How important are app reviews to you?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| June 20, 2013

Every day in my Twitter stream, I see people talking about applications. The best, or newest, calendar replacement app. Or the newest and flashiest calculator. Maybe it's a way to aggregate a bunch of news pieces from across the Internet, or just a news app in general. Of course, there are plenty of people talking about the next best game you should download, too. Whatever the case, the conversation about apps hasn't grown quiet since their introduction all those years ago. In fact, the focus on the apps, the ecosystems they inhabit, and the sheer number available has only intensified.

So it's easy to surmise that apps are important. It's one reason why some people refuse to use mobile operating systems like BlackBerry 10. It's another reason why some think a platform like Windows Phone may never really take off. And, others would point to Apple's iOS success because of the apps made available. The angles you can take on how important apps are, both in the negative and positive for a company or developer, are innumerable.

The end result is the same, though: They're too important to ignore.

And consumers don't ignore them. They download them by the tens of thousands, if not millions. If you gain enough popularity within any specific digital retail location, be it the App Store, the Appstore, Google Play Store, Windows Phone Store, or BlackBerry World (or any other), then your chances to rake in the dough multiply exponentially.

Gaining that popularity can be a tricky slope, though, can't it? The same can be said for gaining any type of popularity I imagine, but with apps it can make or break a developer's dream. With so many different avenues, though, the chances are at least good, one can hope. At least there are chances, right?

One way to get a quick head start? Attention from websites that review applications. If you make a good enough app, you'll gain the attention of these sites, and even more down the line. It's a good way to get your foot in the door, at least, especially when you look at how jam packed with apps these digital stores are.

The other way, though, is from app reviews right there in those stores. The reviews that people can see right when they check out the app. Where there are ratings, words, +1s, thumbs pointing up, or whatever else to signify an app is good or bad. Worth the download, or not really worthy of anything at all.

I download my fair share of apps every month. So many, sometimes, that a monthly allowance wouldn't be a bad idea. And, from time to time, I'll check out the app reviews before I hit that download button. I have found, though, that I read these just to pass time, or to see what others are saying about the app or game I'm currently installing. I'm not sure I've ever read a review that has prevented me from downloading something.

While I may not read reviews to sway my decision one way or another, I know that they do play a role in whether or not I even see an app in a digital store. Those ratings that I may not read are all aggregated to put together an overall score, which will lead to a higher placement in the store rankings if that's how the rankings work.

So, they still matter to me. I may not read the details, but I get the gist thanks to those ranking stars. It's like the Cliff Notes version, and I'm okay with that. Oh, and while I've rated apps in the past, I don't think I've ever actually written a review for an app or game in an online store. Not yet, anyway.

So how do you feel about app reviews? Do you actually read the reviews people have written for some apps, before you buy or download it? Or do you just look at the stars, and make a determination from that? Do you skip them entirely, and just go off what you find out on your own? Let me know!