Saturday, May 30, 2015

The 5 Rating Minimum and Releasing to the App Store

Here is a screen capture of my app TV Towers USA as it looked in the iOS App Store on May 2, 2015:
May 2, 2015 (or so)
And here is what it looks like today (May 30, 2015):
May 30, 2015
Notice that the current version has no stars. Why, because on May 3rd I released a much overdue update which included bug fixes and updates to the database. Which means the new version has only one review, which means that potential customers can't tell at a glance that it's a decent product (lifetime rating average 4.58). Which means sales drop. April sales were $7.79/day, whereas since the update, they have been $4.70/day. (Obviously, I'm not quitting my day job for this product, either way.) 

The app gets a review every month or so, so it will be Autumn before I accumulate the 5 ratings needed to get my rating display back, and then it will be time for another update.

I don't understand how some apps accumulate thousands of reviews. It's true that I've avoided fame and fortune, but my niche apps are almost always well liked by the folks who purchase them. The problem is that only one person in a hundred will write a review, and small apps that are responsibly updated suffer for it, or allow people who post phony reviews to benefit. 

I was interviewing for a job last year, down in Cambridge, and one of the engineers looked over at me and asked suspiciously how I'd managed to get a perfect 5 for 5 for 5 users rating on the then current TV Towers.  The hard way, apparently.