probably makes sense

00:26:38   for most developers

00:26:39   is to like to keep keep an open mind in

00:26:43   terms of like what I was just saying

00:26:44   with myself of like well I may find

00:26:46   these annoying my customers may not but

00:26:49   not to take that to mean a as like a

00:26:51   blank check if I can just like do

00:26:52   whatever I want because someone might

00:26:54   like it but to view it from perspective

00:26:57   of like this is important this is

00:26:59   something that I think I've been

00:27:01   negligent in for a lot of my apps of

00:27:03   making sure that I'm to giving them

00:27:05   every opportunity to succeed and having

00:27:07   a good rich set of reviews in the App

00:27:10   Store is probably an important part of

00:27:12   that but the way to approach it is to

00:27:15   not just like jump all the way to 11 and

00:27:19   be like yeah like just throw dialog

00:27:21   boxes up every time they launch the app

00:27:23   like no that's probably not right but

00:27:26   instead when this is the approach thing

00:27:27   I'm kind of planning to take with my

00:27:30   apps going forward it's like I'm gonna

00:27:31   I'm gonna do this incrementally like I

00:27:33   used to have no dialog boxes at all I

00:27:35   would just have the like a sentence or

00:27:38   two in my release notes was the place

00:27:39   that I typically did it where like in my

00:27:42   changelog at the bottom I'd be like hey

00:27:43   if you have a minute right or maybe

00:27:45   that'd be great

00:27:45   not only does nobody read those but

00:27:47   people who do see them there never gets

00:27:48   the bottom yeah so like that was you

00:27:52   know by far the least of the least

00:27:53   obtrusive version that hasn't been

00:27:56   working perfectly so now I'm gonna put

00:27:58   it in the settings area right I'm gonna

00:28:00   I'm gonna I'm gonna put it there and I'm

00:28:02   gonna engage the response then I'll see

00:28:05   how that goes and I'm gonna if that's

00:28:07   not enough if that's still not quite

00:28:09   getting the outcome that I'd like I can

00:28:10   you know put it in a different part of

00:28:12   the settings area right now it's in the

00:28:13   bottom maybe I'll move it up to the top

00:28:14   and if that doesn't work maybe I'll

00:28:16   periodically show it on the main screen

00:28:18   but not in a modal way like this is even

00:28:21   the mindset I'm trying to take though of

00:28:22   like keeping my options open being

00:28:25   respectful always and not wanting to do

00:28:26   things that are complete you know like

00:28:29   super user hostile but like keeping an

00:28:32   open mind and doing this in

00:28:33   incrementally and seeing like where is

00:28:34   that point because my suspicion is and I

00:28:36   think your experience certainly is a

00:28:38   good example of this is like you can

00:28:39   find a place where you're kind of

00:28:42   hitting that balance between getting the

00:28:44   outcome that you need because you don't

00:28:45   do not that probably much of a

00:28:47   difference between having you know one

00:28:49   thousand and two thousand user reviews

00:28:51   in the App Store for example like

00:28:53   my guess is once you hit forward four

00:28:54   digits like people are they get you got

00:28:56   a sense of like wow that's a lot of

00:28:57   reviews and so just gotta get whatever

00:29:00   we have a mechanism such that you can

00:29:02   hit that number consistently and once

00:29:04   you can do that I think you're probably

00:29:05   gonna be fine and so I'm just gonna

00:29:06   start as basic as I can and I'm just

00:29:08   gonna keep dialing it up slowly until I

00:29:10   hit that point and see you know see

00:29:12   where that actually is I give this

00:29:14   approach four stars that seems

00:29:16   reasonable I withhold the fifth until

00:29:18   you do my favorite pet feature all right

00:29:20   we're out of time this week thank you

00:29:22   very much everybody for listening and we

00:29:24   will talk to you next week bye