Is it just me, or are you also getting tired of all of the application “reviews” on the App Store that say nothing more than “first post”, ask “who would want this”, complain about the price, or offer some other in-depth opinion of an application… that they don’t even own.
I’m especially fond of the “reviews” that complain about features and point you to some other application, often free, that supposedly does the same thing… when it’s obvious they haven’t used either one, and as such have no way of knowing that app B is actually and in fact a true replacement for app A. Who cares? It’s free.
Personally, I think you could increase the quality of the reviews considerably if you limited the ability to review an application to those customers who have actually purchased, downloaded, and installed the application in question.
Another issue relates to the current mess with Electronic Arts, Spore, DRM, and Amazon.
Apparently a bunch of clowns have decided to protest EA’s use of DRM in their latest game by “review bombing” Spore on Amazon. Thousands of people have rated the game with a single star or left a review that simply complained about the DRM.
And we can all guess as to how many of them own a legitimate copy of the game, can’t we?
Worse, try finding a genuine review in the midst of all of that noise. It’s next to impossible.
Limiting reviews to owners can also help prevent shady developers from organizing similar attacks on competing applications. After all, how many people are going to pay for an application just so they can give it a bad name?
Some may, certainly. But it’s equally certain that if there’s money on the line the number will be far fewer.
It would even help to a certain degree with “free” applications. Having to purchase, download, and install an application might be enough of a hassle to discourage most frivolous and vacuous “first post” reviews.
Only allowing customers to leave reviews isn’t perfect, of course.
Another option would be to clearly state that posting fraudulent or inappropriate reviews could result in App Store privileges being revoked or suspended, and rely on the existing “Report a concern” methodology to find them. In fact, other than the suspension that’s kind of what’s being done now.
But with thousands of iPhone applications and with millions of iPhone owners being added monthly, such an approach seems akin to playing whack-a-mole. Particularly when no significant penalty is involved to prevent such abuse.
Either way, something needs to be done.
Otherwise, we’re going to remain stuck with thousands of knowledgeable reviews that begin, “I haven’t used this application, but….”