Windows Phone Devs Get Chance to Respond to Reviews

A pilot program gives developers the chance to improve their apps' ratings.

Have you, as a developer, ever wanted to respond to a scathing review of your mobile app? Would you love the chance to explain why the reviewer didn't understand something, missed functionality, or even made a point that you agreed with?

If the answer is yes, relief may be coming your way, as Windows Phone developers can now respond to reviews of their apps as part of a recently launched pilot program.

The company is starting out with a limited number of select developers in the program and expects to gradually increase participation starting next month if it goes well, said Bernardo Zamora in a blog post last week.

Google already lets Android developers respond to reviews of their apps in the Google Play store. On the iOS developer side, Apple, despite numerous entreaties from developers and industry observers, does not.

Zamora noted that this new program was announced at the Microsoft Build conference earlier this month.

"Another new feature we're adding gives you more control over the user ratings that can make or break your app," said Microsoft's Todd Brix at that time. "For years you've been telling us that you want the ability to reach out to a user who posted a comment or question in a review. Often you can assist or educate the user to improve the experience and hopefully improve your rating in the process."

A sample Windows Phone app review
[Click on image for larger view.] A Sample Windows Phone App Review
(source: Microsoft Windows blog post)

For now, Zamora said last week, developers will be able to respond to reviews posted from Windows 8.1 devices globally or from any Windows Phone device in the United States.

Developers can respond to reviews of Windows Phone apps directly from the Windows Phone Dev Center, Zamora said. After developers respond to a review, users will receive the comment via e-mail from Microsoft and will be able to contact developers directly if the coders include their support e-mail address in the app submission metadata.

"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," Zamora said. "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 e-mail address."

One reader asked in the comment section of Zamora's post if developers would be able to report malicious or inaccurate reviews to Microsoft. Zamora replied that developers could open a support ticket to report such reviews, but he believed reviews were removed by Microsoft only under rare circumstances, such as the use of profanity.

Developers need do nothing to participate, he said. "As we scale, your developer account will automatically be enrolled in the program and you will be informed via e-mail," Zamora concluded. "We'll also use this blog to update you on progress."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

comments powered by Disqus


  • ML.NET Improves Object Detection

    Microsoft improved the object detection capabilities of its ML.NET machine learning framework for .NET developers, adding the ability to train custom models with Model Builder in Visual Studio.

  • More Improvements for VS Code's New Python Language Server

    Microsoft announced more improvements for the new Python language server for Visual Studio Code, Pylance, specializing in rich type information.

  • Death of the Dev Machine?

    Here's a takeaway from this week's Ignite 2020 event: An advanced Azure cloud portends the death of the traditional, high-powered dev machine packed with computing, memory and storage components.

  • COVID-19 Is Ignite 2020's Elephant in the Room: 'Frankly, It Sucks'

    As in all things of our new reality, there was no escaping the drastic changes in routine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during Microsoft's big Ignite 2020 developer/IT pro conference, this week shifted to an online-only event after drawing tens of thousands of in-person attendees in years past.

  • Visual Studio 2019 v16.8 Preview Update Adds Codespaces

    To coincide with the Microsoft Ignite 2020 IT pro/developer event, the Visual Studio dev team shipped a new update, Visual Studio 2019 v16.8 Preview 3.1, with the main attraction being support for cloud-hosted Codespaces, now in a limited beta.

Upcoming Events