App Store Drama

I released my app Find My Parcel about a month ago. I will to try write all the problems I have encountered and how to solve them. Mostly.

When I first released the app, program was getting 10-20 downloads per day. It was not much but it was giving me a feeling that what I did was working. In first days, all reviews were positive. When I first saw my first purchase from UK, I guess  I was jumping to moon back and forth. Then something unexpected happen.

As usual I was checking my stats with Fabric Answers. (I highly recommend integrating Crashlytics and Answers) I saw that my download stats were going crazy. I mean crazy according to me. I was getting like 40 downloads in a minute. What did happen? When I told my brother he told me “Your app is on Turkish App Store’s main page” Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Even though it may look nice, this gave me a huge number of headaches till this day. As you know there is no program without bugs. If a program is bug free it is either too simple or it is not well tested. Whatever you do, your program will crash maybe just because of low memory. It is very hard to tell to normal users. When program crashes, most of the users are really cruel. Here are some examples from Turkish App Store(translations by me)

App crashes ★
by satrianix – Version – 1.1 – Sep 14, 2015

I installed and deleted

It closes ★
by Pnyrr – Version – 1.1 – Sep 16, 2015

It closes always

Doesn’t work ★
by Ananızın kuzusu – Version – 1.2 – Sep 18, 2015

You must be fool to expect that an app that supports that much of couriers works. We are talking about an app which even can’t track PTT. This is enough to test an app. Don’t try.

Only big reason for crash for the old version was I was not sanitizing user input well. Actually Alamofire caught me off guarded for implicitly unwrapping. Do you think below numbers are tracking numbers??

IB 827688 (check the space)

AY 621000

0507 xxx xx xx (phone number)

507 xxx xx xx (again)

12 32 152

13 1539 8571

Some of them gone further and even wrote with country code

0 | 00:00:39:439 | $ Adding Sürat Kargo +90538xxxxxxx
1 | 00:00:41:355 | $ Adding Sürat Kargo +90538xxxxxxx
2 | 00:01:12:487 | $ Adding Sürat Kargo +90 (538) xxx xx xx

Most depressing thing is even though it is user’s mistake, they attack you without any mercy. I really don’t know the reason of this and I guess I never will.

After I saw this crashes, I started to sanitize user input in every part of the app. Crashes were solved. Then our next problem came. Users who don’t know iOS.

When you don’t buy premium, you can only track one parcel. Pay attention to this, if you want you may delete your old parcel and use the app again and again. Deleting parcel is very simple. Just like every iOS program, you swipe from right to delete and select “Delete”. Everybody who uses iOS knows this. Since email,notes,alarm all these programs use this gesture. Additionally I made a Welcome screen and put a picture to show how to delete. I also put this information on App Description on App Store and also put on FAQ section in the app. After all this info, could you look at those reviews?

Lacking ★
by Aykutsahinnn – Version – 1.1 – Sep 11, 2015

You can’t save more than one parcel

Just 1 parcel? ★
by Sayilgggg – Version – 1.3 – Sep 18, 2015

App only allows tracking of one parcel. You enter a single tracking number to test and you are done 😴😴 you can’t delete your parcel and add new one. It asks 6 TL($1.99) for the rest. I guess it can’t track other couriers. But I don’t know because I can’t try. He has thirst for money 💸💸💸💸💸

How can you interpret those reviews with good fate? Look at last one, emojis, sarcasm… I am such a devil who has thirst for money. What can you say to someone who doesn’t know how to use iOS? Apple doesn’t allow you to reply reviews. Even though these reviews are totally misleading and insulting, there is very less that you can do about it. You can ask Apple to delete but I heard it doesn’t have much effect. They will stay there forever. There is someone who insults you but only thing you can do is shrug your shoulders.

OK, What you can really do about it when you see something like this?

Actually in my first days, I was really depressed. Now it also bothers me but I ignore any comment which doesn’t come by email. Otherwise those negative reviews eat you from inside. Even though the person who wrote that review is totally wrong, you can’t write anything to that person or anybody who read it. Only thing that you can do is to get motivated by constructive reviews. I guess a person who bought my app from UK wrote following

This is an awesome app for tracking any parcels you may have coming or even to check on parcels sent. It looks great with a simplistic style but also very feature packed! It has loads of post companies and even tries to match the tracking number but this can be a bit hit or miss but it’s very close and if it does not pick the right one it will list recommended ones and this has not failed me yet. There are no bugs that I have seen. I’d recommend this over Posted and Parcel that is on the App Store! Also the premium is lifetime and it’s not much and well worth the asking price!

I was so happy when I first saw this. It is very rewarding to see that someone appreciates what you made. I don’t want to cause misunderstanding. Most of reviews on Turkish App Store are positive. Those reviews really gives me a boost and motivation to go on.

Wonderful ★★★★
by NuRuNB – Version – 1.1 – Sep 17, 2015

It is super beside one parcel limitation. For people who deal with parcels 5₺ is not much. I like these kind of apps.

Awesome ★★★★★
by İrişko – Version – 1.1 – Sep 14, 2015

In normal version you can’t track more than 1 parcel. But if you track domestic or internationals packages like I do,  it really makes your life easier. When I messaged I got a reply less than 1 hour. I think their support is wonderful and this app really deserves 5 stars

It is really good to see kind person on Internet. Whether it is 4 or 5 stars, when the review is fair, it gives you a direction about your future progress. For example when iOS 9 was first released, my app had a major bug on iPads. When user tried to buy iAP, program was crashing. Fortunately user who experienced that issue was very kind. God forbids, what would he wrote if that user thought that I was “thirsty for money”. Instead he politely messaged me. Since this was a major bug Apple approved my app very quickly thanks to expedited review. His problem is solved after 1 day. After that he also mailed me and thanked me. What a great person he is! Those kind of fine human beings keep me going.

Of course my app is not perfect. Its color, icon or its user interface is not top notch. I am not a designer and if you think it took 4 days for me to design the icon, you will know how I suck at designing stuff. I keep going developing the app and I try to close my eyes to bad reviews. I hope I will support WatchOS 2 and couple of features that come with iOS 9.

If you read up to here, you are such a patient person. You may think why such a drama? I just want to write get things off my chest. Aren’t blogs are made for that?🙂

3 thoughts on “App Store Drama

  1. Thank you for your article! I felt pretty much the same after i read angry/sarcastic reviews on my (freemium) app at apples ios store. It seems the reviews fade somehow if you release new versions. I wish apple provided us an option to reply to some of these messages..

    • Thanks for your comment. Apple accepted my removal request and they deleted that particular hateful review. I think if you find a comment which just attacks you personally you should report it by iTunes connect. They may not remove “this app crashes” or “this app is not good” comments, but I believe they remove this kind of hateful comments. Good luck with your app!

  2. I feel you, sir!!! I’ve been silently admiring your programming skill although you were a chemistry teacher. Thanks to you, I’ve learned some coding skills from a chemistry teacher😉

    I can tell how bad you must have felt to see those discouraging comments from noobs when you should have been praised for inventing such a great app…..

    Anyhow, just write your thoughts off your chest when you want to let them out. I, your friends, your students, and the visitors of your blog will be reading it and feeling your pains.

    But make sure to share your blog on your Facebook page so that I or others can see since we’re following your blog.

    Samnang la or, lork kru Fa!!! ^^

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