Why you shouldn't trust App Store reviews

Why you shouldn
Highlights

Why You Shouldn't Trust App Store Reviews.App Reviews At Google Play And The ITunes App Store Are Pretty Broken.

App reviews at Google Play and the iTunes App Store are pretty broken. They can be helpful, but you have to sift through the tech support rants, device-specific complaints, and half-legible reviews first to find something useful. There are better ways to tell if an app is any good.
Why App Store Scores are bad
Too often people toss review scores out as the only measure of an app. In a perfect world, an app's score would be indicative of the objective quality of an app judged by people who have actually used the app in question. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.
"Well it's got terrible reviews at Google Play," isn't a fair critique of an app, especially compared to a real, hands-on review.
The problem with app reviews isn't just trolls one-starring apps, though. It goes a bit deeper than that:
App store ratings suffer from self-selection bias. This isn't a problem unique to app stores, but everywhere online: The people who leave reviews are usually the most vocal or people who have a positive incentive to do so.
In either case, their experiences don't offer an accurate picture of what most people-the people who don't like or hate an app enough to leave a review-experience when they use it.
PR companies and developers flood app stores with positive reviews before even launching their app. This is a huge issues with reviews, especially for new apps. Sometimes those upbeat, five-star reviews come later, but other times they're posted in the time between the app goes up in the app store and its official ‘launch’.
Competing developers urge users and friends to one-star competing apps to keep their reviews down. This doesn't happen too often, but it has happened-asking "friends and family" of one app to sabotage the ratings of another competing app isn't unheard of. At the very least, developers will have their own teams try to influence a competing app's ratings. Changes to the app store itself can kill review scores.
Not too long ago, Google introduced a new recommendation feature that suggests apps based on apps you have installed. It also lets you star that suggestion-making you think you're rating the suggestion and saying whether the app interests you.
In fact, you're rating the app itself, which-as many developers have seen, led to crashing ratings.
So we've established that app scores and reviews can be pretty useless if you don't take the time to separate the wheat from the chaff. If it's not an issue with the app store itself, the reviews themselves are at best highly specific and useful only to certain people or circumstances, and at worst spam or promotional campaigns designed to influence your opinion.
Of course, you can fight the tide by sifting through individual reviews to find the really good ones.

What To Read Instead
If app store reviews aren't terribly useful, what can you trust? You do have other options if you want to learn more about an app before downloading it. Here are a few useful options:
Read trustworthy, curated third-party reviews. Regardless of the type of phone you have, there are plenty of blogs that specialize in app reviews and ratings.
Check a developer's other apps and stick with quality developers. Both the iTunes App Store and Google Play both let you see other apps by the same developer if you're looking at the app page for one. Check the developer's other apps and see how well they're regarded.
You can check their reviews for general sentiment, but you'll do better if you look around for third party reviews and opinions about the developer and their work. If it's a developer behind other apps that you trust, that's a point in the app's favor.
Similarly, if you know a quality developer, stick to them and take note when they launch a new app.
Even if you're unfamiliar with the dev, see if they have a website or an easy way to get in touch with them. A serious dev will make their address available, and in the case of Android apps, they may even have a Google+ group you can join. See if they-or the app-has a presence on Twitter or Facebook.
In the case of some apps-especially free ones, or ones that fill in an important part of your life, like calendar apps, email clients, Twitter clients, or note-taking apps-you'll never really know if they're what you need until you actually try it out and use it for a while.
In those cases, don't hesitate to give them a try and form your own opinion. Paid apps (and free apps that hide their useful features behind in-app purchases), on the other hand, make it difficult to get a good feel for it before you can possibly get a refund (if at all), so tread carefully and use the tips above to decide whether it's worth your hard earned cash.

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