What if Apple Got Rid of Star Ratings?

I may be overlooking something that would make this a terrible idea, but it’s something I haven’t heard anywhere else: what if Apple got rid of star ratings for in app reviews? The reason those “rate this app” dialogs are so popular isn’t because app developers hate their users, it’s because the way apps are rated is flawed and many developers feel it’s the only way for them to level the playing field. Without solving the reason developers use them in the first place, there’s no way they’re going away. I agree with Marco’s statement that those dialogs are annoying spam, but that app reviews should not be eliminated completely. Without a way to try an app before purchasing, getting rid of app reviews entirely doesn’t make any sense. The 1-5 star rating part of reviews though? Kill it and leave these options for reviews:

  • The ability to leave a written review with a title and subject.
  • The ability to mark other reviews useful or not.

You could still leave a useless review, but it’s possible to make those have less impact than they do now. Apple could display reviews in the order of most useful, weighted towards the recency of the review, and the dates users marked it useful. If a review was marked useful many times for something that was fixed in an update, that review would get pushed down over time. Useless reviews would still exist, but hopefully thoughtful and concise concise ones would bubble to the top and bury them.