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  1. CodeNaked's Avatar
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    Default App Reviews & Product Updates

    I'm exactly half of a software company named SouthernTouch Technologies. Our first product release was SouthernTouch Spades for the PlayBook, on May 20. We've been averaging about 3 sales a day. At $0.99, that means my partner and I are splitting around $2.08 a day in "profit" (3 x 0.99 x 0.7).

    Buy SouthernTouch Spades - Download SouthernTouch Spades - Buy Games from BlackBerry App World

    I think everyone can agree there's not a whole lot of financial incentive going on there. But life's not just about money. We genuinely enjoy what we do, and it's cool to see people buying our product in 47 different countries. We've received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the < 3% of people who have left a review, and that is rewarding.

    We've also received some great feedback regarding changes people want to our software. One reviewer docked us a star because our earlier versions did not have any sound effects. We've had a few requests for statistics. There was one complaint about our large-print card graphics. Most recently, an expert player who's been playing spades for 20 years has called on us to improve the AI when a nil bid is made.

    But here's the thing...our app now has sound. We've now got two different card faces that you can choose. We're working on improvements to the AI and adding statistics. We've released 14 versions of SouthernTouch Spades in 7 months. We have not had anyone edit their reviews to acknowledge any of these changes. And we don't expect to get any. I'm not saying the user community shouldn't write negative things in reviews, but we've gotten exactly 1 e-mail from a user with constructive feedback. We would like to get many more e-mails like that.

    So if you've bought or downloaded an app that you enjoy, but you have suggestions to make it even better, consider e-mailing the developer. (Click the "Support" button in the AppWorld store.) We'd love to hear from you.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
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  2. Darlaten's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of this. It was interesting to read. I'm somewhat suprirsed at the stats to be honest; I would have thought more people would have left a review. But as to your comment about editing reviews - the negative ones that is - I did not think there was a way to edit reviews once they have been posted. In any event, look for another purchase of your app today
    The Z10 will be my last BB phone; switching platforms.
  3. CodeNaked's Avatar
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    Wow, you're right--it doesn't look like the user can go back and edit their review. I don't see where you can, anyway. We didn't really expect anyone to ever do that, though it would be nice. It's disappointing that the users may not be able to, even if they want to.

    Before our submission, I guestimated the review rate would be about 5%, so less than 3% was a little surprising. Still, I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. It's just that all us developers (especially smaller independents) would LOVE some more e-mail feedback.

    Because I can't live on 104 pennies a day, I still have a "normal" job as a software engineer in the Oil & Gas industry. This is much more fun. By the way, thanks for your support.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
  4. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darlaten View Post
    Thank you for all of this. It was interesting to read. I'm somewhat suprirsed at the stats to be honest; I would have thought more people would have left a review. But as to your comment about editing reviews - the negative ones that is - I did not think there was a way to edit reviews once they have been posted. In any event, look for another purchase of your app today
    Very few purchasers leave reviews. I have sold about 3900 copies of What's up since June and have received 66 reviews (3 of which were denied as "inappropriate"). That works out to less than 2 in every hundred purchasers. My daily sales sit at approximately 18 per day on average but the stats are deceiving. I have experienced two huge spikes when my app was "featured" but generally, my experience outside the spikes is quite similar to the OP's. I have received 4 emails concerning a minor bug (which has an easy work-around) and a dozen or so complaining about App World installation failures and billing. And another dozen asking me to port my app to other BB devices (I wish I had the time!).

    I should note that developers like to get reviews (of any kind) because quantity of reviews (and to a certain extent, quality) affects ranking within the categories. The be closer to the top,means more visibility and therefore more sales. And you are correct, it is not possible to edit reviews (but this is only one of many deficiencies in App World's review process). I have received a few emails about feature requests but they were already on my to-do list.

    @CodeNaked - I need a really good solitaire game - current offering are not that great - I think that you could sell a few copies for sure! Also, I'm sure that you are aware that you can deny poor reviews that apply to previous releases. You can also deny good ones that are misleading or tell lies. I've denied one of these.
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  5. jetstreamblue's Avatar
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    The inability for users to edit or delete their own review comments is something that really needs to be fixed. What you'll find are "angry reviews" where a user bumps into one bug or one thing that they don't like, and give a 1/2 or 1 star review. It's very likely that user would change their mind once they get over that moment or even, too rarely I must say, report the bug to the developer who can then fix it.
    As a minimum, there should be a clear note to the reviewer that their review is permanent and cannot be editted later. Obviously some (many?) users do not know this. I once got a review of 2 stars or something, with the user leaving a comment like "2 stars for now, will update after I use the app"... Hmm...

    As for number of reviews, my e-Mmanuel+ app does pretty well, probably around 5% feedback rate. My free business analysis app on the other hand is dismal... It averages 30-50 downloads a day, been there since launch in April, and I've gotten a total of 6 reviews.
    ~ Spare Time App Developer ~
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  6. CodeNaked's Avatar
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    Yes, I have denied one bad review that was just nonsensical. According to RIM, the rating is still applied to your average, but at least the poor review isn't visible.

    I have started a project for SouthernTouch Solitaire. What do you think about playing in the vertical orientation? It looks like that is a better use of screen real-estate, but I'm not sure if users will want to hold their PlayBook vertically.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
    Buy SouthernTouch Spades - Download SouthernTouch Spades - Buy Games from BlackBerry App World
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    I rarely use my pb in vertical orientation. I guess most of my use is the web and there's just more east-west real estate without having short lines or scrolling left-right. So that carries over to most of my holding of the pb.

    I am also looking for a good solitaire game. Vertical, huh????
  8. CodeNaked's Avatar
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    I was just thinking about it. The way the solitaire card stacks grow vertically, it makes sense from a presentation viewpoint. But if nobody wants to hold it that-a-way, I'll stick with a horizontal display. I could probably write it to use both, though that would not be a version 1.0 feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by F2 View Post
    I rarely use my pb in vertical orientation. I guess most of my use is the web and there's just more east-west real estate without having short lines or scrolling left-right. So that carries over to most of my holding of the pb.

    I am also looking for a good solitaire game. Vertical, huh????
  9. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodeNaked View Post
    Yes, I have denied one bad review that was just nonsensical. According to RIM, the rating is still applied to your average, but at least the poor review isn't visible.

    I have started a project for SouthernTouch Solitaire. What do you think about playing in the vertical orientation? It looks like that is a better use of screen real-estate, but I'm not sure if users will want to hold their PlayBook vertically.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
    Buy SouthernTouch Spades - Download SouthernTouch Spades - Buy Games from BlackBerry App World
    Options are the cat's meow and keep the game fresh. A variety of game types is important - I like Klondike but like to switch modes every so often. In addition to orientation options like you suggest, it is important to allow the user to place the deck on either the left side or the right. But really the most important thing is to get the animation smooth but also to allow "flicking" a card in a general direction and having it land intelligently in a legal location. Double tapping a card should do the same thing. Also very important, of course, is to do lots of testing to ensure that stacking order is not messed up in random ways and duplicate cards start appearing. The game I am using right now is very poor in this regard and needs an upgrade (which has never been forthcoming). Last but not least the game must look really good and be worthy of being on PB's screen. I'll stop here because, I'm getting carried away. Looking forward to seeing your new game in App World.

    BTW If you need a volunteer for testing, I can always be found lurking around these precincts.
    Show off PlayBook's magnetometer! Just point and see What's up.
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  10. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodeNaked View Post
    I was just thinking about it. The way the solitaire card stacks grow vertically, it makes sense from a presentation viewpoint. But if nobody wants to hold it that-a-way, I'll stick with a horizontal display. I could probably write it to use both, though that would not be a version 1.0 feature.
    Speaking as a developer and as one who is having difficulty in making my own app function in either orientation, I offer this advice: Think about calculating card positions dynamically and do not place any graphical objects using fixed coordinates. If you think about building your layout manager first, then making both orientations available becomes a piece of cake. It is also important not to hard-code screen dimensions either. I did all the wrong things as a newbie AS3 developer and I am now looking at a major rewrite to put things right in time for the release of the new QNX phones (and probably different screen sizes). And the longer I put it off, the more difficult the re-write is getting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzStarField View Post
    It is also important not to hard-code screen dimensions either. I did all the wrong things as a newbie AS3 developer and I am now looking at a major rewrite to put things right in time for the release of the new QNX phones (and probably different screen sizes). And the longer I put it off, the more difficult the re-write is getting!
    Ditto on that, same newb mistake as me. It's going to take a lot for me to get sorted for different dimensions and orientations.
    ~ Spare Time App Developer ~
    (My PlayBook Apps: e-Mmanuel+ Bible Reader, e-Mmanuel Audio Bible, Business Analysis Toolbox, RiskASSIST, StakeholdersASSIST)
    See e-Mmanuel+ FaceBook Page for latest app news!
  12. CodeNaked's Avatar
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    Yes, I've already learned that lesson. I've actually ported SouthernTouch Spades to iOS, where it runs at 1024 x 768, 960 x 640, and even 480 x 320, in addition to the PlayBook's 1024 x 600.

    Speaking of the phones, I am very curious as to what they are going to be like. I really hope there will be some high-resolution (qHD or better) models.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
  13. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodeNaked View Post
    Yes, I've already learned that lesson. I've actually ported SouthernTouch Spades to iOS, where it runs at 1024 x 768, 960 x 640, and even 480 x 320, in addition to the PlayBook's 1024 x 600.

    Speaking of the phones, I am very curious as to what they are going to be like. I really hope there will be some high-resolution (qHD or better) models.

    Thanks,

    Darwin Pinder
    SouthernTouch Technologies - Home
    I can only tell you what I am expecting based on pure speculation (because RIM has only given us hints so far). That being said, I expect that code written for the PB will be compatible with QNX based phones without the need to make major changes for each new device. This is a major and welcome change from the fragmentation that plagued us w.r.t. BBOS (Java-based) smart phones. We are finally going to have a unified ecosystem similar to the environment that has existed for eons on the iThings. BBX has a new name (BBOS 10??) but RIM is making me a into a very happy developer.

    As for screen resolution, I am expecting the very best possible that RIM is capable of producing i.e equal or better than PBs quality. Perhaps others here have more to say on this topic.
    Show off PlayBook's magnetometer! Just point and see What's up.
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    Unfortunately, it seems like there is no need to rush to support other bb devices with the qnx system based on rim's now delayed phone launch. Sad as it gives you developers a smaller customer base for selling apps and potentially less incentive to even develop for the rim platform.
  15. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F2 View Post
    Unfortunately, it seems like there is no need to rush to support other bb devices with the qnx system based on rim's now delayed phone launch. Sad as it gives you developers a smaller customer base for selling apps and potentially less incentive to even develop for the rim platform.
    By golly, you're right; so on to plan B. I am fortunate that I'm a Java programmer and so it looks like I'll be porting my app to OS7 after all. I was holding off expecting QNX in the 2nd quarter of 2012, but now there is no reason to wait. Then I will create some inferior "no magnetometer" versions for OS6 and prior versions. There are still some pent up demand for a Java star map - and once I do my first Jave version, porting to other OSs won't be that difficult.

    I'll think that I'll be nice to buyers of the Java versions by making the one app available on all supported platforms. People who buy the OS6/7 versions will see the app on their new PlayBook and vice versa. But I will be raising the price somewhat - $2.99 seems about right - probably effective early next year.

    Also no reason not to finish my second app already in progress for PB in anticipation of the release of QNX phones now delayed until the 5th, 6th or 7th quarter of 2012 (not that I am pessimistic or anything). I'll still be developing a new app or two for PB but will be publishing Java versions first.
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    I like your upbeat attitude, Buzz.
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  17. BuzzStarField's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F2 View Post
    I like your upbeat attitude, Buzz.
    To be honest, I've been having a great time these last 7 or 8 months. My apparent upbeat attitude may be just a result of my natural optimism or perhaps RIM has driven me half-way to the funny farm. I'm not quite sure sometimes.
    Show off PlayBook's magnetometer! Just point and see What's up.
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  18. DavidHeasler's Avatar
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    Wow guys. This thread is a surprise to me. I had no idea you received so little positive feedback. Emmanuel is probably the most helpful and well thought out app I've downloaded for my playbook and I've not given it a review. Will pull up my socks. Thanks everyone for all your work.

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