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Unfair/dishonest App Store reviews?

01-15-2012, 04:20 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 35
Unfair/dishonest App Store reviews?

Hi all,

Maybe this has been discussed before - I searched a bit but couldn't find a thread, so here we go:

I am quite new as an iOS developer. We released our first iPad title yesterday, and when following up today I was surprised at some of the reviews. Especially two reviews in the US which stated that the game "didn't download" and "was a ripoff". How is that even possible?

Obviously I have contacted Apple about them, but I am not sure if they will act.

Anyway, I would like to ask your advice - as users and gamers - on how a developer should handle reviews like those ones. Are they worth commenting on in the game description or should we just ignore them and hope the good ones (which we have several of) will win out?

I have nothing against fair/honest reviews (we want to improve the game obviously), but these ones seem more like shill reviews to me - as if someone is marking the App down on purpose.

In case you are interested, the game in question is here: http://itunes.com/apps/machineworld
If you are in the US, you should be able to see the reviews I mentioned.

Anyway, thanks in advance for your thoughts on the issue. A bit depressed here. :-/
01-15-2012, 04:38 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Somewhere in the spiritual realm
Posts: 601
If the game is over 20mbs it's probably because the person or people are trying to download it over 3G And you can't download games over 20mbs over 3G (only wifi)

If that's the case you can address it in your description and say
"we have had reports that some people are having trouble downloading this over 3G, games of this size can only be downloaded through wifi, a rule Of apples, not mine"

If it's not that then I dunno what it is, I doubt people would be shilling unless your game is very similar to someone elses so they are trying to make yours look bad.

But generally devs/publishers don't even respond to negative feedback on iTunes, they just ignore it, addressing it may just bring more attention to
It and lessening the sales, plus each country can only see their own countries feedback,
And everytime you update your game the old reviews dont count as your feedback score, it starts fresh.

Last edited by Tannorexic; 01-15-2012 at 05:37 AM.

01-15-2012, 05:03 AM
#3
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannorexic View Post
If the game is over 20mbs it's probably because the person or people are trying to download it over 3G And you can't doenloa games over 20mbs over 3G (only wifi)

If that's the case you can address it in your description and say
"we have had reports that some people are having trouble downloading this over 3G, games of this size cam only be doneloaded through wifi, a rule
Of apples, not mine"
That's right! I didn't think of that - that is probably the case. Although I am quite sure you do get a notice explaining why it won't download.

Anyway, perhaps I should add a notice like you suggested. Can't hurt.
Thanks!
01-15-2012, 05:11 AM
#4
Don't worry about a couple of bad / fake / unfair App Store comments as a good game will generally receive positive feedback too. You can try to encourage more people to review your game - but don't expect all reviews to be positive, because someone will always hate what you do, no matter how hard you work on it.

If you start adding notes about possible problems or bad reviews to your app description, that draws attention to the negatives and puts people off. That's not a good idea unless you have a major problem affecting many customers and want them to know it's being worked on.

You could add a general note inviting people to contact you directly with any problems, so they can be dealt with promptly. That may deter some customers who may have left a bad review otherwise.

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01-15-2012, 05:41 AM
#5
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 35
Thanks Red1,

In general I am not worried about a few negative reviews. We are in it for the long haul and as long as reviews are constructive in some way I am happy. What bothered me was the claims that the App was not possible to download, but that may definitely be due to the App size (it is above 20mb).

As for the few other negative comments, I have asked people to communicate with us on our forum, but obviously not all users will do that. Which is sad, as it would have given us a chance to rectify whatever problem the one-star reviewer had.

The App Store sure is an interesting place...
01-15-2012, 08:26 AM
#6
Yeah I would add a line in there - "Problems? Email xxxx@xxxxx for help!" That is sort of a blanket statement that doesn't say anything specific about a problem (like the over 20mb problem).

The thing is, as soon as you start to write a review there is a block on the top of the box you must fill in that says something (off the top of my head) like - Technical Problems? Contact technical support -- and then gives the email that should be on the link in your description at the bottom.

People will find anything to complain about and I think most devs have just learned to ignore the ignorance and focus on the positive.

Good luck!
01-15-2012, 08:47 AM
#7
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 10,656
Sadly there are lots of fake/shill reviews. Look at one of the sections here where people just give out 5/5 reviews just to try to win an iTunes voucher

Most people can see past these fake terrible review things and ignore them
01-15-2012, 08:47 AM
#8
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Tel-Aviv
Posts: 2,298
yeah obviously these reviews are a pain in the bee-hind. but i too believe that a good game will eventually float up and the average score of all will prevail. so a few pins and needles here and there should not cause a big riot, even for small indie developers.

Noise brings so many things, make my tingling skin freeze.
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01-15-2012, 10:15 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 35
What is most annoying is not the negatives reviews in themselves (IMHO). It is the fact that people tend to ignore the options that exists for getting help. On the App pages there are two prominent buttons (Developer Site + Support), but I have yet to see a single email or post from users with problems.

That takes away the opportunity to help people who do have problems. For example, two of the recent reviews in the UK:

1. Someone was disappointed that the game was a bit too hard for his/her 4y/o. Rated the game with one star. I would have loved to be able to get some more feedback or help the customer.

2. Another customer said it crashed on startup. We have hard tested it (and it does not crash in our experience), so the most likely reason was that he was on an iPad1 and had run (or was running) lots of other things. In such cases the OS may be unable to free enough memory for a game to run. Maybe a restart would have helped him? Now I don't know. He rated it with one star and was requesting a refund.

So it seems that some will not give a developer the benefit of a doubt, and given how the App Store works we can't really step in and help people who have problems. That's a bit sad.

Anyway, we'll continue to improve on the App and listen to the constructive feedback we get and hope that the positive reviews win out. We have had more 4/5-stars than bad ones, so all in all we are quite happy all things considered.
01-17-2012, 07:48 AM
#10
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by psj3809 View Post
Sadly there are lots of fake/shill reviews. Look at one of the sections here where people just give out 5/5 reviews just to try to win an iTunes voucher

Most people can see past these fake terrible review things and ignore them
Lol I gave a 2 star review to a game, and they haven't chosen the winner yet... Haha. They did say give an honest review!

Anyway, don't worry about it. Your game is great to me, but there is always room for improvement. Just need to take suggestions into mind.

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