‘App Store ratings are broken, let’s get rid of them’

Peter Cohen:

My preference is to get rid of the rating system all together. It’s too easy to abuse and provides no useful context to inform App Store customers. I’d love to see it abolished all together, because I don’t see a way to make it work.

Marco Arment commenting on Cohen’s post:

Eliminating the star ratings but leaving the written reviews would eliminate a lot of developer headaches and much of the motivation behind the annoying “Rate This App” epidemic that’s interrupting and annoying iOS customers and infecting, embarrassing, and devaluing almost all modern iOS apps.

Yeah, it sounds great, but would make for a horrible experience for the users. The App Store is so chocked full of shit apps that there are usually only four ways to find the good apps:

  1. Reviewers
  2. Top Paid/Free/Grossing
  3. Main App Store screen
  4. Searching and looking at star ratings

Your typical user will do all of those except #1. And#4 is something that I would guess everyone does. I do that every time I do app round ups. Removing ratings leaves only two ways for users to discover apps — and developers are already having a tough time with discoverability.

Getting rid of star ratings would only make discoverability harder in the App Store as no one wants to read a bunch reviews and try to parse for themselves if the app is good or not.

There must be some kind of glance-able method for users to quickly determine if the app is good.

Here’s a few alternatives that might work, but that I haven’t fully thought out:

  1. Replace star ratings with a favorite/reccomend button. Have no mechanism other than a written review for not liking an app. Thus users can get a sense of how many people think the app is worth a favorite. This takes away the ambiguity of 1-5 and instead makes it: do you like it or not?
  2. No ratings, only written reviews. BUT each app gets a little badge showing how many users currently have the app installed. Therefore you can judge the popularity of an app by installed base. And thus deleting the app from your phone is voting for the app in dislike.
  3. Allow all ratings, but force users to show their real names as shown on their credit card which is linked to the account. Therefore you cannot rate as “angrymofo10”, you instead see your name next to your shitty review. This is obviously highly unlikely.
  4. Do this.

I vote for #4.

Star ratings can work and I would use Amazon as the prime example. I don’t take star ratings as gospel, but you cannot ignore a product with 500+ ratings that has a 4.5 star average.

There’s a problem in the App Store ratings and there always has been, but I don’t think getting rid of star ratings solves the problem.

Become a Member

This site is 100% member supported and free of advertising. Members receive access to exclusive weekly content: iPad Productivity Report, videos, and the best products listing.

Join Now

Already a member? Please sign in.

Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
2 minutes to read.


tl;dr

Peter Cohen: My preference is to get rid of the rating system all together. It’s too easy to abuse and provides no useful context to inform App Store customers. I’d love to see it abolished all together, because I don’t see a way to make it work. Marco Arment commenting on Cohen’s post: Eliminating the […]