Category Archives: Opinion

Where else do people expect refunds?

I saw this review today on the App Store:

I like point and click games but this is painfully slow and not intuitively designed. The puzzle sections are not at all challenging and even that interesting. The graphics are pleasant but there is not that ‘wow’ factor. I really wish I could get a refund.

It was the last sentence that got me.

Why is is that you see people frequently wanting refunds on the App Store?

Didn’t like that “must see” new film at the cinema – ask for a refund.

Didn’t like that beer you just bought – ask for a refund.

Didn’t enjoy that magazine you just bought – ask for a refund.

Didn’t enjoy that album you just downloaded – ask for a refund.

And there’s plenty more I could think of. We don’t expect people to feel entitled to a refund in other situations, but over and over on the App Store this “I want a refund” attitude rears its ugly head.

If an app does not deliver promised functionality then you should be entitled to a refund, but not because you don’t like something.

Scotland’s big day today

I’m so excited by what is happening in Scotland today and I wish I could vote so that I could put a bold tick in the YES box!

It would be so wonderful if the Scots turned their backs, not on the English, but on our corrupt, money grabbing, warmongering, austerity obsessed government and forged a bold new chance to a better, healthier, balanced and democratic future. I hope that they don’t fall for the promises that the government will give Scotland new goodies if only they vote No – Westminster doesn’t have a good record on keeping their word and the Scots will never be given a second chance.

Yes Scotland

Empty design

There’s a strange trend in apps at the moment and it’s exemplified by having almost no interface. I suppose Clear is perhaps the obvious example but others are appearing too. I often read reviews of apps, possibly written by 15 year olds who want “the latest thing” and get really excited about minimalist interfaces as they’re “cool” and those posters on Apple focussed websites who announce their boredom with the “tired Apple interface” and warn us that they will be switching to Android because it’s more up-to-date.

A company producing themes for developers to incorporate into their own apps now has a theme called “Metro” which looks remarkably like the interface on the new Windows phone. So, you can have your iOS app look like a Windows phone app. Maybe someone will bring out a Windows mobile theme that makes it look like iOS! Who knows where it will all lead.

It’s odd. The idea that an OS is useable and clear and is being refined with each release is not enough. It’s old. It’s familiar and it’s got buttons with text to indicate their function. So … let’s change it so we have to start all over again. The trend seems to be for apps where actions are initiated by swipes, pinches, flicks and the like. Gestures as interface are all very well but the major problem as I see it is that what if my idea for the result of a flick or swipe is different to yours? We will end up with three apps, say, where a swipe does different things in each. It will be like when I started coding way back in the 80s when the three main apps I used on CPM all had totally different interfaces and the commands to, say, exit the application were different in each app. That was fun.

The best take on this I’ve seen so far comes from the makers of the very handy Camera+ app and made me chuckle very loudly indeed. Have a read

An offer to fake my App Store reviews!!

Now, I’m not a naive man, but even I was taken aback and I have to say, affronted, by the email I received today. My latest app has been on the store for just three days and today I received the following email:

Hi,

  I am a private contractor and I would like to present you an offer regarding Rating & Reviewing service. It is no longer a secret that apps have more chances of being purchased if they have positive feedback. That is why I’m sure my service will help you improve your sales after you choose one of the following packages.

    3 ratings (votes)  and  2  reviews –  9 USD

   5  ratings (votes)  and  3  reviews – 14 USD

  10 ratings (votes)  and  5  reviews – 24 USD

  20 ratings (votes)  and 10 reviews – 39 USD

  30 ratings (votes)  and 20 reviews – 65 USD

 

We can negotiate other packages too, of course.

Just let me know if you have any questions. Payment is made via PayPal.

I don’t need the payment up-front, only after the service so there is absolutely no need for you to worry.

  

Kind regards

Mark

I was, and am, gobsmacked! This is my first chargeable app (Bargain is free) and I get this. Can I expect others? Can I expect bad reviews (which I imagine I won’t have to pay for) if I refuse his offer?

He says “It is no longer a secret that apps have more chances of being purchased if they have positive feedback.” – well, it was never a ‘secret’. Any company would be very happy to receive endorsements from satisfied customers, but what would they feel about taking this approach? I would love to see some, ideally positive, reviews for my apps but I want them from real customers who have actually downloaded my apps. I could not sleep at night knowing that I’d paid $65 to have 20 reviews for my apps – it goes against everything I believe.

It certainly makes me think about what I’ve read on the app store over the years about some very odd app reviews that are either a grammatical nightmare, offer no supporting evidence or are so minimalist it’s hard to wonder what value they are to anyone – these are negative as well as positive ‘reviews’. Are there companies offering to “bad mouth” other competing products for a similar fee? It really is quite shocking when you think the whole thing through. As there is no “Try Before You Buy” on the app Store you, just like me, will rely on magazines and reviews on the App Store to guide your choice.

I will make it very clear right here: I will never accept offers and certainly no payment to have my apps “reviewed” or “rated”. Any app reviews or ratings appearing against my apps on the App Store will have been provided by customers who have actually downloaded the app in question and felt moved to comment.

Right – I’ll go and sit down and calm myself now…

Some people really are so ungrateful!

I’m sorry but I just had to comment on some people’s attitude to Apple’s “12 Days of Christmas”.

Apple, out of the goodness of Steve’s or the company’s collective heart, or perhaps a desire for a little soft-edged PR, have made an item on the iTunes store free for a day over each of the 12 days of Christmas. I came a little late to the party, but some of the things available for free download were:

  • Broken Sword for iPad (I’d already bought it and really enjoyed it)
  • Charlie Chaplin’s classic film “Modern Times”
  • Mirror’s Edge game by Electronic Arts
  • An EP by Michael Bublé
  • A song and video by the Kings of Leon
  • … and seven more.

Who could complain about 12 free items from iTunes? Well, apparently quite a lot of people (all of the comments below are from actual reviews – atrocious spelling is original – of items available for free in the 12 Days of Christmas):

“My iPhone 3GS cost me £400. My iPhone 4 cost me £500. My iPod touch cost me £200. My MacBook Pro cost me £1200. So if Charlie Chaplin is the best present you can reward me with for my loyalty then I’d rather you didn’t bother.”

“Who wants to watch this bull?!”

“Give us a decent app tht we want, give us 1 of the top grossing not 1 of the prices of crap tht u can’t sell so u give it away for free give us something like backbreaker2 or other games or movies ect….,tht we actually want !! (were is ur christmas spirt) so plzz give us wht we want and by tht I don’t mean a dam holy book tht I’ve never seen before like on day 4 I think :).” (A strange mix of appalling spelling and yet getting the apostrophes in the correct place!)

“How about giving a descent film ituns”

“What the hell is wrong with u? Why the hell would i want this? Cater 2 us young ppl! Not the sadults…happy new year!!!”

“Better gifts please Apple”

“On the sixth day iTunes gave me this Sh*t.”

“All of the stuff on the 12 days of Christmas is really rubbish the only thing that wasn’t to bad was the Cheryl cole single. The stuff really needs to improve.”

and finally

“OMFG ITUNES WE PAY YOU FOR SONGS, VIDEOS, RINGTONES etc AND UR FANX IS THIS CRAP 12 DAYS OF XMAS.. APPLE USE CHEAP SCATES”

What is extraordinary, apart from the deplorable state of the grammar and spelling, in these ‘reviews’ is the sheer nastiness of some people. Some, especially the person listing their expenditure on Apple products, feel a sense that they are entitled to something that they want. The idea that Apple, or any company, offers a product for sale and you decide to complete the transaction by choosing to buy at the stated price is clearly not enough. These people feel that they must have more of just what they want and for free.

I’m sure if next year Apple decided that they would no longer run the 12 Days promotion, then these same ungrateful people would be saying that now Apple were really “CHEAP SCATES”.

The bigger issue of course is that these people probably have a desperate sense of entitlement to whatever they want in other areas of their life too …

Happy New Year.