My Day To-Do has been out for more than a year now and recently we got our first negative review/feedback on it and I assure you it was not easy to deal with. In summary, one the tasks that I had assigned to the former marketing intern at My Day To-Do was to contact a bunch of journalists for app review sites and ask them to review My Day To-Do. Of all those contacted, one of them got back to us and offered to review My Day To-Do provided we made some changes, however once we made those changes and asked him to review the app, he told us that he will not be reviewing it! In this post I will describe what his feedback was like as well what it was like for me to deal with.

Why did I want non users to review my app?

Lately, some app review websites have gained a lot of popularity and given how crowded the App Store is, it totally makes sense to have someone recommend whats best to you. Therefore I thought it was entirely logical for me to have a review of My Day To-Do published by one of these sites which lead me to assigning the task to my marketing intern. The intern contacted about 19 such sites and asked the journalists to write a review for the app. I know the exact number because he has kept a list of all those that he contacted, the list had information such as the website, the journalists names, their contact email etc!

Note: Here’s the thing, My Day To-Do’s former marketing intern was quite good and he did an incredible job during his internship. He also took the initiative to make a Bike page for My Day To-Do. Baike in Chinese means Encyclopedia and since Wikipedia is blocked in China, Baike is the Wikipedia replacement for Chinese people (中国人)I am so happy with the work that he did. 

I suppose this is what happens when you get your intern coffee instead of you asking him to get you coffee 🙂 More on this later, this is a topic for a completely different post.

The journalist that got back to us

Of the 19 journalists/sites that we contacted only one of them got back to us and in his reply, he said that I will hold off on writing a review provided you add/enhance a few things. The journalist was from a site called AppAdvice, I had never heard of AppAdvice before but the feedback made sense and the things mentioned were not new to us, I mean it was already on the list of things to do but just lower in priority. The feedback just meant that it moved up in priority. Anyway so we did do the necessary changes and released an update of the app and asked him whether or not he’s ready to review the app?

The response after the app update 

In summary, the feedback was that, the app does not look anywhere near the current modern apps, and it brings back memories of Windows 3.1 and I should be looking at apps like Todoist and making it more like it. Yes when I first read this, I was thought Windows 3.1? what nonsense, I mean look at what My Day To-Do looks like, no way it looks like Windows 3.1, it looks pretty modern. Also one of my goals is to make sure that it’s simplified and does not have the complexity of some of the modern apps. The feedback included some useful and some slightly unprofessional comments that I will not be sharing but the key thing here was that this was someone who had gone through the effort of actually trying out the app. 

A day later… 

As I mentioned earlier, I was furious when I first received the email and I am not proud to admit  that I did loose a day or half a day of productivity as a result of this. However as time passed, I thought about it more objectively and decided to take when I can from all his feedback. Most of it was a just pointless nonsense but there was some decent feedback in it so I decided work on it. Also I thought about this entire episode from a different perspective and I accepted the reality of it, I mean when you release a product for the public, not everyone will like it. 
The interesting thing happening around this time was that the download numbers for the Lite version remained steady and we received 3 more 4 stars+ ratings for Lite. I mean the download numbers are still nothing earth shattering but it is definitely more significant that what they were last year.

p.s. Also the only reason why My Day To-Do Lite has only 9 ratings for it so far is because until last month, there simply wasn’t a prompt or anything in it that would ask users to review the app. Therefore that was something very recent and my post “How and when to ask users to review your iOS app” sheds more light on the technique that I used. 

Lastly, he was polite enough to offer to contact him again once we improve the product, as he would be happy to see what I have come up with? haha ok, so I have absolutely no plans of contacting him again, firstly, I had no idea what AppAdvice was? and my top priority at this stage is still to get some feedback from all the Chinese users of My Day To-Do. I talked about the download spike in a few of my previous post that include “Trying to capture the Chinese Market”. At this stage we still do not have a way to track our users in China, a couple (2 or 3) of them have left a 4 or 5 star rating on iTunes, so we know at least 3 of those people like it. Getting a rating means, that people do actually use the app, I have talked about my logic of when does My Day To-Do ask users to leave a review for the app in this post.

What can you learn from my experience? 

Once you receive negative feedback, especially when it is detailed, set yourself a target to get to that point when you can look at it objectively and separate all the nonsense from it and extract what’s useful and what you can work on. 

Summary

I cannot stress enough that if you are an entrepreneur and release a product for the public please just try to prepare yourself for the inevitable negative feedback. I know I am stating the obvious here but the thing is, I knew about it and it still affected me, so be a little better prepared than me and don’t let it make you loose a  day of productivity.

Maybe you can give My Day To-Do a try and tell me what you think of the design?


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