The new rate-on-delete popup in iPhone OS 2.2 has already destroyed the average for Instapaper Free.
Before 2.2, it was a solid 4.5-star average (the same as Instapaper Pro). Since then, very few written reviews in the App Store have been added (about 10 of the 180 total in the U.S. store). And if you look at the written reviews (sort by Most Recent), they’re overwhelmingly positive, with very few lower than 5 stars.
Now, the average for Instapaper Free is 3 stars, and since it was pulled down so significantly and so quickly after this change, I expect it to go lower.
I wouldn’t be complaining if this were an accurate reflection of people’s usage and opinion. But it’s not. I estimate that the number of delete-ratings to affect it so far has been in the low hundreds. But thousands of people use Instapaper Free every day, as measured by the server-side update API. If they’re using it every day, they’d probably rate it higher than 3 stars. If even a small portion of them rated the app, they’d dramatically overpower the low average set by the deleters.
We really need a corresponding rating dialog on positive experiences. This is going to destroy too many good apps’ averages.