I too hate it when Instagram and other apps continuously popup pleas for ratings. It's an interception of user experience, which makes it jarring, and it happens over and over again, whether I rate the app or not, which makes it intolerable. I understand completely John Gruber's feelings on Daring Fireball:
I’ve long considered a public campaign against this particular practice, wherein I’d encourage Daring Fireball readers, whenever they encounter these “Please rate this app” prompts, to go ahead and take the time to do it — but to rate the app with just one star and to leave a review along the lines of, “One star for annoying me with a prompt to review the app.”
However, developers' ability to feed their families can very literally rest on the difference between a 3 and a 4+ rating. In the inscrutable world of App Store rankings, ratings hold an enormous amount of power. Sadly, customers are most likely to rate an app when they're upset about something - negative sentiment is the most powerful motivators.
Also, apparently, thanks to auto-updates in iOS 7, the way Apple measures engagement metrics have changed. That means updates don't help developers rank higher or get as much attention (which can translate into downloads or sales) as before. I like Jim Dalrymple's take on The Loop:
There has to be a better solution from Apple to encourage users to rate apps that works for everyone. Users should rate apps and give feedback to the developers so they can make the app better for everyone.
Maybe there's more the media can do as well. Here's an idea: Right now, right this very second, please take a moment to go and rate your five favorite, most-used App Store apps. We'll figure out a way to unobtrusively encourage that regularly going forward. We all want more great apps and the only way to get them is to help make them successful.
Once you've rated your apps, please let me know which ones you rated below!