On iOS, we have 32,296,341 reviews, with 3,448,351 being 1 star reviews. 10.67% one star reviews.
Let's see if we limit it to reviews in the last 2 months:
16.47% negative in Turkey (65,154 total reviews)
12.05% negative in the US (1,960,283 total reviews)
(source - internal https://sensortower.com analytics)
It's a bit harder to separate reviews between countries on Android, but we have 7,862,505 recent reviews indexed in the last 2 months on Android, and 780,997 of them are negative (9.93%). I will try to run a query with language detection, though that might take a bit of time~
Rating % All % Turkish
1 09.6% 15.2%
2 03.5% 04.4%
3 06.5% 07.0%
4 16.6% 14.5%
5 63.6% 58.7%
There's definitely a bump in 1-star reviews in Turkey.
Wait wait wait, the mere fact that Turkish has more 1 start review than the world average doesn't tell you anything about other countries individually.
It could be that most countries are above the world average except a couple of countries with almost no 0-star reviews.
If you want to make this point, at least give us the standard deviation.
The US date format (m/d/y) is used virtually only in US, most other places use d/m/y or y/m/d.
Re dots for thousands separators -- the world is split about roughly evenly on this, with all of europe (except for Great Britain and Ireland) using commas for decimals dots for thousands separators. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_mark#Hindu.E2.80.93Arab...
For a second I misread that as 65,536 (64K) reviews.
Before you arrive at such a sweeping conclusion, you should perform at least a little bit of statistical testing, e.g. see diziet's analysis on this page.
Two further comments:
1. The behavior mentioned in the post does seem to be a real thing, as evidenced by the many entries in the Turkish zeitgeist site eksisozluk: https://eksisozluk.com/yorumum-gozuksun-diye-1-yildiz--41109..., the first entry under this heading is dated 11/13/2013 so it seems to be a new meme. Also, the entries suggest that the behavior seems to be focused on Google Play rather than the Apple Store.
2. This shows a significant drawback of Google Play's selection of comments to display. Looking at the selected comments for the same game on the Apple Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wheres-my-water-2/id63885314...) I don't see this kind of 1 star ratings.
EDIT: Also, Apple doesn't display ratings like Google does, so there is clearly no reason for them to leave reviews like that.
A 3/5 isn't a good rating in any country I've lived. A 5 is good. There isn't really a rating for "exceptionally amazing". But I'm sure somewhere, a 3/5 means "pretty good" and 5/5 is reserved for exceptionally positive reviews.
So the problem with world wide rating is that are so different depending on your location and culture (and age).
Although I only install apps that have 4.5 star rating so I am being hypocritical...
A long time ago when I was in school in Norway, grades was marked on sort of 1-5 rating. (LG=Not very Good, NG=Quite Good, G=Good, MG=Very Good, S=Exceptionally Good. http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaktersystemer_i_Norge#Grunns...) As I was usually among the best I mostly got a grade in the range of MG ie a 4. The top rating was practically impossible and I only got that on a few occasional tests but never on a full year's grade. MG+ was the more likely top grade to aim for. (They have since changed and expanded the grade system)
When I then moved to the UK in my last years of schooling, grade A seemed to be handy out all over the place. I do remember having to have meetings with the head of the year to be put into the best Maths set even if my average from Norway was not of the top grade and trying to explain that top grade in the two countries was not equivalent.
If I think the app is good, and other people should download it, my rating makes the most difference if I award a score of 5.
If I think the app is OK but not worth downloading, I can most effectively indicate that by scoring it a 1.
If I want people to read my review (as Turkish reviewers have observed), I should perhaps rate it a 1 as well.
So, if I want my reviews to have an observable effect, I should (perhaps) rate everything 1 or 5.
(Or, I could decide what rating I want the app to have, then rate it a 1 or 5 depending on which direction I need to move it)
The motivation initiated by Apple here is bad - by simplifying everything to a single figure average, we lose all the nuance that you are trying to give with your Norwegian-style ratings.
You just re-discovered strategic voting. And that's why the rating system should display the median and not the mean. For the median, you can skip step two: just vote what you want.
In my case,
5 stars = Does exactly what I want;
4 stars = Does most of the things I want, minor features missing;
3 stars = Has a few useful features, the rest are irrelevant;
2 stars = Frequent crashes and major bugs;
1 star = Does not install or start at all no matter what I try (very rare).
I mostly give 4 stars, but there are a lot of 5 star worthy apps, as well (Pocket Informant and ES Explorer, for example).
Bimodal rating distributions everywhere. Help!
I've always hated Yelp and found it useless until I went on holiday to US. In Australia, there's just so few places on it its kinda boring.
There are also people on ebay  offering five star reviews for around $15.
A 1/5 would be the highest score, and 5/5 would be the worse score.
4* ok but has some issues
2 and 3: irrelevant
As you confirmed, the phenomenon is real. I am an IOS user and I was shocked when a friend told me about the comments people are making at Google Play, so I quickly put together a blog and wrote a post that dramatically exposes the problem. The idea is to catch attention of the people so that those who have the necessary tools and time can investigate it thoroughly.
The problem is real and hopefully somebody in the position to fix it would see the post.
Compared to the US, which received a lot of negative reviews (https://sensortower.com/ios/us/disney/app/wheres-my-water-2/...) and has a larger sample size. It could be a much more recent behavior.
People misusing the star system is a problem, but the real problem is that we are forced to care when people misuse it.
(To correct this specific problem, I would recommend low-tolerance hellbanning. If a positive review is accompanied by a one-star rating, that user's ratings and comments will never be seen by another user again.)
However, I saw a small burst of bad reviews on an app I used to work on a few months back - all of those reviews including the developer replies are now 'missing'.
Its possible they merely flagged the reviews and Google got rid of them because they were rude. Possibly the OPs removed them because the developer got in contact to ease their pain somehow...
If you're referencing the fact that they don't understand the apps are made by third parties it isn't limited to turkey. I'm an iOS developer and the number of people that think I 'work for Apple' is incredible.
Hopefully this article, and others like it, do not give the meme a bump up across the language barrier.
There could be cultural factors at play here as well. When I was growing up in Turkey, every so often there would be a fad that picked obscure artefacts of American culture and turned them into articles of social prestige. Cheesy American soap operas, songs and actors would suddenly and inexplicably become national sensations that everyone had to know. I assume something similar is going on with the Android Play Store reviews. Having your review on the frontpage of an app had become a point of pride, so much so that users are subverting the system to get there.
In a mass used platform a single user should never be able to receive 100% visibility by a simple action.
I realize that's not what's being claimed here, though.
There's no intrinsic meaning to how stars correlate to quality is my thinking here, but perhaps only due to familiarity do we think that more stars is better and not worse.
Kubilay Tekin: I hadn't gave 1 star just because I want my comment gets shown on top, I actually think that the game is aweful aqws.w.wew..ws
(I've seen this phenomenon before - there are quite a few who associate 1 with first place, hence surveys and such often have the [1 = worst, 10 = best] next to each "rate xxx on a scale of 1 to 10")
He is saying he hasnt only given 1 start to be at the top, he actually does think the app is terrible
I've never seen an online 'stars' system that works that way... but it's possible in some other cultural context a single star is somehow honored more than many, and thus without explanation the star-system could be misinterpreted. (Of course the comments here strongly suggest that's not a factor in this case.)
> Good, a very good game! I gave 1 star so that my comment gets seen.
++ very positive
> The game is an example of how a good game should be! Don't bother that I gave 1 star, it's because I want my comment gets seen.
> Super! I gave 1 star so that my comment is shown first but I actually liked the game.
> I hadn't gave 1 star just because I want my comment gets shown on top, I actually think that the game is aweful aqws.w.wew..ws
I think, the problem is that the scale is all on the positive side, but people are trying to use it to give negative rating. So naturally they readjust the scale, so that it has both, positive and negative sides, by "shifting" the zero of the scale. Now, where exactly does it go? Will 3 become 0, or is it 2 for some people, or maybe 4?
I know it's way too late in the game, but why can't the rating system be just a simple "good", "bad", "it's ok", or maybe even: :-(, :-|, :-)
I despise that sort of system. None of the choices ever seem to be appropriate for what I think or feel.
Star systems avoid inspiring this frustration in me by giving me the freedom to imagine labels that I think fit how I feel or think.
And in statistical circles, this is called survey bias (rating bias).
If you think a 4 is "awesome", and another person thinks that it means "pretty good", and this effect is widespread, it will result in a biased survey that is difficult to interpret.
I noticed a while ago that literally 100% of netflix content (based on around ~50 things I checked on) has between 3 and 4 stars.
This makes ratings completely useless.
Is it for mixed reviews as in total reviews worldwide and Turkey or just for Turkey. It seems it is just for Turkey.
Maybe they are just more honest and say why they are giving 1 star reviews. Or maybe they are dishonest and really think the game is terrible but in the comment chose to say something else to seem nice? Is there somehow a disproportionate presence of Turkish Android app developers and since they are competing with you they are just messing with author's head.
Looking at the game review in the app store (presumably the US version) most 1 or 2 star reviews seem valid (and don't see a particular trend with names, to mean they are certain ethnicity).
A guess it would be good to browser other apps' reviews from Turkey. So I took a look at Cut The Rope. Very popular game, indeed.
Looking at US reviews, looks good.
Hmm, well I can't read Turkish. So I opened Google Translate and started translating a few top 1 star review. And yap, same pattern.
Mükemmel Çok güzel harika bir oyun gözüksün diye 1
Excellent Very nice people to see a great game as one
Gerçekten cok guzel bir oyun hem zeka açıcı Gercekten cok güzel
Really a very nice game're really nice and intelligence opener
Someone might want to help, but even with Google Translate it looks like they are giving it good reviews as text but 1 star as a score.
The crude and seemingly insensitive way is to just prevent Turkish reviewers from commenting. Or even better hellban them and never account for their score. The would correct this pretty quickly I would imagine.
Now I would really hope someone from Turkey to explain if there is a cultural or social reason for this. It just seems to strange and odd.
This thing is pretty new. I can't make a proper judgement of apps because of this new meme. I want to see international or English comments, but I can't without changing my language preferences. I guess it goes like this:
These people are mostly 10-15 years old, English-illiterate teens. Since Google uses real names on comments(Google+), they want to be seen with their names. I guess they show this to their friends, family, etc.. They feel like they are contributing maybe(?!) They seek for attention (?!) Or maybe it is just for trolling...
When you use Google Play on your PC, you can click on the names of the commentators. Maybe they think that it is a some kind of communication way :S Something like "add/PM me if you like". Weird.
When I check local reddit-like website of Turkey (eksisözlük), there are many people who are annoyed by this new meme. (https://eksisozluk.com/yorumum-gozuksun-diye-1-yildiz--41109...)
To sum up, I think this is really annoying, when I check the Google+ profiles of these 1-star-commentators, I see some non-english-speaking people or attention-seeking teens.
But what about Google Play's algorithm? Does it make sense? One-line-long comments with 1 star are being seen on front page of the apps... What about 2/3/4/5 starred useful comments? Why does Google Play show only 1-starred ones? It does not make sense at all. And these teens are just exploiting this. Why does Google Play's system accept 1-star comments as more helpful than others?
Maybe don't provide a guaranteed way to appear in the displayed comments? I'd expect this to spread outside of Turkey pretty quickly.
Anyway, Google has a few ways they could fix this:
* Allow users to rate reviews. Amazon does this. Why not Google? Or maybe rate reviewers, and don't show any reviews from notorious idiots.
* Interpret the text of the review and check if it matches the score. Show those reviews that sound like they have something interesting to say. If any company can implement this, it's Google.
* Separate reviews by country.
The speculation here in Turkey is that these are just kids. I see lots of complains from Turkish users on lot's of websites. Many Turks are switching to English just to get rid of this kind of comments.
But, it seems the total review average and review count is an aggregate of all localized review sites. So a pathological site will affect the average rating, without non-native speakers getting to read those ridiculous reviews and decided how unhelpful they are.
Sorry it was just my talking out loud figuring out how reviews on Play store are supposed to work.
In 1928 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started a plan to ditch the old form of written Turkish (Ottoman Turkish which was RTL) and implement one based on the latin alphabet in order to fight a huge illiteracy problem at the time.
I question whether they're aware of the grief that their reviews are causing. In any case, it's still pretty inconsiderate to tell someone (numerically) that you think their work sucks, even if you don't really mean any harm.
All in all, probably an extension of the whole "cursing/attacking/belittling someone on the Internet doesn't count" phenomenon.
I guess they don't comprehend stars' purpose. When they are searching apps, they just scroll down to the comments. Stars are not a way to judge the apps. Also, with the Google+ integration, they enjoy their full name is being seen on an app's page. Weird.
(I lived there for a few months.)
What's even more annoying is people that write things like 'Best app ever' and then give it a 3 or 4 star rating instead of 5.
because most people are used to working with big products. Even me, a developer, this is the first time I considered that you could in general email support and not get some patronizing useless robot. It makes sense now that I think about it, since so many of the apps are made by small sized development firms or even just lone wolfs, there's a good chance I could get a human, maybe even another dev!
In general, that would never happen with a large and well known product. Faced with that, people take the only outlet they feel with maybe change something.
The best app ever part. Well...
People always exaggerate, ALWAYS.
Make sure you provide a clear way for them to contact you if they are running into trouble.
Reach out to your engaged users and pro-actively ask them to review the app after you're confident they have had a good experience.
I wonder if at least some of the motivation for "Please rate us!" popups in mobile apps isn't just to get more ratings, but also to get a more representative (i.e., more positive) sampling of user opinions as well.
Man, with PC games you have forums so that's great for communicating, but with mobile it seems like there's generally a disconnect between developer and player. The system, while great to have, doesn't really encourage it.
It is the high school kids that they think it is cool to mess up with big and serious systems in their stupid way. It is fun for them to mess up rules which I think is the same for most of the teenagers around the world. They try to break things, don't listen teachers, don't go to school.
They think that they should be doing what they want instead of what others want them to do.
The outcome for the turkish teenagers irritating behaviour showed in Google's Play Store. That is all what i can see.
Aren't we all tired of these kids actions around us sometimes? :)
And that user then promptly refunded the game within the (then-new) 15 minute window.
And (surprise!) someone ended up uploading a "cracked"  version of my game to warez sites shortly thereafter. Talk about adding insult to injury.
 I used a sneaky way to detect "cracks" in my game that involved, in part, letting the hacker think they'd cracked it: The game would query Google to see if they'd paid for it, and if not, it would throw a "Sorry, you don't own this game" dialog up. There were scripts around that would remove the standard Google DRM, though; instead of fighting that, I LET them "hack" it, and afterwards it wouldn't bring up that dialog any more. But then the behavior reverted to being identical to the free demo (first 30 levels free, then you had to buy the real game). It was "hacked" almost a dozen times, and never once did anyone figure out how to get past the second layer of protection.
And the best part was the encryption on ALL the games' data files was based on a key derived from the binary executable (the .so file), so if anyone were to hack that executable, the game wouldn't run at all. I should have thrown up a screen that let people know that it was a cracked version, and where to get the real thing. And I DEFINITELY should have changed the Flurry code; my "paid game" analytics were completely shot after the cracks were released. Duh.
A serious hack attempt would have broken it, no question; there's no unbreakable DRM, after all, and I wasn't even using serious encryption (I decided it didn't matter: A typical attacker is not going to attack the encryption mathematically, they're going to decompile the binary to get the key AND algorithm, so as long as it can stand up to trivial attacks, it's strong enough -- connecting to a known encryption algorithm might actually make it EASIER for them, since then they'd have known function names and parameters). I just wanted to raise the bar.
As in now those selling "Reviews" for your app; something like $100 for around fifty 3 to 5 star reviews can justify their price by stating their reviewers have consistently ranked as being "Helpful" and always on the "front page" of any app review? And what we're seeing is the reviewers working for these black-hat intermediaries trying to up their overall review "weight"; whereby I'm assuming google takes into account your previous reviews (and their helpfulness) with how long your review now stays on the front page (much like comments staying on top of a HN thread).
Or it could just be a typical fad akin to wanting the personalized car registration of "A1", being top/first etc.
* perhaps the ratio of misleading ratings isn't necessarily high enough to render the system ineffective (iow, it may be just noise), but in order to know that, it appears to me that the meta review would be necessary.
* it wouldn't stop people from trying to game the system (which lead to the idea that even if meta review was there, its effectiveness would have to be tested, maybe by using... a meta meta review?)
Re-installing it should remove your review.
In this case, the self esteem is their comment is better to bee seen then anyone else's so why not manipulate the system? It's some kind of hacking culture but in a bad motive.
A community, be it a virtual or a real one, has its trolls, e.g. misusers. If you promote such a behavior, albeit unintentionally, increase in repetition of such behavior is very expectable. The thing to do in my humble opinion is rethinking this feedback mechanism and rebuild it in the content quality's favor.
"stars ratings" is simple - and in fact too simple. Rating based on likes of friends is the next (current?) evolution - but that has some terrible drawbacks for fairness and socially beneficial ends, after that? Probably based on actual usage, as most social sciences have given up on self-reporting as a methodology and started using observations.
But it's going to be a hard slog - and personally a slog I would prefer to be done openly and not behind closed commercial doors
The city where he was most liked changed from Jaipur to Istanbul which helped detect this.
Good or bad, the crowd is relying on its emerging "wisdom" more 'n more.
"Galaxy S3 incelemesi"
"Samsung SyncMaster 2333 incelemesi"... etc.
Turkish users are used to the word "inceleme". Yorum/comment is like: ah yes I liked, fuck this sucks. A yorum/comment may not include why do you like it/why does it suck, etc.
People are very quick to give 1-star reviews without hesitation.
i am also an android developer and i do not know why they are doing this shit.
The reason I like is because your attitude (without your realizing perhaps) also typifies Apple users' stereotype.
Trying to execute a slick low blow to Android users, you have it explode in your face, and are instead reinforcing the stereotype associated with the Apple users.
(Whether it is true or not, doesn't matter, it is funny that you are reinforcing it).
Sigh. What did i expect from a web designer? /s
I'm not a web designer...
From your website.
Or they could of course just do away with the mechanism that auto-highlights 1-star reviews and instead you know.... ask the user what they want to see. As if people can't handle clicking a bar that says "Read 1 star reviews" a la Amazon.