I spotted the Drivetribe iOS app in the featured content in the app store, I’ve seen it buzzing around Twitter so I thought I’d have a look.
I noticed the reviews were about 2.5 stars on average, which seemed a bit low so I had a look through them.
Basically, it gets rated 5* by most people, 3-4* by others that use it and everyone else that rates it gives it 1*, the point being everyone rating it that low hasn’t even used the app.
Drivetribe requires you to sign up with Facebook, there are no other signup methods available, no simple email sign up, no Google, no Twitter. Apparently Twitter is coming soon, but not yet. This doesn’t bother me at all, I have a Facebook account. I’m not religiously addicted to Facebook, I don’t have it on my phone so I can’t get drawn into it but I stalk my friends every other day or so and use the messenger a lot. I also use Twitter, Google and have email so I’m basically sorted on any form of sign up.
I know not everyone has all these sign up opitons available to them, but app developers (and those that design the apps) usually aren’t out to please everyone on the internet, they’re there to please as many people as they can as quickly as possible at the beginnig and if it works out they can start picking up more users.
Developing apps takes a lot of time and effort, sure big well promoted apps have a lot of funding behind them but it still takes time to get going and you need to secure a decent userbase early on to justify the continued development of the app (or any product really, you either need to start making money early or get traffic/footfall to justify someone else investing in you – unless you’re inventing something like the zip or sliced bread)
Using Facebook sign up as your first option for users is a good idea in an early release, they have in excess of 1.5 billion users, that’s nearly a quarter of the population of the planet being able to sign up to your app by dropping adding a few lines to your code.
You don’t have to do sign up forms, verify emails, worry about storing secure data, Facebook sorts all that out for you. Not everyone that wants to use your app will be on Facebook and not everyone on Facebook will want to use your app, but you’ve saved development time and got an enourmous base of potential users.
If you get some success from that base, you can easily justify adding other sign ups (that will be smaller in numbers, including email sign up) and hopefully increase the number of users you’ve got.
This isn’t uncommon, ok often there’s the option of “Facebook or email” or “Facebook, Twitter or email” etc, but I can see why development would skip email sign ups these days, especially in a first version.
Also Drivetribe is a social media app anyway, so they’re probably relying on the content being shared via other social media networks, so the email sign up users are going to be less important.
Now you can take offence by that, by being shunned or “discrimintated” as some people have stated, but my main problem with this all is does that make the app 1*.
Just because you can’t use it, does that make it “garbage”?
I bet the First Class seating on a plane, the driving experience of a Rolls Royce or whatever it is you gain from a $1000 dollar handbag wouldn’t get awful reviews from people that haven’t used them.
I guess what this all boils down to, is I take offence from people that review software, that has been developer by people just working their jobs (not by Hammond, May and Clarkson themselves) and then people that have chosen themselves not to use Facebook and therefore not let themselves use the app to leave negative reviews.
Those star ratings mean more than the words – you could write a complaint about Facebook sign up somewhere else but saying the app is bad when you haven’t used it, well that’s damaging someone’s livelehood. Somewhere down the chain, there are software developers building apps, in an incredibly competitive markert.
If you have a complaint about Facebook login, Twitter login, some thing else that you’ve opted out from asy our own decision, complain about that – but don’t redirect that frustation towards someone else’s hard work.