Reviews are an important part of the iPhone App Store. Since there is no way to download trial versions of software (other than with ‘lite’ versions), reviews are the only way to see what other people think without Googling or asking knowledgeable friends.
What they are not, however, is a good way to complain about bugs or mis-features. This, for example, is a review for Yummy Browser found in the New Zealand store:
Don’t like having to add password everytime app is open. Frustrating. Otherwise app is good but password thing is a bit of a deal breaker
Let me be clear here: I have no problem with people giving an honest review. If the author didn’t like it, that’s fine.
No, the problem is twofold. First, developers have no official way of reading reviews in all the various App Stores without actually going and visiting them. With dozens of stores where applications are for sale, this quickly becomes a very painful process and therefore one I do infrequently. The practical result of this is that the above review was posted nearly a month ago and I only noticed it yesterday. I prefer to provide much better support than this.
Secondly, this is not how Yummy (or Yummy Browser) is supposed to behave. What should happen is that it should ask once for your password and then again only if the saved password is invalid (i.e., you changed it). You may also get the login screen if it didn’t finish synchronising.
So it could be a bug or a misunderstanding of how Yummy is supposed to work. But the review system in the App Store gives me no way to correspond with the reviewer or reply to him. I can’t ask exactly what the problem is and without that I can’t fix it or document it better.
So, I have two requests for users of both Yummy and Yummy Browser.
First, if you have a problem with (or suggestion for) it, please use either the “Web feedback” or “Mail feedback” buttons in the About screen. (In general, the former is best for feature requests, the latter for bug reports.) This will enable us to have a direct dialogue if necessary. By all means post a review, but please don’t only post a review.
Secondly, if you see the same behaviour as described above please let me know. This is something that I would like to get to the bottom of if it is a real problem.
And finally, at the risk of appearing as if I can’t count, if you like Yummy please add a review to the App Store!