In September 2008, Apple changed its policy regarding the submission of reviews on the App Store: only legitimate customers, i.e. people who’d installed the app in question, would be allowed to leave reviews for it.
Our own Peter Cohen suggested shortly thereafter that although that was a great move in and of itself, Apple should have ideally kicked it up a notch and deleted all reviews from the App Store, starting from square one. The idea was to get rid of all those junk reviews complaining about the price of applications which invariably came from people who’d never even used them in the first place.
It’s five months later now and it appears Apple has finally acted upon Peter’s suggestion—or maybe it was an irate phone call from Jobs after he’d read a particularly nasty review of the Keynote Remote [iTunes link] app that prompted the company to pull the switch. Although Apple did not drop the axe on all existing reviews on the App Store, it has reportedly gotten rid of all reviews submitted by non-customers, effectively cleaning out the junk while leaving the genuine reviews in place. Apple, however, did not respond to a request for comment.
As a result, most application developers are now finding themselves with significantly fewer total reviews for their applications but higher average ratings; I doubt most of them will find this a reason to complain. Doesn’t it give you a fuzzy, happy feeling every time you see Apple do something based on user/developer feedback? Sure does to me.