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Software Reviews. Who writes this stuff?

I was looking through the app store tonight browsing software reviews and the people who write them. I'm the type of person that typically doesn't email support and I don't write negative reviews in the Mac App Store. I will give a nod with the star rating system, and the Yes/No of The Was this Review helpful? That's usually about the end of it.

Sample 1 star review from a 5 star app, Clear.

Sample 1 star review from a 5 star app, Clear.

Some people just don't understand how the Mac App Store works. If you have a bug in your software, you have to submit for review To Apple the update for it. This isn't instantaneous - and can take a week or two - or more. It's out of your hands - and in Apple's. For example, if your app has a Printing bug that you missed, you can't just issue an update and get it out to the masses immediately like you can if you are selling direct. It's even trickier if you continue to sell direct and also in the Mac App Store. You can quickly issue your bugfix for the folks that purchased direct from you, but that leaves the Mac App Store folks waiting. And they aren't always patient. Instead of a quick support email, they would wrather write "This is crap. Apple needs to stop letting this junk in the store.". That's certainly helpful, right? Informative too.

I'd like the app store to add some additional criteria for submission.

I think it would benefit from Additional questions:

  • Did you request support from the Developer?
  • Are you using the latest version. (The app store should make sure you are before even permitting a review).

I'd say out of the 100 reviews I read tonight, I can (IMO) reasonably deduce who asked and who didn't without much error. Red flag #1 - If you wrote a paragraph or more - you possibly wrote an email to the Developer. If you write 1-2 sentences, And included the words Crap, Junk, Horrible, Frustrating, %$@#@, etc then you didn't Email the developer.

This affects the livelyhood of developers - bad reviews can equal lost sales. Developers are human - they miss things. Until you get your software working on hundreds or thousands of machines and scenarios, some bugs just don't show themselves. No software is perfect - it all has bugs. ALL of it. Perhaps you just haven't discovered them yet. When you do, email the developer, ask for a workaround and a timeframe for when it may possibly be fixed. Each app in the app store has a link to the developers website. Please use it. At the very least it will make the reviews more helpful and applicable for the folks that want To read it to make a decision to purchase an app.

If you don't hear back from the developer and their app really is junk, Feel free to review it, but just writing Junk with a one star doesn't make me do anything other than click the No when I'm asked Was this review helpful?