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Peer Reviews

For a long time I was unable to review other people’s apps because those 50 promo codes you get per version only work in the US store. But then somebody showed my a secret maneuver that allows anybody to get an iTunes account with access to the US store. (Mail me if you must know).

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get into the app reviewing business. I rather leave this to my friends, like Crazy Mike. But I see that there is a niche somewhere between the consumer-oriented review sites, the in-store iTunes reviews and the internal secrect review process inside of Apple. This niche is providing unbiased opinions of a fellow developer.

That’s something only somebody can provide who themselves keeps going through the long and painful development process. Those who not just develop apps, but also develop themselves.

Limitations for SubmissionThere is one thing that I cannot get out of my head, I have a memory of an Apple presentation that I cannot prove actually happened. This memory says that Apple announced the apps will be reviewed by peers in a fair manner. But such a peer review process was never established, most likely because of the sheer amount of new apps and updates that are going through those secretive hands at Apple. But wouldn’t that be much more useful to have developers review other developers’ work?

Steve Jobs only mentioned “Porn, Privacy, Bandwidth Hog, Malicious, Illegal and Unforeseen” as reasons to be rejected. Actually there are many more reasons that should keep apps out of the store  to prevent this current flood of Krapps. And some overdrawing reasons should be removed altogether to allow for competition to happen on a higher level.

While I’m at it I will also drop a comment in iTunes, as honest as I humanly can. These will be much less technical. A general problem seems to be that very few customers will actually send those few seconds to rate an app. Even less will write an opinion. On the other site you can easily imagine enterprising developers paying people to give them fake reviews so that they have a higher rank.

I was hoping to establish a Peer Reviewing Network where participating developers can trade promo codes and write their honest opinion on their own sites, just like I am doing here in this new category “Peer Reviews”. Still looking for blogging devs to partner on this one. The general idea looks like this:

  • Developer uploads a number of promo codes into an online database
  • In exchange he gets (at random) the same number of promo codes of other devs
  • He will download those free apps
  • He will peer review those apps, note technical innovation or tell if there are technical shortcomings
  • Then for each he will post his honest opinion on his blog and ping the database
  • Also he will rate and comment in-store at iTunes, optionally mark his review as [peer review]

The main advantage would be that you have a central place where you can offload a certain quota of those 50 promo codes you get per version and you can be certain that you will get some honest exposure around cyberspace. Also in this meritocracy that is iTunes if your app is really good then your peers will give it a much needed visibility boost for free.

I invite your comments.

Categories: Peer Review

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