Strive for Immediate Positive Reviews

There is nothing like getting a good reference. Whether we realize it or not, we all tend to listen to what other people say about things and, in part, we base our buying decisions on what others have said. How many times have you asked a friend whether he or she liked a certain movie? If your friend told you the movie was terrible, chances are you would go to another movie. However, if you read a positive review online or in the paper from a so-called movie expert, you might be inclined to go anyway, regardless of your friend's experience. You may place more stock in what you read than what you have heard from your friend because you judge the movie critic to possibly be a better source of information. On the other hand, what if the movie critic gave another movie a thumbs down, but ten of your friends raved about it and said you must go see it. The chances are pretty good that you would go see the movie despite what the critic has said. In this case, you were probably swayed by what the majority said about the movie.

What about the last time you went out to dinner and asked for someone's advice on finding a good restaurant? Again, if this person raved about a certain place, you would most likely go and give it a try. Other people's opinions about a product or service make a difference for many app buyers. We want to trust what we hear and read about products. It makes us feel safer if we see that others have made a similar purchase and have good things to say about it.

You may be wondering whether reviews really matter for a $0.99 app, or a $2.99 app for that matter. If you are a game developer and trying to get a big win (see Chapter 1,"Your Android App Marketing Strategy: Grand Slam or Base Hits?"), then reviews aren't going to matter too much. Most impulse buys are done straight from the Android device, and buyers aren't going to the Android Market to read what people are saying. However, if your app is in the "steady wins" category (again, see Chapter 1), then reviews do matter. The buyer has more time to look at your app, read a few reviews, and get a general idea of what the majority of the people think about your app. A preponderance of good reviews makes a potential buyer feel good about the purchase. A preponderance of bad reviews is a cause for concern in a buyer's mind, and some will be inclined to look elsewhere for a similar app without the poor reviews.

However, can one really trust the customer reviews posted for each app? Well, yes and no. Google requires any reviews to be written by buyers of the app. The Android Market has definitely made the review process more democratic. However, many app developers would like the ability to respond to the review postings— something that Google has yet to allow on the Android Market.

If an app does not show any reviews, it means one of two things: either the app has just been posted (or an update has just been released) and it's too early for any reviews to be posted, or the app has languished with no buyers and has not received any reviews. An app that is selling extremely well will generally have many reviews (in the hundreds or sometimes thousands).

If you don't have any reviews yet, you can use some of your free Android Market promotion codes to give to friends to download your app and post a review for you. Ask them to give an honest assessment of the app and post some credible comments. If you've written a great app, you will get some great comments. Glowing reviews that go over the top to point out how good the app is are suspect. A lot of readers can tell whether or not such reviews are authentic. Obviously, having some customer reviews is better than none. Sometimes you have to get things moving along, and having a few family members and friends comment on your app can be helpful as long as they have used the app and are completely honest in their comments.

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