Ability for Devs to Rebut Reviews or Petition Amazon to Remove them
TL;DR - I'd like to see the ability for devs to answer low-star reviews (or even Amazon with a template usage response) and/or easily petition Amazon to remove them. I was reading some of the reviews from different skills and while many are valid concerning usability, it is apparent that many users simply don't get the syntax of using skills and the difference between skills and using native Echo device functionality. One review from Fidelity (I do not work for them or have anything to do with their quote skill) suggested that users be able to enter symbols in the Alexa app which is simply not possible. Similarly, reviewers seeing a skill, expect to make calls directly to Alexa avoiding the invocation name, utterances, etc. "Alexa, what is IBM trading at" has nothing to do with Fidelity's skill and of course, the skill never receives these requests - but does get the resulting low-star reviews. These low-star reviews, serve to devalue skills at a time when the opportunity exists to promote skills, encourage innovation, etc, and a lot of undeserved low-star skills does not serve the Echo platform or the dev community. Despite the skill description and how to call and use skills, it's a different animal than downloading an app from an appstore and using it where the capabilities/expectations are pretty well known. Some users just don't get skills yet and setting expectations will have growing/training pains until skill usage becomes more mainstream. Rand
This is a hot topic for me right now. We wrote a couple of posts about the way reviews are happening right now, and the effects this has on how those skills are used. I was going to ask David Isbitski to do one of his weekly chats on the companion app/reviews/other meta features of the ecosystem, but it might be good if you tweeted at him about it too.
I asked for a comment section within reviews a while back. In the regular Amazon store you comment/give feedback on reviews. Under the current guidelines, you can ask to get reviews removed if they say something false (e.g., "sends spam!" when it doesn't). But "it sucks" or "never worked when I tried it" are fine, even if the person forgot to plug the Echo in. I think the skills section* needs: 1. Sort by category 2. Reviews indexed to versions. Steve *It's not a "store" unless you can buy something.
Actually, I might have mis-written. The following seems to be their policy, from:
forums.developer.amazon.com/forums/category.jspa?categoryID=48 ==================== What can I do about incorrect negative feedback? As a general rule, Amazon does not remove buyer feedback even if it is unwarranted or the issue has been resolved. For more information about resolving and responding to buyer feedback, see Using the Feedback Manager. Amazon will remove feedback only in the following cases: The feedback includes words commonly understood to be obscene or profane. The feedback includes seller-specific, personally identifiable information, including e-mail addresses, full names, or telephone numbers. The entire feedback comment is a product review. For example: The Acme Super-Widget lacks the sharpness and speed of the Acme Ultra Widget. However, if the feedback comment is only partly a product review but also contains feedback about the seller’s service, this feedback would not be removed: Seller’s shipping service was very slow, and the Acme Super-Widget lacks the sharpness and speed of the Acme Ultra Widget. The entire feedback comment is regarding fulfillment or customer service for an order fulfilled by Amazon. Feedback reviewed and determined to be relating explicitly to fulfillment and customer service for an order fulfilled by Amazon will not be removed, but a line will appear through the rating with the following statement: This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience. We strongly suggest that you work with buyers to resolve negative feedback. However, if you believe that the feedback you received meets any of these criteria, then contact us by clicking the "By e-mail" button on the right side of this page. Select "Orders" from the left-hand menu and then "Customer feedback problems." We will evaluate the feedback and make a decision whether to remove the feedback. ================================ So, a way to respond directly to reviews, as a way of providing user support, seems like a high priority to me. Steve
I agree the Amazon buyer/seller feedback model has always been questionable. Feedback should either eventually expire like it does on eBay or, should be manageable by the seller/skill-creator. Please note, I think this 'feedback' information is based mainly for seller/buyer scenarios, not skills. if I might suggest adding a URL in your skill somehow so that the user can watch a video of how to use the skill. This might reduce/resolve the vast majority of negative comments. Please keep making skills, we love them!
Yes, this clearly needs some attention. Reviews matter and the current review system, you might argue, is broken. I had (2) total reviews. They were both 5 star. Then along comes this guy who gives the skill 1 star and the review doesn't really even say anything. He clearly was just screwing around. My skill goes from 5 star to 4 and relative engagement plummeted - all because 1 person is just playing around. I know I sound like I am whining about my personal experience. However, I think this is a very good example of one of the shortcomings of the current system. It does have an impact. And to have a high quality skill ecosystem, the reviews need to serve the interests of both the consumers and developers.
I'm sympathetic, of course. I have a lot bad reviews! But I don't think petitioning to remove them is the right move. People should get to express what they want about the skill. Reviews aren't supposed to be reasoned opinions about the technical merit of the skill or anything. They are just people's reactions. I think Amazon -- in the regular store -- does give more weight to reviews that are marked "helpful." That makes sense to me. I really think the solution is just *more* reviews. Once a skill gets enough reviews -- 20...50...100...more -- then they start to become more meaningful. With 3 reviews, it's basically meaningless. Honestly, there's not enough data to say the one star review is an "outlier" in any significant sense. The 5 star reviews might be. Amazon needs to do something to generate more reviews, not fewer. That means driving more people to try the skills. But I hope they clean up the skills section before they do that. Just my 2 cents.
I hear you. And I agree that ultimately more reviews is the answer. But that is not realistic at the moment. I think there are some clear cases. The review that I was referring to is essentially gibberish. It has nothing to do with the skill, or Alexa, or anything. Someone could literally just type a bunch of zzzzzzzz in a review, give it one star and move on ... having successfully trolled the skill. Thanks for the input Steve A. I'm not losing too much sleep over it. Daily uniques on the skill is low and I expected it to be low. But it went from around 15 per day with 5 stars to 5 per day after the nonsense review. Oh well, early days still.