Why developers beg for App Store ratings

"Rate this app!" popup requesters — you might know them from such popular apps as Instagram or Google+ — have been the subject of a lot of controversy lately. Some think they serve no customer-centric purpose and have no place in any app ever, others that they're the only way for developers to survive in the ratings-centric App Store, and still others that there's a middle ground where customer attention and developer sustainability can meet and find balance. Longtime NeXT, OS X, and iOS developer Wil Shipley has a thoughtful take on the matter in The Loop Magazine:

Small OS X and iOS software companies live and die by their App Store ratings. If an app is rated one star, nobody will look at it or buy it. If it's rated five stars, the company will make a decent living.

This system seems fair and good, but there are three big problems with the current rating system. The first is that Apple hasn't built bug reporting into the App Stores, so customers use one-star ratings as a way of reporting bugs.

Give it a read and let me know what you think — should all "Rate this app!" dialogs burn in the fires of Mount Doom, or — given that App Store ratings are broken — can they be done in a way that lets you help developers make better and more apps?