Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1 Star Rating with Unhelpful Comments

This is a bit (a lot) of a rant so you have been forewarned.

My rant is about people who leave 1 star ratings with unhelpful or untrue comments without attempting to contact the developer. I have noticed this on other peoples apps but have only recently started receiving them. I generally try to ignore them as the comments don't provide anything to work from and I have no way to contact the author for clarification. However a couple of days ago I received a comment from a chap named Paul that went past the stage of ignoring. Apparently Paul has commented on my am that it "Has to be the worst support for a application ever". The problem is Paul has never actually contacted me for support. He even went to the effort to purchase my donate version so he can make the same claims there as well!

Well Paul here are some facts for you, I spend more than an hour a day on average answering clients support emails for an application that is free. That's everyday Paul, every single day. It doesn't matter where I am, at work, dinning out, shopping, I will answer a support email as soon as I see the flashing icon on my phone. Sometimes there may be a lag if I've got a back log or am swamped but I get to each email as quickly as possible. To me they are of the highest priority because there is somebody out there being inconvenienced by something I created. Although you wouldn't know it Paul because you never contacted me.

I admit there are times where I cannot fix the problem on some clients phones. In which case I am continually email them back trying different solutions or asking more questions. Sometimes they get frustrated and stop emailing back which, while I wish they'd continued with support a little while longer, I completely understand if they choose to leave a low rating. What I don't like nor understand is for people to make unhelpful or snide comments with 1 star ratings who have never bothered to seek support.

I put the Virgin Usage Meter on the market for free because I want people to have access to the functionality it provides. It allows me to give to the community which makes me feel good about myself and my work. The problem is when people like Paul leave 1 star ratings with bullshit messages they start to remove that good feeling. If there is no good feeling then I have to ask myself why do I bother at all. Luckly there are many many more people who have left kind and encouraging comments or emails which make that question rather rhetorical. Though the fact I have asked myself that question at all is the most maddening part.

The point of all this is, we as developers pour hours into these apps to give you the functionality you need. All we ask in return is you to show us a bit of decency and let us help you if you're having trouble using our apps. It makes for a much happier ending!


  1. Paul is obviously short for Paul-I-can't-be-arsed-to-use-things-properly-oh-and-i-have-no-brain.

  2. Na, Paul is just one of a handful of people who don't understand or care what goes into producing an app.