The Importance of Reviews in the App Store (Clifford Ribaudo Interview)

Reviews… are they really important? nah… nobody cares about reviews in the App store right? Wake up! If you missed my awesome 2nd podcast with Clifford Ribaudo from Asking Point... then this is the awesome transcription, so you can get all the gooooodness and wisdom of this very smart entrepreneur. Clifford is the creator of a very cool solution for apptrepreneurs that helps to answer one clear question: what the heck people do with your app.


Gabriel:           Hey, guys.  Welcome to the second show of the App Store Optimization podcast.  My name is Gabriel Machuret from  In this show I’m going to be talking with Clifford Ribaudo and Clifford Ribaudo is the creator or the brains behind Asking Point.   Asking Point is mainly a series of tools that is going to allow you as an app developer to understand a little bit more what your users are doing with your apps.

The reason why I find it interesting, this interview with Clifford, is because in the last few weeks I’ve been talking to a few developers and it’s kind of interesting how many developers are ignorant regarding what’s going on once people download their app.  In this whole idea of app store optimization understanding how your market works, how your users behave is absolutely vital.

askingpointappIn this whole conversation with Clifford we’re going to be talking about understanding your audience or your users and we also go a bit in depth with the point of reviews.  As we all know, reviews are one of the things that are a must in app store optimization.  Especially when you’re just starting, especially when you launch your app getting bad reviews can literally destroy the momentum that the user gets when they go to your app.  They’re looking at the app, they look at the screen shot, everything looks great.  Then they look at the app information and they see a horrific review.  Obviously they’re going to stop the process.

In this conversation, in this show, we’re going to be talking about how reviews are going to become more and more important. I think that the sign of this is really happening in Google Play, with the integration between Google+ and Google Play.  I want to talk a little bit about this to give you a bit of background information about how Google usually works and maybe where they’re heading in 2013.

We have to remember that Google literally is a search engine and they have all this experience with the way the algorithm works.  In the last few years it has been all [inaudible 00:02:52] of the idea of page rank.  With the page rank the way it works, if you are not familiar with SEO, is literally if you get a link from a high page rank website that link is going to pass more influence and more ranking than a link from a lower level page rank website.

In a way it makes sense.  If the website has an authority and is something you have linked to your site you’re going to get authority and a ranking.  An interesting fact is that potentially that is moving towards something that is a bit more complex and more in the philosophy of Google right now.  What will happen if your reputation, that ranking factor, is linked to your profile, to your Google+ profile.  We all know Google+ is the response to Facebook.  The issue with Google is when Google does things they have the power to make you use it regardless if you want it or not.

Right now if you’re going to post a review in Google Play for any kind of app it’s going to be linked to your account.  The big question here is does this mean if you are a trusted user will that actually pass some more ranking on the review rather than if you go and buy five, six, seven fake reviews in Google Play that literally will pass no ranking.

It’s interesting because although it’s a bit early now, my theory is that in a few months maybe in half a year, we’re going to be able to see this happening more and more.  We’re going to see that our developers are going to be looking for the trusted review.  The trusted review is going to be very clear to identify because the fake reviews will not achieve anything.

It’s all aiming to trying to avoid the quick scheme, the many marketing companies are trying to offer to developers.  The whole guaranteed twenty-five ranking even if we don’t know what kind of app you have.  But you see it everywhere in LinkedIn, Facebook, promoting these services where the app stores are trying more and more and more to go towards quality and be sure that if people are downloading the apps, the apps have that social factor.  That human factor that makes them successful.

Here we go, this is the interview with Clifford Ribaudo from Asking Point and I hope you are having a good Christmas.  I’m launching this on Boxing Day.  If you have any questions about the podcast, if you want to send me any feedback, please let me know.  My email once again is or go to the website for more information.

Speak to you soon and enjoy the show.

Gabriel:           Hey, guys.  Gabriel Machuret here and today I’m pretty excited because I’m on the phone right now with Clifford Ribaudo and the reason why I’m interviewing Clifford is because I met him on Facebook.  He is the creator, CEO, ninja master behind

Before I start talking about Asking Point I’m going to let Clifford introduce himself and tell us a little bit about who Clifford is, where he is from, and how he started in this whole app world.  So, Clifford, let’s get started.

Clifford:          Gabriel, great to meet you.  It’s been a lot of fun.  We got started in this, I was CTO for about seven years of something I invested in.  That was in electronic bond exchange and we were building a very high tech electronic bond exchange.  Of course, 2008 came along right when we were starting to get traction and kind of wiped us out basically.  It didn’t end right then, it kind of wound down.  I was the CTO and my co-founder, Kevin, had been kind of, as hobbyists for years, had been developing apps.  I have probably the number one astrology app in the iTunes app store for professional astrologers.  It’s called iPhermeris.  Kevin has a very highly rated, one of the top ones, network analysis tool called IT Tools.

We’d been doing this as hobbyists because we’ve been developers all our lives, on the side.  We said all right, look, this other thing’s winding down I was a big investor in that thing because I’m sort of an angel as well.  My background is I was a co-founder of Roadway Software which anybody who did software development in the 90s knows what that is.  It was a bunch of C++ objective libraries and bunch of …

Gabriel:           You’re a true developer, a true nerd.

Clifford:          I am a developer.  The Asking Point site and a lot of the UI is done by me, a lot of the job script.  The Asking Point app is done by me.  Kevin’s doing a lot of the backend to dupe service side stuff because he’s better at that than I am.  Yes, we’re geeks.

Gabriel:           For people that just came to this podcast, what is Asking Point?  Tell us a little bit.

Clifford:          Asking Point grew right out of our experience.  We decided we wanted to do startup and we wanted to master of our own fate.  We started down a path of something and basically we pivoted in the beginning of this year.  December 2011 we pivoted.  We decided what we were doing wasn’t right.  It dawned on me one morning, I literally woke up with like, “Dude, what are you doing?  You’ve been building apps since 2008.  You’re one of the first apps in the store.  You’re the number one app in your category and you’ve got these issues that you want to address.”

The standard problem an app developer has is how do I find out anything about my users?  Who are they?  How often do they use my product?  Etc, etc.  It suddenly dawned on us that some of the stuff that we’d been doing before could be turned into an app analytics framework which is what Asking Point is.

So Asking Point is essentially a tool, a free tool at the moment, totally free, app analytics framework.  You basically drop our library into your app, a couple of lines of code to initialize it, you can do more if you want if you need more detailed analysis.  What it will do is it will give you all kinds of analytics about how often your apps used, countries, frequency, engagement, etc. etc.  A lot of the sort of standard app analytic stuff that you hear about.  It’s not entirely new.  There’s guys out there that do this.

But we thought that there was some additional stuff that we could bring to the party.  What we think makes us unique here is analytic controlled widgets.  The first one is the rating widget because … and that’s where this whole ASO thing comes in.  Because I wasn’t using one in my app.  Kevin wasn’t using one in his app.  We’d both been considering it.  But looked at some of the open source ones and thought, “You know, geez, these things are horrible.”  We’re programmers, of course, nobody’s code is good enough.

Gabriel:           Of course.  Describe to me this widget.  Literally why is it the rating widget for someone that is completely new.  Keep in mind that potentially there are people that are just thinking about building their own apps.  What would this widget look like?

Clifford:          We don’t open source the library but you drop the API in your app.  I can tell you right now we’ve got hundreds of users and we’re on millions of devices and that’s the absolute truth.  We’ve never crashed an app.  A couple of lines of code to initialize it and we start collecting data for you.  About usage, frequency of use, amount of time of use, etc., etc.   Countries, languages, all the basic stuff we can get.  We can tell you more about where and in what parts of the app users spend their time if you want to put a few more lines of code in.

What we can then do with that analytics is we can let you go onto your account, on the site, and set up conditions that basically determine who sees the rating widget.  Part of the Asking Point API that gets included in your app is a rating widget.  It’s a standard looking widget, a little UI alert pops up from your app.

Gabriel:           I have seen it, yes.

Clifford:          It’s localized.  We translated it into all 32 languages that IOS currently supports.  We know the device languages, the preferred language of the device.  When we pop up we pop up speaking the user’s language and we prompt them to rate.

Gabriel:           Let me get this clear.  I’m sorry to interrupt you.  What you’re telling me is that obviously you guys kind of take the way I behave and interact with the app and if you see that I’m a keen user of your app you’re going to say to me, “Hey, it seems like you’re really enjoying this app.”

Clifford:          You’re using it three times a day.  You’ve just downloaded it.  You’ve been using it for at least 30 days.  You’re using it on average of three times a day.  Your average amount of time you spend in it is let’s say 20 minutes per session, whatever.  Then we let you go onto your dashboard and set conditions for …

Gabriel:           For interacting with these users.

Clifford:          Right.  And it’s real time.  You don’t have to … once the APIs out there in your app when the app comes into the foreground it phones home, talks to your service, says, “Hey, I’m here.”  If the server says, “Yeah, that device’s usage patterns meet the conditions that you, the account owner, have set for causing the rating widget to show.  Then we instruct the device to show the rating widget and we send along the language files that it needs to display it in the user’s language.

Gabriel:           Perfect.  It makes sense.  Let’s talk a little bit about this.  The importance of this part of the reviews.  From a psychological point of view for someone that is actually browsing for apps and from a point of view of ranking on app stores.  What is the relevance of these reviews?

askingpoint2Clifford:          This whole thing grew out of our own experience.  One of the things we’ve been doing because we each have apps, and if you go onto apps blog you’ll see that I have been very public, literally giving my sales numbers for my app, my personal app, and how it’s affecting us.  How the ratings affect us.

Ratings are super, super important.  For the app developers out there I can’t tell you how important they are.  I can give you numbers though.  For instance, I didn’t use a rating widget in my app before Asking Point or Rating Booster.  That’s the brand name that we’re calling it, the Rating Booster.

I have documented, and the numbers are all up on the blog, is that in four months it has caused my average daily sales to increase basically 100%.

Gabriel:           That’s crazy.  Amazing.

Clifford:          I use AppViz to track myself and my sales are not something like averaging close to … they’re over eight a day.  The last Blog post they were in the high sevens.  Now they’re over eight a day.  When is started tracking this thing very carefully they were at four and change.

Gabriel:           You actually put these things to the shear amount of reviews of keen users?

Clifford:          Absolutely because nothing else changed.  I did for a couple of months and tracked it back in July when I first started using it.  Asking Point launched officially at www.dc2012 in June.  We basically started testing and using in our own apps the rating widget in July.  I tracked it to September and then I had to back off for a while because there was just too many things changing.  There was a new app store.  I put out some app releases that created some future sets so it was hard to determine it.

I purposely have not touched my app basically since September and left version 7.4 out there since then purely to track performance.  The sales have continued to climb from where they were back then to where they are now which is in the eights for effectively double in four months.  Considering what this app is, it’s a 13 U.S. dollar app.  That’s not cheap by app standards.

Gabriel:           Absolutely.  That’s really like a luxury in the app store.

Clifford:          Yes, and I attribute that solely to ratings.  That is the only thing basically that’s changed.

Gabriel:           That’s incredible.

Clifford:          How do we know this?  Well, why do we think it’s important?  I think it’s important because you have to understand, for instance Apple just put out a change to the review guidelines, 2.25 in the App Store Review Guidelines.   If you’re an app developer you can go on the app in dev site and look at the app review guidelines , clause 2.25 you’re going to see that Apple basically doesn’t want you to use too heavily apps that recommend other apps.  They’re trying to get rid of paper download.  They’re trying to improve search.

Now when I was at WWDC and Kevin and I, both of us, we met the number one and the number two guys, we had a sit-down with them, who run the IOS App Store.  The number two guy is the guy that was the ex-CEO of a company that Apple purchased to improve apps sales.  I think it was Chomp or something like that.

Gabriel:           Chomp, yes.

Clifford:          What they were telling us is, number one …  The direct quote from the head of the Apple IOS store, “The vast majority of all apps are purchased by the phone.”  That’s number one.   What just happened?  App Store design change.  You’re seeing less apps in the search result.  You better be hiring the search results.

Gabriel:           Absolutely.  You have less chances …

Clifford:          On the iPad it’s not so bad because you see like six or maybe nine tiles, I can’t remember.

Gabriel:           Six, yes.

Clifford:          Six, so you’ve got to page left.  If you’re on the app, you’ve got to page and page and page and page to find a bunch of apps.  That’s a problem if you’re an app developer particularly if you’re not high on the list.  How far are people going to go paging down.

Gabriel:           Exactly like with websites.  No one goes and clicks on result 76.

askingpoint1Clifford:          I was talking to this guy and I’m like, “We both have problems with search.  There are issues here.”  He said, “Yes, we know.  We’re trying to improve it.  That’s the whole point of this purchase.  It really should be keyword driven or content of the app description.”  It’s not entirely.  Its keyword and then other people who gain in it and the title and all this other stuff.  We’re trying to fix that.  We’re trying to get rid of paid downloads, blah, blah.

That tells you what they’re trying to do.  They’re trying to make a search meaningful which means that what you’re talking about here the app store optimization, search optimization, you’ve got to refine it.  If you think about it, a person searching the app store, how many key words do they have to put in to figure out what they’re looking for?  Not too many.

A lot of apps in a world of 750,000 apps.  I recently did an analysis of how many apps are in the U.S. App Store.  There’s like 707,000 apps in the U.S. App Store.

Gabriel:           A crazy amount, yes.

Clifford:          How many hits do you get on a keyword, right?  What else are they going to use to rank it?  Guess what.  It turns out what they use to rank it is number of ratings, frequency of ratings, and average rating score.

Gabriel:           Let me ask you one question.  Here we are a little bit of monkeying around.  Right now with Android Google Play just moved a reviews to Google+ literally so it means when you post a review in Google Play in the last few weeks it is linked to your account.  So literally anyone can see what kind of apps you’re looking at.  Do you think that the App Store is going to come up with a way of authenticating these reviews to prevent … we’re talking about the crappy review that says it doesn’t work and it comes from a user that we don’t know?  Do you think they will be moving to something where reviews are from, we call them, verified users in a way to also prevent gaming the system with bombing with reviews?  How do you see that coming along?

Clifford:          I know Apple’s working hard on that.  I can’t say too much about Android because that’s Asking Point doesn’t currently support that yet.  We’re working on it but we’re not there yet and my app’s not in an Android store, so full disclosure on that.  I know that, interesting fact, one thing we do know from our data is that the 46% of the people that said they will rate the app that we take to the App Store to rate, don’t manage to get past the password.

Gabriel:           That’s amazing.

Clifford:          I absolutely know that number.

Gabriel:           That’s amazing.

Clifford:          If I get a hundred users that said they’re going to rate me, I pop up the rating widget, they said yes I will rate you.  I took them to the App Store page, I’m only getting 64 ratings because 46 of them either blew it off at the password or whatever.  That tells you something about good rating widgets versus bad rating widgets.  Some of these rating widgets that are out there that try to intercept bad ratings by trying to ask the guy to kind of give a pre-rating rating, I think they’re doing more harm for an app developer than good.  Just simply because a user gives a thumbs up or a thumbs down, a little indication of whether they’re going to be a good or a bad rating.  Then you take them to the app store and it’s like, hey, wait a minute I already rated you.  I’m not going to do this again and on top of that I’ve got to put in my password, forget it.

Gabriel:           Exactly.

Clifford:          You’re better off using something like us where the analytics basically just avoid the bad ratings.

Gabriel:           Let’s talk a little bit about what happens when you’re starting to use analytics because part of the lack of App Store optimization is gathering data and understanding your end user.  Tell what did you discover in your personal experience with your own app once you started analyzing the user behavior that you didn’t know before?  Where you were like, “Huh, this is interesting.”  What did you find out that was completely obscure for you before installing your own analytics and discovering what was happening with your users?

Clifford:          I didn’t realize how many countries I was in.  For instance, after doing that I added a couple of other languages.  The apps now localized into the five majors.  After doing that I added German and French because it turns out I have a lot of French and German users.

Gabriel:           Amazing.  You actually had no idea that people in Germany and France were using your app.  You installed an analytics system and then you discover, “Wait a second, people are buying this stuff from Germany and I’m not making any effort to target German users.   Imagine if I do a BFF over there.”  I love that.

Clifford:          Yes, and it worked and I had the store translate it into French like the App Store front.  Once I saw that I did all the store fronts plus I added the rest of the localizations and I would say … I also added a little email widget into the app which lets them basically just ping me with a question right from within the app and saves me the trouble of trying to figure out what they’re using because it grabs their device type and everything else.

I’m getting so many emails from France right now, it’s just unbelievable.  People with questions, comments, etc.  I had a lot of French users I just didn’t realize how many I had.  Then once I saw the analytics … You know the thing didn’t realize how much time people spent in settings.  The apps very complicated.  It’s a professional tool.  It’s got a lot of settings and tweaking and people are [inaudible 00:26:22] in there all time.  Just didn’t understand it.  Didn’t know that.

Gabriel:           That’s amazing.  It’s amazing how we can work so hard developing an app and then literally once … I see all the time with developers I work with and companies use, that literally they spend all this time developing the app, it’s never perfect because you developers are obsessed to have everything perfect all the time.  It’s never perfect and once you launch it, it seems like the whole marketing and research of who’s your end customer stops there.  It seems to be they go back to “Let’s build another app,” instead of trying to understand it.

In your case, I love this story, just by getting a bit of tape that you understand, wait a second, the French market could be a new frontier for me.  I guess potentially you have no competition in the French market or not as strong as in the U.S.  You literally can overtake everyone and become the king of the hill in that market just by gathering some intelligent data.

Clifford:          That’s right.  More directly speaking to that point, one of the other widgets that analytics controlled that we have in the API is a poll widget.  That works the same way where we’re not pushing it as hard just yet because we’re adding a bunch of analytics and the site’s actually about to go real time in the next day or two.  The analytics will be real time.

What it enables you to do is to pop up a poll widget to a certain segment of your users.

Gabriel:           Very interesting.  Let’s say potentially …

Clifford:          You go on the site, you use the wussy wig, editor, to build the little poll to ask your user’s three or four questions.  For instance, what feature do you want to see most, this, this, or this?  You’ll get real time, instant, live results right on your dashboard.

Gabriel:           Very powerful.  Potentially you can even go a bit further.  Let’s say you’re planning to develop another astrology app but maybe you’re going to do it for kids, you can actually ask them before you produce the app.  One of the points I find interesting is how little research we do about the potential of the app before building the app.  It seems that our developers are just building the apps and then praying to God it’s going to work.

But with something like this you could ask a segment of your market saying, “Will you buy this for your kids: yes or no, and would you pay $2.00 for this?”  Then literally you get market research done by you live from people that have already purchased your app.

Clifford:          Yes.  Exactly.  One of the things we’ll add to the polling ability soon is localized questions.  For instance, create a little poll with five questions …

Gabriel:           To the Spanish market, okay.

Clifford:          Upload, let’s say English, French, and German and Spanish questions and then based on the preferred language of the device we’ll pick one.  That’ll be the question the user will see and you get all the data.  We think that’s a super important powerful feature.  Yet another analytics-driven widget that will help you figure out what your users want.

The bottom line is an app manufacturing has very little ability because basically the Apple firewall to communicate with our users.  We don’t know anything about them.  That was probably the overriding desire to build this thing.  We didn’t know who our users were, what they wanted, what they didn’t want, what they used, what they didn’t use.  How they used it, how long, how much.  There was a whole bunch of things we didn’t know and we said we’ve got to fix this.  That’s why we built this.

Gabriel:           I love it.  I love the fact that it’s a technical part but pointing to the human aspect and I think that is so important in the App Store.  To recap, what could you advise the people?    Obviously there’s tons of new developers or app entrepreneurs listening to this.  What would be your advice for these people that are planning to launch their app and they have their dreams to start in the App Store.  What are your ninja tips for them before they start or even when they’re launching?

Clifford:          I saw one of your blog posts, I was looking at your blog the other day, and I absolutely agree with it 100% that is the importance of the icon.  I think you had blog spot, “Your App Icon Sucks, Deal With It.”  One of the things we were talking about, Kevin and I, over lunch one day when we were kind of thinking about this rating widget way back, was exactly that, the App Store.  Shoot, the damn thing, you go in the App Store, you can put in three or four words and you get this list and what do people see.  They see three things; the icon, the name, and the number of stars.  That’s basically what most people are going on.

Icon is super important.  It’s super, super, super important.  It’s got to be lickable.  It’s got to be super sexy, awesome, lickable.  It’s got to suck the user right in.  They have to look at that thing and go, “Ooh, wow man.  I want that app.”

Gabriel:           I need to click on this.

Clifford:          “I want that icon on my phone because it looks so good.”

Gabriel:           I don’t care what it does but I want that stuff.  Yes.

Clifford:          Exactly.  I swear to God, it sounds stupid but it’s not.  Marketing is a thing that a lot of developers including myself don’t fully understand but as I’ve been focused on this whole company for the last couple of years now, it’s become so clear that that is super, super important.

Another thing is attention to detail and quality of product.  You don’t have to do everything but what you do do, you’d better do really well and you’d better pay really careful attention to detail and make it look good.  Users are super … I’ll tell you a little story in a minute if you’ve got a sec about how users can be.  In the App Store there’s a negative bias.  Without a rating widget there’s an absolute negative bias.

Most people will not get up off the couch to go to their iTunes or their phone or their iPad and track down their app and rate it when they like it.  They’re fat [inaudible 00:33:36].  But something goes wrong, they’re like, “God damn it, where’s that iPad, I’ve got to get over there and I’m going to rate that this is one star, damn it.  It going to get one star, damn it, and that is it.”

Gabriel:           It is funny because I wrote that in my book and it’s a ninja.  It says how you will post a bad review because it’s 99 cents and you’re kid had a tantrum because it doesn’t work.  You’re going to put it sucks.  [Inaudible 00:34:01].

Clifford:          They’ll rip your head off because your app crashed on him and “Damn it, they’re not getting their 99 cents worth.”  They probably spend ten times more than that in Starbucks every day.

Gabriel:           Of course they do.  Let’s talk a few seconds about how critical is one of these bad reviews and one star on a brand new app.  Let’s face it, a brand new app out there …

Clifford:          It’s real bad.

Gabriel:           Has four reviews.  Automatically if I put a one star and a bad review I’m taking your average to three positives.  It’s pretty crucial.

Clifford:          For starters I don’t have any direct evidence to prove this other than the effect of the ratings that we see on sales.  We’ve gotten a number of customers telling us this as well.  Everybody’s going, “We stuck this thing in there.  It’s amazingly increased our ratings and our ratings scores and our sales are up.”  I’ve seen it in my own app and I’ve been like meticulously following it to every review, every rating tracking the data, correlating it against sales on a daily basis.  Why?  Because I’m trying to have real data to prove this.

It really does seem like given that Apple has limited number of ways that they can rank search results in an App Store where you’ve got 707,000 apps, let’s say.  Some users are putting in five key words trying to find an app and now they’ve got 3,000 apps that match those key words.  How are they going to sort it?   Well Apple’s impression, reputation and experience is really important to Apple.  They’re not going to put near the top stuff that’s getting bad ratings, or a lot of bad ratings, or has a low rating score.  They’re going to put the stuff near the top that’s getting more frequently rated, getting regular ratings and getting regularly good ratings.

Gabriel:           You …

Clifford:          You have to use it to prioritize their search results.  They need to use something.

Gabriel:           Interesting.  You’re thinking your own theory is not just about the positive reviews and positive ratings but you mentioned something very interesting, on the freshness of the reviews.  We’re talking about a constant flow of reviews going to an app is going to indicate that the app is alive, that people are still using it and people are still liking it.

Clifford:          I have seen it in my own sales.  We’re trying to come up with some ways that we can correlate and the Asking Point site now, when you use the app in order to turn our ratings loose you have to give us your app ID so that we can take you to the correct App Store page for you straight.  What we do as a service to our customers is we pull in every rating from every store and every review from every store for that app ID.  We show it on the ratings tab of our panel.  A user doesn’t even have to put the API in their app.  If they just went onto our site, signed up, gave us an app ID, they’re basically getting their ratings and reviews all on a page for them.

Why we did that was because we’re trying to develop some metrics that correlate, that really get down to this.  What we think we’re seeing so far is that it really does fluctuate on a daily basis.  On days when you get more good ratings, sales seem to be going up.  On days when you get less ratings or you have a couple of bad ratings for some reason, they go down.  Even on a day-to-day basis.  If you think about it, if Apple’s working on SCO in their App Store, what are the criteria they have available to them to determine how to rank search results.

Gabriel:           Yes, makes sense.

Clifford:          When you put in your keywords you still have 7,000 hits or 3,000 matches.  How do you rank them?

Gabriel:           Yes, absolutely.

Clifford:          It’s probably sales and revenue and ratings and rating score.  It’s got to be.  We know we see that.  We are seeing that.  Ratings are super important.  An interesting story, I mentioned earlier.  We have a customer, one of our first, almost first.  Met the guy online at WWDC.  He has a very big … I can mention his name, it’s CaneCast.  CaneCast is a hurricane tracking app.  Has hundreds of thousands of users.  A very big app.  He put us in his app turned on the rating widget, getting lots of ratings.  One day they put out a release and get a bug.

It was only crashing new users.  What happened?  They all were running to the store and getting them … it wasn’t our problem, it was his problem, a problem in his software and he was really having a hard time figuring out.  All these people downloaded this thing, paid their 99 cents for his app, crashed on launch if they were new users and were running to the App Store and giving him one star ratings.

He’s like, “What the heck do we do?”  I know, let’s go to the dashboard of Asking Point since the new users are crashing and we’ve got hundreds of thousands of [inaudible 00:40:27].  What he did was he cranked up … this is actually counterintuitive.  I’m not sure I would have done this.  He actually cranked up his settings so that he basically reduced the criteria for asking people to rate it so that many, many more people who were …

Gabriel:           [inaudible 00:40:45].

Clifford:          And he just completely buried the one stars.

Gabriel:           I see.  Be proactive.

Clifford:          In 24 hours.  That’s the great thing about having a rating, any kind of widget that’s controlled through your dashboard, it doesn’t require a software release.  You’ve still got to go fix your bug but it gives you a little time to do that without getting your sales pounded too much or as badly anyway.

Gabriel:           That’s awesome.  I really like the tool and I’m going to advise anyone listening to this podcast to actually go and check  Go out and register for a free account.  You guys are doing an awesome job.  It has been only four months you told me that you’ve been doing this so that’s impressive.

Clifford:          The company, we officially pivoted on December 20th.  We launched in June.  We went live at WWC June 11th and we’ve been out there with the product officially launched since June.  We’ve been in the market for six months or five and a half.

Gabriel:           Not even a year.  That’s impressive.  I want to say thank you so much.  Thank you for taking the time.  I know you’re very busy, Clifford.  Awesome interview and I’m pretty sure it’s going to make us think a bit different about reviews and about the power of understanding what our users want.  Thank you once again.

How can people contact you if they want to ask you more questions about your point?

Clifford:          They can get me through the site.  I’m totally accessible.  Me personally they can get me at  Just go look at the company page.  You’ll find my email address there.  We’re pretty accessible.  Our motto is by developers for developers.  We want to help developers and work with them and we’re app developers.

Gabriel:           You can speak their language.

Clifford:          Sorry?

Gabriel:           You can speak their language.

Clifford:          Right.  We’re geeks.

Gabriel:           We’re geeks.  That’s good to say it.  Thank you for your time, man, and for anyone that wants more information head today, right now, to and start learning more about your users.

Clifford:          Great, thanks.

Gabriel:           Thanks, bye.