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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Respond to email from users that write bad review on app store?

A user sent me an email with a list of questions and problems he was having with my software.  I replied and started a conversation about the issues he was having. I find out now that even before he contacted me, he wrote a bad review on the app store.

Should I even bother continuing the discussion with him? I have not been able to replicate any of the "bugs" he mentions even though we are using almost exactly the same computer and environment. Other problems he has with the software are that it works differently than he is expecting it too. I have been selling the software for years now and never had a similar complaint about these features.

I guess the thing that really pisses me off is that he can bad mouth my software in an app store review without any rebuttal from me, but yet think that he will get the same level of professional email support from me that others do.  If he had actually wanted help with the problems he was having, he would have contacted me first. But instead he bad mouths my software to satisfy his own ego.

Yes, I'm probably taking this too seriously, but I've had similar cases with reviews in the app store before. Bad reviews lead directly to lower app store sales. And there's nothing a developer can do about it. We can try to fix any bugs and make things as easy as possible to use, but there's nothing we can do to prevent (for lack of a better word) crazy people from disrupting our business.

ps. sorry, just needed to vent a bit. Thanks for listening.
AnonToday Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
If you treat him with courtesy and respect, and resolve as many of his issues as is reasonable, maybe then you could then ask him to remove or amend his review?
Richie Hindle Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
I also agree with previous comment. You should keep continue with him and show respect of his view's and conversation and manipulate him mentally. You can be right that the person be of egoistic but anyhow he is your customer that have various questions for you. You should give more attention on his questions and find out the reason why he is saying the same.
aaron wallace Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
And don't forget you can get a friend to respond to his review on the store by saying something like "I don't know what Dimwit's problem is or why he can't get it working, but it works fine here and I love it... two thumbs up!"
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
Mel Brooks gave the best definition of a critic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_v_ubcYsTI
Wyatt O'Day Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
I sympathize. But if you are in the app store (I'm not) then I guess you just have to put up with idiots (or unethical competitors) publically trashing your hard work.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
Is this iPad/iPhone software?

Not to piss you off, but honestly, if I buy something for my iPad and it doesn't work (and this happens often enough), I don't bother trying to contact the publisher (unless I was REALLY motivated, which is not likely with this type of software).

I would assume they would brush me off, even for $19.99, let alone $.99. Even if they didn't, I am not very interested in screwing around with a vendor and having him tell me how he can't replicate my problem or giving me updates, someday, that might be worse.

I would just move on and try another product. I wouldn't bother writing a negative review, mostly because, their reviews are so useless I never look at them. (I think reviews on Amazon and TripAdvisor are useful, but AppStore, I never bother).
GregT Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
Off topic but why do SO many reviews on Android 'Play' say "Worked great until the update"


Why keep breaking things on updates?

And don't say you don't update - I only have around 20 apps on my phone and every single day at least 2 of them update the core program (not data or anything you'd expect to update)

I too have come to find the reviews useless as there's just so much of that 'broken since the update, would give 5 stars if it still worked' thing.

Just saying.. And I also uninstall apps that update too often.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
@Greg - It's desktop mac software at $40 (sale price). I would expect most people's reaction to be like yours: it doesn't work for them so forget it and try something else. Maybe $40 is too much for this guy to just forget about so he had to write his review. I should probably change to the non-sale price as the higher price keeps a lot of the idiots away without lowering revenue.

Like someone else mentioned, I'll probably end up purchasing it myself and writing my own review. People do read reviews and it does have an effect on sales and on apple's ranking algorithm.
AnonToday Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
Are you really certain that they are not experiencing any bugs ?

My users tend to quite savvy and some have made screencasts of the bugs they experience. It is very easy to do using the QuickTime Player - go to File menu and select New Screen Recording. They can either email or DropBox it to you.
koan Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
"nothing we can do to prevent ... crazy people from disrupting our business"
The automotive industry has an abnormally high percentage of crazy consumers.  Unhappy car owners will deface the vehicle they paid lots of money for with slogans that slam the manufacturer, picket in front of dealers, and display their incredible stupidity for everyone to see.  For anything online, whether it is software, mens pants or hotels in Cancun, if I see only positive reviews, I assume it is deliberately manipulated.

It's all about perceived trustworthiness.  Negative reviews by perceived lunatics make the product look better.  If you (as a vendor) want to accentuate the benefit from looney-tune critics, appear to be _reasonably_ lenient and understanding to make your critic look that much crazier.  Don't be overly accommodating, that makes you look as crazy as the critic.  Don't start a debate, and don't offer to do whatever it takes to  make your critic happy.  Don't try to denigrate the critic, that also makes you look bad.

It's a different thread, but the postcard idea is brilliant, and anything you can do to engage your critic offline and get away from the topic of his/her displeasure can only be positive.  Everyone is crazy to varying degrees, any skills you learn to turn down the temperature and defuse people who are acting out can be applied in lots of situations.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, August 09, 2013
You should ignore that you know about the review and treat him like you do anyone.

This guy is a paying customer, right?

Then show him great service. Fix his issues if you can. Be polite.

Don't mention the review or pressure him.

If you do right by him he'll probably remove the review. But if he doesn't, you've still fixed his issues.

This situation is a lot better than the bad reviewer who doesn't contact you! With this you have a chance to improve things.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, August 10, 2013
AC, it's not just Android that suffers "broken updates".  I've seen millions of such reviews for iPhone apps like that, too.  Even suffered it myself, where an app has changed so much from what I purchased that I don't even use it anymore.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Treat them well and fix their bugs if you can (unless they are a "crazy person"... usually best to ignore those...)

Often I have had customers change their Appstore review following a positive support interaction from me.
Nick Moore Send private email
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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