User Reviews for App Downloads


The importance of user-provided reviews is skyrocketing.

Brick and mortar stores have known this for years now, with sites like Yelp driving (or denying) local business based on the quality of the review.

Native apps also depend heavily on user reviews, both to determine the relevance of the app and to increase the quality of those apps. Most importantly, an app with a number of good user reviews is validated in the mind of a potential user, and can encourage them to download the app.

For that reason, it pays to request reviews for your app. Let your customers know that they can help you out, and make their app experience better overall, by leaving a review for your app in the App Store and Google Play.

A final word here. It’s totally fine to encourage positive reviews, in fact you should do so. However, do not demand high reviews in return for a deal or promotion. It doesn’t work, and it will likely cause issues for you in the app stores and among your customers.

Sued for Review

We’ve previously discussed the importance of mobile-local strategies. For many businesses, mobile channels are a primary driver of new business. Yelp, for instance, is a service that allows users to discover and discuss local businesses based on reviews by other users. The impact that these reviews have on businesses is already very significant. Because a bad review can literally stop the flow of income for a business, the reviews themselves, and the people who write them, draw the attention of both Yelp and the local businesses in addition to prospective new customers. This has resulted in real-world ramifications in some cases.

In January of this year, Forbes reported that a Virginia woman was sued for $750,000 for “Defamation of Character” based on a review she left on Yelp. In that specific case, the plaintiff and defendant were rumored to be former high school classmates, and the review left against the business levied some serious allegations in its own right, including accusations of theft and work left incomplete.

It is obvious how such a review can have a devastating impact on business, particularly those that deal in low volume, high cost contract work and the like. The flip side, of course, is that if the review is true it can save potential customers a major headache. The lesson here isn’t that reviews should be withheld, but rather that users should not write an exaggerated or damaging review without just cause. Also, if you are going to make serious accusations, it would probably be best to have some form of proof to back your claims.

Yelp has had to involve itself legally against some businesses as well. Recently, Yelp discovered a law firm that had employees create fake accounts to leave (fake) positive reviews on Yelp. In response, Yelp has filed suit against the firm for violating their terms of service. Now, this is an uncommon case (and one with further complications, such as the fact that that very law firm sued Yelp in small claims court for lost advertising money), but the precedent is clear.

These reviews are important, and it is the responsibility of both the users and the businesses to ensure their accuracy. Negative reviews can severely damage a business’s reputation, particularly among a mobile clientele, and may have legal consequences in the case of exaggerated or falsified content.