Dead Before Launch - App Store ratings are broken.
This is a Guest Post by Ranjit K, Co-Founder of AskDesis.
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The Soft Launch
We soft launched AskDesis in Q3-2019. The app is mainly aimed at connecting Indians in the USA who are looking for things like, 'Finding Roommates', 'Indian Homemade Food', etc. A typical day on the app looks like this ...
AskDesis ONLY shows you posts from within 50 miles of your current location - that too only on categories you choose. Most of us spend 80% of our time within a 50 mile radius. So why not encourage better interactions (social/buy/sell) within our neighborhoods. Unlike Facebook/WhatsApp groups, AskDesis is designed to be 'low-noise'. In other words, you don't get drowned in a constant stream of unrelated posts.
Although the AskDesis app is available worldwide, we are currently most active in Boston (MA). Boston is where I stay and we have an incredible community that has been using AskDesis and giving us first-hand feedback. The Boston 50-mile circle has been operating smoothly for a few weeks now. Our next task is to do a public launch (HN, Producthunt, IndieHackers, PR, etc).
Here's where we feel crushed ...
Let's say we launch on HN and you follow the link to the iOS App Store. Here's what you will see ...
... seriously ... 2.6 rating??? You most probably will assume, 'this app is shit' and move on. The iOS App Store has only 5 ratings and 4 reviews. Here they are ...
There are two 1-Star reviews. The first one gave us 1-Star because they did not want to share their location. I guess they didn't even bother to know that AskDesis is a location based app and NEEDS your location to work.
The other person who gave us a 1-Star had an issue with Facebook login. This was a genuine issue from the earliest version of the app and was solved within an hour. But we're stuck with this rating forever.
The two 5-Star reviews were from well meaning friends who made a vain effort to boost our rating. Thank you guys.
But overall, our app is still rated 2.6. That's an abysmal score for anyone to be convinced to download and at least tryout our app.
Android reviews are even more unreasonable and scathing. Once you ask for feedback or more details, there is radio silence. We stopped bothering about Android reviews.
We are now in a situation where we have to call up friends and ask them to leave a 5-Star rating.
What if app delivery platforms (iOS App Store and Play Store) hid the actual rating till the first 100 ratings. Can this be a solution?
Whatever the future solution might be, looks like we are currently dead before launch :(