Negative Rating Bias in the App Store
November 9, 2009
Since MealBoard was released, I have gotten lots of positive feedback through email,
mostly saying how they like the app and a number of them offering suggestions to improve
it. I have been working on these suggestions and I'm happy to say that it will be out
by next month. Just a little more time and it should be ready.
Anyway, back to the main topic of this post. Looking at MealBoard's App Store ratings
through iTunes, I've found that it has gotten quite a number of 1-star ratings, and all
but one of these 1-star ratings did not come with
text reviews. Now, I have found out why the 1-star ratings. When users delete an app from
their iPhone (usually because they don't like it or it was not what they expected), they
get prompted to rate the app (they get prompted for a star rating only, without a text review).
I think this produces a bias towards low ratings. They're deleting the app because they don't
like it, and asking them to rate it at that moment will most likely produce a low rating.
As someone puts it, this is akin to asking people who just walked out in the middle of a movie
to rate the movie! I think this is unfair to developers and Apple needs to fix it. If they want
to prompt users to rate apps, they should do so randomly.
In the meantime, if you have bought and used MealBoard, I would very much appreciate if you
can spare a minute to rate the app (you may do it through iTunes or the App Store).
Doing so will help produce a true rating which is critical in helping sales and thus
support its further development.
Thanks to all.