Interesting quote from the appbot blog:

97% of Google Play reviews go unanswered! What better way to turn 1 star app reviews into 5 star reviews, get valuable feedback and make a user happy than to actually reply to them and solve their issue?

I keep hearing that the ability to respond to reviews is one of the pieces that needs to be fixed in the iTunes App Store (for iOS), and I still buy that the ability to reply would be wonderful, but that's a heck of a number.

Why might it be so low?

  1. Face it, tons of apps are abandoned.
  2. If you reply to half of the reviews, you're well above average.
    • That is, even The Good Ones aren't offsetting the empties that quickly.
  3. Good reviews probably don't need answering.
    • I know I get tired of, "Thanks!" replies in comments.
  4. Replying to reviews takes time.

It's that last one that I wonder most about. Even the most adamant iOS indie developers probably aren't going to reply nearly as often as they believe they would. They might reply when they see something they feel is insanely unfair -- replying could be an effective way to vent, and, if composed carefully, the vent could be productive -- but I doubt it'll be used as often as folks believe.

I still think it's important to be able to reply, however. When I'm eyeballing a three star app, and am about to tank the purchase, my mind could be easily swayed by a developer that's engaged and can explain why, eg, what appeared to be a bug wasn't. Simple engagement, a "proof of life", almost, would go a long ways, if the replies are carefully written.

Still, 97%? Ouch. Abandonware.

Speaking of abandonware... I think I started an abandonware post mortem for BlogGo a while back. Will probably do one for WorkBurst too. It seems like these two folks did everything right, yet their well-marketed apps seem to have tanked. Why?

I mean, anything showing an "introductory price" nearly two years after its last update, and with only five reviews of that version, is probably D-E-D dead.

Not so limited an introductory price

The fate of these apps is both kind of sad -- and scary -- to possible app developers. I'll talk more later with abandonware post mortems, but, to tie it into today, I'm not sure either app producer would spend a lot of time replying to negative reviews today, even if they could.

Still, 97%? Wow.

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