App Reviews – finding them, trusting them Part 1

posted in: apps | 0

While I am reading about brain plasticity, I am still looking at apps and how to rate them.

I have recently read an article on how broken the Google Play app ratings are unreliable – they can be manipulated, abused, misunderstood and generally screwed around. The author of the article in question (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/shouldnt-trust-app-ratings-google-play/) gives numerous examples of how it can all go wrong. He is not alone in holding this opinion. Lifehacker has also a similar opinion -see http://lifehacker.com/why-you-shouldnt-trust-app-store-reviews-and-what-to-1515379780. Both articles have robust discussions via the comments section.

Initially, I found the article by MakeUseOf to be a bit more useful as it provides a link to another article that lists sources of more reliable opinions and ratings. This article (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-resources-android-app-reviews/) was written almost 3 years ago, so I thought a little research on the sites it recommends would in order.

All four sites are still in operation but not all are still producing reviews so here is a very quick review of the review sites.

1. http://www.lifeofandroid.com/android-app-reviews/This site has not published a review since Jan 2014. It uses an excellent summary box format and appears to leverage  a database format that is useful for dealing with a large number of structured entries. I say appears because none of the sorting scripts appears to work on any of my web browsers. Pity because it could have been a near perfect site for this purpose. andlife1
2. http://androinica.com/category/google-android-applications/Not obvious from the front page but it is using a blog format and has not been updated since April 2013. The list of entries mixes news and reviews, not a good strategy when you can’t separate them out. Not a particularly useful site in my opinion.
3. http://android.appstorm.net/category/reviews/Once again a blog format and nothing more recent than Dec 2013. You can sort the reviews by category by clicking on the small category link above each title. As noted above, the blog format is not a good one when dealing with a large number of data items.
4. http://www.androidtapp.com/This one has up-to-date content but once again in a blog format. The organisation of this site is all over the place with the categories not making much sense to me. Also it is tacky enough to put its readership figures on display – something I think smacks of insecurity and detracts from the site feeling authoritative. Not really a goer for me.

My comments about blog formats and reviews might seem a bit hypocritical seeing as I am writing reviews in a blog format. I think that for a large number of reviews, a database format is optimal. But if you write in a blog, you should at least tag articles so that people can filter items via tag selection.

kwezneutralsmall Kez says I need to go back to the old drawing board. She is right; this article needs a Part 2.