Update app or change name - clean slate for ratings

If one has an app that had issues on some phones - leading to all those giving 1/5 ratings, what should one do if one fixes those issues.

Update and let the bad ratings remain (though Google Play does label them as “this review is for an older version”) - but ratings will remain.

Or issue as a new app - i.e. App becomes App 2 - the advantages are:

  • clean slate on ratings
  • can possibly move all old app users move to new app (by issuing a dialog box - triggered by an AppBrain Remote Settings perhaps)

Disadvantages are:

  • will lose any Google Play rank - but if app is better can try to recreate rank rise (as for first app)

I read somewhere that moving from App to App 2 is generally seen as a good strategy (which is practiced by some of the major apps as well).

So no debate on this issue - always better to issue as new app (if one manages to improve over all earlier issues) ?

I think you can easily recover from bad ratings without releasing the app under a different name. Remember to put a request for review somewhere in your app (for me the best place - in a game - was on the start screen, but shown only after user played some levels and wanted to exit the game) - you can even ask for a rereview. People who haven’t uninstalled your app might give you 5 stars now for fixing the problem.

I have a ratings box already (using Apprater/Appirater type stuff) - and it is possible that folks will reverse. I have seen some folks reverse their ratings (and their comments) after they have discussed the app issues over e-mail.

I had android audio issues - and those pissed off users on phones (Samsung notorious for that). I suspect these folks won’t be around to change their rating.

This is probably a well-rehearsed strategy by the big app makers - as most of them also issue as Angry Birds 2 etc. (though they do much bigger changes).

One more “advantage” to add to the list - is that “one month” that Google gives new apps - which maybe one can get again for the new app.

If that can combine with a sudden spike of new users from old app to new app - that MIGHT be an advantage the old app did not have (as it is similar to developing an app reputation outside the Google Play market and then releasing it there getting a big spike). So moving from old app to new app may be a good strategy for that reason.

The new app may thus be able to get back in the ratings - and perhaps even in a better position ?

One further advantage (and this is related to user-filtering as is the strategy behind Apprater and the strategy you mention - i.e. remind users later so only fan-users rate) - is that users who upgrade from old app to new app will generally be more fan-users - and may get good ratings.

I am leaning towards the new app name strategy though.

But it could also backfire if the new app doesn’t do anything great (worse would be having user base split up between the two apps - and THIS perhaps is the only (?) disadvantage of the new app approach).

But perhaps if the new app fixes some serious issues - then it may make sense (i.e. as long as everyone will eventually want to get to the new app).

Thanks for your feedback !

My advice if you are going to do this I would do it along side a major update to your app. Give current users something new to encourage them to download the new app and uninstall the old.