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We’re very happy to announce that several of our friends have been nominated in different categories for the Best App Ever Awards. For four years, Best App Ever has been in search of the most innovative, most useful, and most entertaining apps out there, regardless of the operating system or device. The awards are supported by a list of excellent resources for app enthusiasts, including 148 Apps, Pocket Gamer, Android Rundown, Portable Gamer, Giggle Apps, App Hall of Fame, and more.

Voting is open through January 31, 2013. Winners for all categories, including the Best App Ever, will be announced on February 26, 2013.

iCookbook™ is nominated for Best Cooking App. iCookbook has over 2,000 recipes from bloggers and big brand names. Shopping lists, personalized recipes, voice control and more make this the essential app for any chef, regardless of their skill level.

iCookbook™ Diabetic is nominated for Best Health App. This app from the iCookbook™ team was created with diabetics and health-minded chefs alike. With all the great features of iCookbook™, this app also provides nutritional information and access to curated articles on healthy living and diabetes care.

Catalogue by TheFind is nominated for Best Shopping App. This beautiful app for iPad combines dozens of catalogs from brands like Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, Saks, Brookstone, Sears, Best Buy and more into one easy-to-use, easy-to-organize shopping center.

I Spy With Lola Panda has been nominated for Best Kid Distraction App. From the makers of the beloved Lola Panda suite of apps, this hide-and-go-seek addition engages kids with fun from around the world, sneaking in a bit of learning alongside the entertainment.

Arc Squadron is nominated for Best Action Game. Splendidly rendered on the Unreal Engine, this rail-shooter pays loving homage to “Star Fox,” while giving it an exciting face lift.

Quizboard is nominated for Best Trivia Game. Strategy and random knowledge collide in this fun game, challenging players to not only probe their memory, but test their cleverness against their opponent.


We've had a lot of people lately coming to us and asking how to get their iPhone app reviewed by the various iPhone blog sites around the net. While there is no guaranteed method, ( 148apps told us they get over 400 requests to review per week – there is simply no way they can get to all of them) we sat down with SlapApp.com's Co-Founder  Ryan Johnson this weekend and he gave us a few pointers. 


1. Read and understand the blogs preferred method of communication. Each blog has a different process, some bloggers have an email address to send submissions to, while others use a web form on their site. Just because you were able to track down the email address of every writer that contributes to their site, doesn't mean they would all welcome an out-of-the-blue email that goes outside their normal submission process and clogs up their professional email boxes. Ryan Johnson, SlapApp Co-Founder

2. Don't force them to do time wasting research. Simply submitting and saying "hey, can you review app X" is a sure fire way to not get reviewed. At the very least you need to provide:

  • App Name
  • Company Name
  • App Category
  • A brief overview of your app including highlights (what makes it special?)
  • Direct link to app

3. Spice it up with some media. You will hardly ever see an app reviewed without an image, video, etc. to catch the readers eye. Pulling those images and making those videos for those that do it themselves is a time consuming process. Make it easy for them! Include your screen shots, videos, promo art, icons, etc with your submission. Do NOT however send them as attached files unless specifically requested. Host your images on photobucket or one of the various other image hosting sites (Photoshop has an interesting new one) and send the link to the image. This goes for videos as well.  

4. This one may be obvious – but if its a paid app, provide a promotional code. On the same note – if you are a blogger yourself and are reading this – when a developer provides you with a promotional code, if you do not think you are going to review the app, be so kind as to send the code back to the developer unused.

5. Stick to the theme of the site. Some sites like Touch Arcade have very specific focuses (Touch Arcade is specifically for games). It is a waste of your time as well as the bloggers time to et submissions that do not fit with the site in question.


6. Additional information that may help getting your app reviewed:

  • Current Rank / Highest Rank Achieved (Most bloggers generate revenue as a iTunes affiliate, they want to promote apps that sell)
  • Date of Release
  • Notable mentions in other media (and links to them – bloggers love to cross link, it helps their SEO)

7. Getting close to launching a brand new app that has never been seen before? Offer a blogger an exclusive "first look" at the application. Bloggers are like other news reporters in that they like to be the first to a story. Dangling the "exclusive" carrot can catch a writers eye like nothing else can.

SO YOU GOT REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Congratulations! You got your app reviewed! What to do now? A couple basic things:

1. Mention the review in your app description. It's good for you (assuming it was a positive review), and its good for the review site.

2. Share the review link as much as possible. If your apps direct a lot of traffic to a blogger, the blogger may remember this in the future and be more inclined to blog about your next release.

3. Thank the reviewer. Common courtesy goes a long way these days. A good review can take 30 minutes to an hour of the writers time, if not more. Time spent on your application. Show them you appreciate it.

SO YOU DIDN'T GET REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Not every app will get reviewed by every site. Often times the blog wont even contact you to let you know, they simply wont do anything with it. Don't get disheartened, but ask yourself why. Is your app a purple cow? That is – is your app remarkable in any way, shape or form, or is it one of a dozen apps just like it that are already littering up the app store. As I mentioned before – blog reviews are a type of news… so make apps that are newsworthy.

A Special Thanks:

SlapAppLogo

A special thanks to Ryan and the rest of the SlapApp.com team for providing this interview. For help getting your app reviewed by bloggers, mentioned in the press, or just talked about in general… drop us an email, we would be glad to help!


Have you been thinking about getting your app reviewed by a popular review site like 148apps.com or AppGirlReviews.com? I’ve had a few of my customers come to me concerned because there might be another app in iTunes that happens to be slightly better, done by a large company like EA Mobile or Digital Chocolate, or has more features. Reviews by their very nature are suppose to be unbiased, so – like every 14 year old acne faced boy, they ask themselves the same question:

“What if they don’t like me?”

The fear that a bad review will hurt sales can be justified, but as CNNMoney reports – even bad reviews can drive sales!

Take their example of a the product website AlpacaDirect.com, a purveyor of Alpaca products such as sweaters, socks and yarn, considered by many as an alternative to cashmere.  Recently, they hired PowerReviews, a company that provides the tools which allow consumers to leave ratings directly on your website – both good and bad.

Not all the reviews were good! Take for example this post from a customer in Santa Cruz about a pair of alpaca socks:

** (2 Stars)
Fit: Feels too small
Pros: Durable, Regulates Temperature Well, Wicks Away Moisture
Cons: Uncomfortable
Best Uses: Daily Use
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Comments: I’ve ordered and enjoyed the old version of this sock but it seems like they have changed and possibly the wool isn’t as “smart wool” as it used to be. Next time I’d order a man’s version, and will avoid these WOMEN’S LARGE. I went by the picture to identify the right sock to order but the product looks slightly different.

Before bringing in the PowerReviewer tool, Alpaca Direct had  a page that hand picked all the best comments they had recieved about products and displayed them for customers to see. Now – they are paying out of pocket – and sometimes to have bad reviews up on their site. So why keep it up?

First of all – no one believes you when you put up your hand-picked reviews. How many reviews did you have to get before you got a good one? Consumers want to know. Sites like Yelp and CNet thrive on direct from the consumer reports because people want unbiased opinions to help guild their spending, especially in a tight budget economy.

The most impressive part however, is that Alpaca Direct has seen sales increase… even on products with bad reviews!

“A month after installing the PowerReviews service, Hobart saw sales climb 23% on items that had customer reviews (even that cardigan, which garnered an average of four stars).”

So what does that mean for iPhone developers?

At Watkins Mobile (the parent company of The Appency Press), we devise reviews into two categories – external and engine. External reviews are done by professional journalists and bloggers and are posted either online or in a print publication, a few steps away from the actual purchase.

Engine reviews are those that consumers leave in the sales engine itself (read- in iTunes, Blackberry App World, Android Marketplace, etc). These are usually gated so that only consumers that have actually downloaded the app are able to rate it and leave comments. These review sites often have major traffic – and can expose your app to new users that would be willing to download and try your program – even if the review given was not the best. This is no excuse for shoddy programming – I in no way want to encourage developers to strive for anything but the highest quality work – but you cant please all of the people all of the time.

Okay... so maybe 2.5 stars isnt what you were hoping for...

Okay... so maybe 2.5 stars isnt what you were hoping for...

In iTunes specifically – when you delete an application from your phone, you are allowed to give it a star rating. The problem with this, is that its not a valid picture of your consumers. People that keep the application on their phones long term often do not go back to the app store to provide comment on an app they use. This leaves us with the majority of star ratings from the (hopefully) smaller portion of consumers that are uninstalling your app.

After an email  conversation with Jeff Scott, founder of 148apps.com and the O.A.T.S. group (Organization for App Testing Standards), we decided to come up with a way for developers to get reviews on their apps within the search engine that is both unbiased and inexpensive to the developers. We have put together a large app review focus group called RateMyApp, composed of consumers from all walks of life with only an iPhone as their common denominator, willing to download and leave their honest opinions of apps directly into the app store.

*please note – we DO pay the focus group back the cost of the apps – they are donating their time and we do not want them to be incurring costs*

Is it worth it? We think so. If you believe in your app, and have put in the time and energy to get it developed, it is important to get feedback from real consumers – even if sometimes its tough love.

To join our app rating panel, or to have your app rated, check out RateMyApp!