Friday, 13 April 2018

Google play ratings are broken

Google play is undoubtedly the largest market for android apps , while Google has made relatively easy for anyone to publish their app the rating system is kind of broken.

Publishing your app


After you publish the app and is available in the store nobody is installing it because is not visible as play store has a ranking system based on different variables like : size, SEO, Ratings and others... those are important but the most important is the rating the app is receiving by the users.

The impact of rating


"The quest of 5 star ratings begins"

Users avoid apps with poor or no rating , plus the number of installs an app has makes it more likely to be installed : the more the merrier. You might think : "Why is this a problem?" well think that an app when published has no ratings or installs that makes getting users very difficult as the store puts the app way below other apps with better ratings and installs.
So you get to the point where your app is "available" but almost nobody installs it, you can get friends and family to install it and give ratings and the app becomes more visible and more people start to use it.
But the process is SLOW and as a dev probably you do it for a living , so you use adwords to get more users : people start to install the app and the visibility is improved to the point you have a fair number of organic installs, Things got well till now.
Till one day you start getting 1 star ratings with NO FEEDBACK and all your effort is wasted... This can happen for 3 reasons :
  • Users are not happy with the app
  • User expected the app to be something else
  • Sabotage

Enter the world of PAYED RATINGS


"You can pay for ratings , it happens a lot!"

While Google can remove ratings of 4 and 5 stars coming from countries that provide payed ratings services , they DON'T REMOVE the bad ones! That makes you vulnerable to get bad ratings and kind of makes devs to pay for ratings to have their app being available to more users.

"Bad ratings are staying there forever to haunt you"

Google should make some changes to the app rating system :


  • Feedback should be mandatory
  • Bad ratings should be reviewed like the good ones
  • Instead of a "submit" in the rating form should have a "liked" if given 4 or 5 stars and "disliked" in all other cases.
  • When a bad rating is given the user should be provided with the option of contacting the developer about the issue instead of rating the app

"The 1 star rating bullying is real"

There are solutions and i hope that one day the rating bullying will stop and all devs will have equal opportunities in the play store.
What do you think about the play store rating system?

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