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Google Play Review Responses

"Sometimes a user just needs a helping hand, or perhaps a new feature has been added and the developer wants to share the good news. That’s why we’re adding the ability for Google Play developers to respond to reviews from the Google Play Android Developer Console."

"We’re releasing this feature today to those with a Top Developer badge. And based on feedback from users and developers, we will offer it to additional Google Play developers in the future."
[This post is by Trevor Johns from the Android team — Tim Bray]. User reviews on Google Play are great for helping people discover quality apps and give feedback to developers and other potential app ...
Wayne Patterson's profile photoLiam W (theandronerd)'s profile photoPaolo Conte's profile photoDaz Kuffs's profile photo
I hope this does not mean that in the future all new features will be available to "Top Developer"s first and other/regular developers later.
Any ETA on when this will be available to all developers?  This is the single most frustrating part of the "comments" system.
A much awaited feature but why only for top developers? Aren't all developers made equal in the system. :)
I want to answer the comments too!
Finally!!! I hope it come to all developers soon
Available to top developers, arguably the group least in need of the feature. As a small-time developer trying to improve the quality of my apps, I find the most frustrating obstacle is my inability to have meaningful communication with users! They have problems I can't replicate on my devices, and I can't ask them for details. But I'm sure the feature will be available to everyone eventually, and I'm glad to see it finally materializing. :)
I'm sure its only top developers because they don't want the comments to turn into flame wars, with developers replying to comments like "your juzzzt stupid newb!"

They've got to keep it classy lol
It's to top developers only for now so the feature can be user tested and improved upon before rolling out to all devs, simple as that.
I'd wish I was a top developer, I have > 500 000 installs and 4.8 average for the app and want to reply to those ~130 users who didn't read the app description and put me 1 star ratings =)
I imagine previewing with "top developers" is a great way for the Google Play team to iron out the kinks - they probably already have good communication channels with them and get feedback.
Finally! Now I only have get past negative comments and ratings to become a top dev so I use this. Awesome -___-
Makes sense to release it to the devs it will make least difference to first.
+Serge Baranov  Same here. A quick count on the developer console puts me at almost 2 000 000 installs, but never featured or otherwise "liked" by Google (even though various apps have been in a lot of Android related news). This is nothing compared to the 50 000 000 installs some of the top developers have though (but some of them only because they're featured, I'll bet).

Also, as +George Whiteside  stated, seems to me the top developers need (and want) this least of all.

+Android Developers  All this is nice and well, a welcome addition I will certainly use, but when are you actually going to fix Play itself ? 

The constant download and purchase failures that are your fault but drives angry customers to my inbox have to go. Whenever the user gets an error inside the Play app, a developer is contacted. Maybe the error box should state something to prevent that ?

Or, how about people that factory reset their device ? They sign into Play again, the apps seem unpurchased for a while. Guess who gets the angry emails ?

And what about customers getting charged multiple times (some even three or four times) ? They come to me as well, angry as hell. And again it's a Google fault - you should not be able to purchase the same app multiple times on the same account.

The best part ? If a customer contacts Google with these problems, your support tells them to contact the developer. Hurrah !

Also, if somebody contacts the seller/developer through viewing the transaction in Wallet (requesting a refund, request for status, etc), you get a nice email with the details, and a link to respond/handle the transaction online. This link doesn't work. It points to ... if you replace wallet with checkout it does work. Not a biggy, but pretty annoying. Again, this is not the first time I have reported this, but Google Support's comeback was that "checkout is gone and replaced with wallet, links do not work" - which would be funny, if it wasn't so sad.

Now, honestly, I don't mean to be mr grumpy in here, but earlier attempts at (more friendly) contact have simply been ignored, and most of the negative responses I get seem to be cases like those outlined above, and I literally spend one to two hours per workday handling only these specific cases. For getting 30% of the money, I expect you to do better. It's seriously strange that I almost need to hire a part-time support person to respond only to cases that should be handled by Google and have nothing to do with me or my apps.

The average user does not understand any of this - all they know is that my app experience was shitty for them!

End of rant. I hope somebody at Google who actually understand the above reads this and forwards it to the right people. Still love Android, see you all at I/O ;)
+Logan McNaughton Delaying it won't prevent flame wars. As I see it, the developer should be allowed to suffer the consequences of treating the users badly. If I saw a developer replying to comments in that way, I would mark the comment unhelpful and not download the app. If it's really bad, there's the comment reporting feature.

I have no doubt that it's being limited so they can make sure everything works properly before letting it go wild. Top developers are expected to have a reasonable understanding that new features sometimes have problems, so they would be more tolerant than, say, some newbie developer with a short fuse making flashlight, wallpaper, or sound board apps just for money.
Finally. At least we'll have something to (slightly) counterattack reviewers who hold ratings hostage, never updating their review when we do the fix/change they requested... we will at least be able to inform readers that the problem doesn't exist anymore.
Great feature, two thumbs up!
Why is it for Top Developers only? Or alternatively, what it the process to become one, so we can take advantage of this great new tool? 
Please, please, please add it for the rest of us as well! "Top developers" aren't the only ones who care about their users...
Awesome! Will definitely solve a lot of problems but what are the requirements for top developer attainment?
REALLY looking forward to having access to this
My play store listing says to email me if someone has problems, and even an an-app pop-up dialog when first run saying exactly the same. But still get 1 star reviews that are completely false without any attempt to contact me for assistance
Not fair. Was looking for this feature for a long time and unhappy to see it is available only to top developers. Why this discrimination?
How to send feedback from google play developer console??????? Is there any email address available??
oh God, more negative 1/5s from people who won't understand that we can't answer to comments yet... this feature is absolutely great, but please extend it to ALL developers asap.
only Top developers atm. meh!  hope it will be soon available 4 all dev!
Where is the "-1" button? I really love the feature and would like to see it, but it is poor that it is only available for top developers. Google play! does its best to keep small developers small, but it should keep in mind, that the biggest part of the "300,000" apps they are advertising Android with are from minor developers like me ...
Really looking forward too this feature. Sad thing though, if you are top developer, you are already in a good position, and answering the 5% of your reviews that got 1* won't have any impact what so ever.

The ones who need this feature are the small developers who are dependent on every good review they can get.

Kudos for finally bringing this feature, shame on you to roll it out to the ones who need it the least.
When will it be available to all of the developers ?
It's the little guys who need it most. When you have 1000s of reviews, interacting with one customer is of little use. When you have 20 or so reviews and one guy makes some incorrect comment (and awards 1 star along with it too) it can make a very substantial difference. Being able to communicate and assist just might get that rating corrected.
+Adam Lock that is exactly right. my apps have a couple dozen reviews at most... every review is critical to my overall market rating

I am more than happy to help every single user that contacts me for help! Heck, I have fixed issues that were reported to me.. ones that I could not reproduce on my own handset... in under 24 hours. But the 1-star ratings I have are from people who have ignored my market description and in-app requests to contact me should they have troubles... troubles that I WANT to help them with...

Being a small-time app developer... it really SUCKS that I cannot reply to low reviews. At the very least, I want to be able to offer them help. At the most, I will solve their problem (heck, I have even refunded people on my paid apps when they have had problems even when I have resolved them.... it is WIN-WIN for everyone involved)... PLEASE Google, open this up to the rest of us!
Why am I a second class citizen? I need to talk to my users just as much as a "top developer" would although I am more likely to actually do it.
We could use some more Google Plus integration. There could be the option to set a link to a Google plus app page on every app so the user could add it to his circles. With this we would have comments, feedback and the ability to publish news to followers.
I hope this feature is soon available to all developers, otherwise all the good applications made by small developers will eventually converge to mediocre ones, shall they all be judged by the stars they get from users. When an app gets more than 4 stars, any one star from an unhappy user, for whatever reason, can drag the average rating down quickly.

A well designed application by small developers with a lot of features will get good ratings from the targeted users in the beginning, but when users with different interests join in, one star comments start popping up. Without a proper way to respond, the low rating will stay unchallenged, the application will be demeaned, and it will eventually be crunched up by the system which in turn will push it down in ranking and will list it in the lower visibility zone. Potential users naturally will shy away, and eventually the application will not be able to generate enough traffic to support the developer.

I planned a lot when I decided to move my applications from Windows Mobile to Android. I had quite a variety of applications for Windows Mobile. Some of my WM applications even got the attention of several news media and was covered by mainstream magazines (not to brag, simply wish to state that I am and have always been willing to be seriously involved with my applications).

Having done one port of my software and released it under the title of AndroXplorer File Manager. I practically stopped and canceled the rest of the plan. It's been a while since then. I have been taking the attitude of wait and see. Even though I'm still maintaining the application I released to the Market, I find it hard to start another long term Android project. In order to make a good application; it requires time, dedication and resources. A small developer like me would tend to tread as carefully as a tight roper over the Niagara Falls, the assurance of a fair playing field is just like having a safety rope attached.

I had high hopes on Android OS with its open source, I love the fast pace of changes in it, I have nothing but the highest regards for those who make this ecosystem works, but, really, the Market (Play Store) is the biggest problem and it shadows over everything.

A fair playing field is urgently needed to avoid Cyber Darwinism, where established developers with capital are getting all the advantages and small developers are being left to fend for themselves on the slippery slope. This I think will lower the interest of many experienced developers. Offers from other competing operating systems will eventually drive developers away from Android to look for a fairer playing field, or even if the developers stay on, the participation rate will be minimal, more like a weekend project.

The decision to favor "Top developers" and any other favoritism are all against the fundamental principle of an open source platform, which I believe should be all about a fair playing field for everyone. You can argue that it is a test period before the feature being fully launching but the fact is:
small developers suffer real time while established developers with huge capital, mostly, have no need of this feature (I did a survey on how many of the so called "Top developers" jump in to take the advantage of this new feature. I have yet to find one giving response to the many one star comments they received).

I sincerely hope, whoever is reading this and has the power to make a difference; please, make the Market (Play Store) a better and fairer playing field for everyone and not just a few. I believe good applications from dedicated developers (either small or established) will make a big difference when this platform is facing deep water.
I am not agree at all about to release only to TOP DEVELOPER !!! why they paid more then 25$ as all the developers paid?
Google some time make very strange decision.
Welcome news indeed. I sometimes get scathing reviews from freeloaders who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying for my app, and end up loosing all their data. It would be nice to be able to put my side of the story.
hallelujah! the long awaited feature is finally here! :)
Sorry if this has been asked. Are these responses going to be public? i.e can other users read them in the Play store?
Some good content has gone. You have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Where is the Hello View tutorials, they were great, My students loved them and for me were very useful when I was learning Android. Please re-instate them, or I will just have to host them myself (from a cached copy).
Has anyone seen a developer reply in the wild?
So, when will this come to all? I need this - I am a very small dev and need it.
Please make this available to everyone! There are so many users that don't understand that no one is going to reply their comments... 
There are also many frustrating one-star reviews beacause the app wont download or update...
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