I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Those annoying “Rate this app!” dialogs

From today’s Macworld article, When app makers behave badly:

Far too many apps seek your public praise with in-app alerts asking you to take a moment to review the app on the App Store. Of course, doing so interrupts your flow and would require that you exit the app completely. If I like an app enough—or dislike one enough—I’ll write a review without further prompting.

Actually, you probably won’t, but it doesn’t matter. More reviews and higher ratings1 can drive sales, but a highly satisfied customerbase drives a lot more.

When someone has spent $4.99 for my app, they’re entitled to a hassle-free experience. I wouldn’t feel right shoving a dialog box in their face a few days later asking for a time-consuming favor when they’re trying to read.

To me, once you’ve paid that $4.99, you get a first-class, luxury experience. I want you to feel great about having bought the app. And every time an update comes out that adds a bunch of features at no additional charge, I want you to feel like you can’t believe how much more value I’m giving you.

People who feel that great about having bought the app are the ones who tell their friends, or the internet public, to go buy it for themselves. And that’s far better for my sales than any App Store review will ever be. If you’re searching for the app by name because you heard it was great, you’re probably already going to buy it, and it doesn’t really matter what someone says below the screenshots.2

Creating more of those devoted customers by giving them a great product is a far better investment in your app’s future than annoying and interrupting them with a dialog that makes you appear cheap and desperate.

  1. I have to wonder how good the reviews tend to be when they were prompted by an annoyance. Do a lot of people really go leave positive reviews, who otherwise wouldn’t have done so, when they see these dialogs? ↩︎

  2. On the iPad 2’s launch day, due to an iTunes Connect glitch, there were no screenshots in Instapaper’s listing in the App Store, and the top few reviews were horrible because of a minor bug in the previous version. Yet it was one of my highest sales days ever, because even a $4.99 app with no screenshots and bad reviews is appealing if your iDevice-owning friend has been raving about it to you for months. ↩︎