1. Make Sure to Build the Wrong Features

Users complain a lot about features which don’t work. So what would be better than building things they won’t use at all? Features not getting used are the ones with the lowest number of bugs reported.

2. Don’t Listen to Your Users

This goes hand in hand with the advice I just gave. Why should we listen to our user base? Aren’t we experts who get paid for developing good software? Would you give feedback to a chef who wants to cook you a steak?

3. Ship No Matter What

Every user is actively waiting for your next release. Due to this, there is nothing more important than keeping your schedule. Make sure to do whatever it takes to bring your updates to the store. The user will appreciate it.

4. Don’t Worry About a Few Crashes

You also can see this as some kind of extension of rule #3. If there are already a few crashes during your tests, they for sure will not affect your users. I remember having read some studies about testers and developers using apps differently than real users anyway. Like I already said in the previous rule, prioritize the release over having a few crashes.

5. Slowness Is Nothing to Worry About

Maybe you have mixed feelings about crashes. Let’s talk about slowness in your application. In general, a user is used to waiting. He waits in all areas of his life. He might be waiting for his next paycheck, he might be waiting for the next garbage collection. So no reason to worry about letting him wait a few times here and there in your app. After all, he is used to it.

6. Make Sure That Users Train Their Brain

You totally should make sure that your users are aware of what kind of settings they made. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remind them of their password. The best way of making sure they don’t forget it, is to make them enter it every other time you start your application. The most effective way of doing this is to just remove the credentials or other settings sporadically.

7. Use Notifications for Everything

Most of the users for sure have nothing better to do than to interact with your app. Make sure that they are up-to-date about everything your app is doing. You always hear about establishing a connection between you and your user base. Is there a better way than using push notifications?.

Make sure to congratulate them to their birthday using a notification. Another good idea you could have is to send them notifications when something happens on your team. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic hearing about the new coffee machine for the developers?

8. Change a Lot in Every Update

The user should clearly see that some things changed in between the updates. Since what is the point in updating, if nobody realizes it? Also, users like to adjust their behavior and explore new alternative ways of doing things within your app.

9. Make Sure That Every Update Needs a Re-Install

Together with the previous update, we could name it “make sure the User notices that he installed an update”. Most apps use some kind of popup of telling a user what changed – Don’t do that!

Everybody is doing this. Posting this information to the change notes in the app stores is much better and more effective. Nobody needs an explicit message telling them what changed. It should be visible from your app alone. An interested user then can go the store and look there for the changes notes they didn’t see since they enabled automated updates.

10. A Little Bug Party Never Killed Nobody

I hope you already internalized rule #3 in which we learned that shipping features and updates have the highest priority. A few bugs here and there are not the end of the world. The same what applies for waiting is also applying to bugs.

Users are used to applications not working like expected. “Working as implemented” is a comfortable way of expressing the autonomy of your developers.

11. Everybody Likes Running into Old Friends

Make sure that a few of the bugs occur again after they have been fixed. After all, your developers spent probably a lot of time fixing them the first time. This experience is also reminding a user from time to time what improved in the past. Overall a users which gets reminded that there was this bug in the past and it was fixed will be much happier.


I really hope these guidelines help you in reaching your goal of killing your App in the App Stores. If you follow my advice here I am pretty sure you will eventually succeed.

Ok, I hope by now you already figured out that this article is quite zynical and ironic. Nobody should be doing the points mentioned above. At least if he not really wants to get his app slaughtered by reviews in the App Stores. Hope you liked this short list of things you definitely shouldn’t do.

I would love to hear of your past faux pas or other advices we could collect for people trying to wreck their App Ratings. Feel free to share them with me on twitter.

About the Author:

Marcus "Mo" Eisele

Marcus is fascinated by technology. He loves learning new things.
He is a Software Engineer at Daimler TSS and has a personal blog at MarcusEisele.com.