Pilot program starts for Windows Phone developers responding to app reviews

Microsoft has started a small pilot program which will give a few Windows Phone app developers a way to directly respond to reviews made by the users of their apps in the Windows Phone Store.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that the developers who will participate in this program have already been picked.  They will be able to go to the Dev Center website and post a response to any reviews made by people who have written one in the Windows Phone Store. Once such a response has been posted, the person who created the original review will receive an email from Microsoft alerting them to the feedback.

The review feedback pilot program will be restricted at first to Windows Phone 8.1 apps as well as Windows Phone 8.0 apps in the U.S. The blog states:

This capability is designed to help you maintain closer contact with users to inform them of new features, bugs you’ve addressed, as well as get feedback and ideas to improve your app. This capability is not to be used for marketing and does not provide you as the developer with the user’s personal information, such as an email address.

Microsoft will revoke a developer's access to the Dev Center if it gets word that he or she is misusing the review feedback feature. If the pilot is deemed successful, it will be expanded to other Windows Phone app developers in May

Source: Microsoft

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Excellent news! I have been waiting for a feature like this for some time. As a developer, it is too much to hope that people actually email me with details about the problems they post in their reviews. This should help greatly.

Good to see. I know of a few developers who post reviews of their own apps in an attempt to respond to criticisms, but in the process they skew the app's ratings by constantly rating it 5 stars.

I'd also like to see reviews tied to app versions. I've made a few negative reviews of WP apps that were for older versions and weren't particularly good, though the developers made massive improvements and yet my negative review still sits there against the latest version (Below my updated review).

You can see this today in the Windows app store too. A lot of negative reviews for games like Microsoft Minesweeper are whinging about issues that have long since been resolved, yet they remain promoted reviews.

I hope this expands from phones and comes for the Windows Store as well. I have had some reviews that tell me they found an issue but don't say what it is and do not email me with details about it. This could be very helpful.

Yeah, this can be great if the developers are professional about it.

App reviews, although sometimes unfair, are a good way to know what's wrong with the app and what could be improved.

If a developer actively responds to reviews, then the quality of an app can only go up.