• Devin Rajaram

    Why is it that you guys only review the top apps. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an app that you guys gave a 1/10 rating. Some apps are still worth the look at even if one aspect of it benefits the user.

    • Toby Seers

      Hi Devin,
      We try to stick to only reviewing apps that we consider to be not only good but useful to our readers. If we pick an app to review and find that it really is atrocious, we don’t review it. There is not a great deal of point writing an in-depth review of an app that is cruddy, it wastes both our and the readers’ time for little to no benefit.

      That’s why you won’t often see app reviews with a score of under 7/10. At Appstorm we want to be a place where you can come to discover and read detail reviews of great apps and make a more informed decision as to whether you want to download it. :)

    • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

      First off, this is not one of “the top apps”. It’s in beta, has no place in the Mac App Store right now, and did not deserve one star. I often criticize apps when they need it, as you might notice across with my other work the network. A good app is good, a bad one bad. That’s it.

    • Ansatz

      Devin, the real reason is because they make the bulk of their revenue through advertisements and sponsorships and being critical of an app generally makes app developers less interested in sponsoring appstorm.

      • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

        Hey, I’m not scared to criticize an app if it needs it. All I ever give is honest opinion. Are you asserting that I don’t?

      • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

        Hey Ansatz, that’s actually not true at all. We turn down advertisements (literally) from apps we feel are shady or sub-par. We do occasionally review apps that are popular but we think aren’t good, as a warning of sorts to our readers, but we try to make our site show useful apps you’ll really want to use. Believe me: we could fill the site with reviews of junk apps you’d never want to use, but I can’t see how that’d help anyone.

        FYI most other sites seldom review apps they hate, either. It simply wouldn’t make sense.

      • Ansatz

        Hi Jacob and Matthew, thanks for your response.

        Jacob, I wasn’t asserting you were being dishonest. I have no idea how you gleaned that from my comments. The original question posed was why appstorm tends to review “top apps” and not apps that are rated around a 1/10. Toby made a comment in which he essentially said that app storm doesn’t review bad apps because it is a waste of everyones time. This sort of policy, on its face, is silly for an app reviewing website. If I’m interested in purchasing an app and want to know if it is any good, but you’ve refused to review it because you thought it wasn’t good enough, then what do I do? I don’t know it is bad. You know it is bad, but you’ve refused to tell me that. So what I have to do is go to a different website that is willing to tell me the app is bad and, long story short, I don’t bother coming to appstorm anymore because they selectively review apps.

        An example that comes to mind, for me at least, is the difference between the show Top Gear in the UK vs Top Gear in the US. US television is funded by advertisements so the US Top Gear has a strong tendency to avoid criticizing specific auto manufacturers whereas UK television is not supported by commercials and they have no such inclination. The practical upshot of this is that when Jeremy Clarkson says a car is good or bad I believe him completely (or at least don’t doubt that this is his real opinion). When the US Top Gear says a car is good, I don’t have any idea what their opinion of a bad car is so I have no basis of comparison for when they say a car is good. They think every car is good. Appstorm works the same way and, as a result, I view the website as a list combining popular apps and sponsored apps as opposed to, for example, a collection of app reviews.

        Matthew, you seem to be responding to an attack I didn’t make. I’m sure you do turn down sponsorship opportunities and I never said you didn’t. Appstorm is trying to come off as a reputable source of opinions on applications and it obviously doesn’t help generate that reputation when you blatantly pass bad apps. It is very much a balancing act between not scaring away potential sponsorships will still building credibility. Appstorm, as with most other organizations with similar objectives, have learned that the best way to do this is to always be favorable to the subject of the review but make sure the subject of review is more or less deserving of that positive review. This makes readers think you are impartial and convinces sponsors that if they sponsor you and you accept, they will get positive publicity. I can appreciate how clever this business strategy is, but I do find it a bit disingenuous to pretend like this isn’t what is going on. Also, it is just untrue that other sites don’t give bad reviews. I’m a somewhat frequent reader of other techblogs like Engadget and Gizmodo, and they give negative (bordering on needlessly vitriol) reviews all the time. When they hate something, they really hate it, and when they like something, they really love it. I have a separate issue with them, which is that they overuse hyperbole and they try to sensationalize everything to make it more interesting and polarizing.

        To go back to the Top Gear analogy, the fact that Top Gear USA likely turns down commercials because they are inconsistent with their narrative is not the same thing as saying that they don’t avoid reviewing bad products in an attempt to never be critical. This is what I meant by my original comment.

        Thanks

      • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

        Ansatz,

        Interesting analogy, and a very good one at that. I know what you mean. Clarkson and Hammond bash cars a lot and that’s a great thing. (By the way, the U.S. Top Gear is absolute rubbish and I can’t believe people watch it.) I honestly love doing that and don’t mind being critical, but the thing is, there should be a selectiveness to it. We review the top apps, whatever they may be, and tell you if they’re worth it or not. Other apps we review are for you to know about and discover. Would you want to read about a terrible app? No, you want to know the best one for the job.

        Top apps should be reviewed here and they usually are. Half the purpose of the site, however, is tell you about new apps you’ve not heard of. It’s our job to discover new things and inform you of their existence, because most of the time there are great new apps out there that don’t get enough mention for what they are. If there are bugs, I always mention them. If there are any other issues are missing features, I’ll point them out because you should know about them.

        If you want something else from this site, like recommendations of bad apps, then that’s your choice. The Internet is a vast place filled with what you want, so go ahead and search for a review of something that’s not on here, or ask us to review it if you want to. If it’s rubbish, I sure don’t want to waste my time or yours with a full review.

        • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

          I couldn’t have said it better myself, Jacob. Thanks!

          Ansatz, to be honest, the thought of not covering an app just to help sponsorships has never even crossed my mind as editor. And I sure hope we can do better than the US version of Top Gear. We hope you keep reading, and as always, please feel free to let us know your thoughts and send any suggestions you may have to us in comments or through our contact page!

      • Ansatz

        Hi Jacob and Matthew, thanks again for the response

        Jacob, I think you are misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting what I am saying. I’m not asking you to “recommend” bad apps, I’m asking you to “review” bad apps so that I and other readers will know they are bad without having to download or, worse, purchase them to find out. The notion that I would be asking you to review an app, determine it is lousy and then tell others to buy is completely incoherent and I don’t know why you would assume that is what I was suggesting. Also, I want to make it clear that I’m not accusing you of giving apps a pass or not properly critiquing flaws or bugs in an app.

        Put yourself in the readers shoes, though. Say I’m interested in some new productivity app which happens to be really poorly designed. I don’t know it is poorly designed, at least not yet, so I will likely look for a review of the product to see if it is any good. Since I know appstorm reviews apps, I go to the website and do a search for the app and get no results. Does this mean that appstorm hasn’t gotten around to reviewing the app or does this mean that they did look at, decided it was not a good app but didn’t make that information available to their readers? I don’t know and neither do any of your other readers. This is also problematic because it means I will likely interpret an app missing from your network as one that you just didn’t like. Case in point, when I was reviewing cloud services and was considering trying something instead of dropbox, I found cx.com which works almost identically to dropbox but offers 10GB of space. I liked their website and it worked well for me but when I looked for a review on appstorm on the service, it didn’t exist. Since it is relatively well known, I naturally assumed that you knew about it but didn’t like it and, since I think it is well made, I decided that in at least this case appstorm was wrong about whether it was a good app or not. To be clear, I’m still not sure whether you are unaware of CX.com or you decided it wasn’t worthy of a review but, regardless, forcing your readers to guess is, at best, confusing to readers and, at worst, hurts your credibility.

        Ultimately, the point I’m trying to make is that most websites dedicated to reviewing products don’t make this seemingly strange decision to not comment on bad products. For example, beeradvocate.com reviews all beers, not just their favorite beers. This allows their website not only the ability to make recommendations about their favorite products but also helps their readers avoid bad products and, on top of that, gives their readers a good point of comparison. Cnet reviews both good and bad products to help their readers/viewers know what is good and what is bad. ifixit.com reviews the repair-a-bility of even bad products. The retina macbook pro, after all, got the worst repair rating they had ever given but they reviewed it anyways because the readers still wanted to know. All of the concerns I’ve expressed in the comments are complaints I couldn’t levy against these other websites.

        Matthew, Top Gear USA is a special kind of abomination. However, one of the many things that makes it bad is how bland and predictable their reviews are and I do see appstorm starting to head in that direction.

        again, thanks for the replies.

        • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

          Good thoughts to keep in mind. Rest assured: I definitely don’t want AppStorm to get bland and predictable, and will be trying to make sure we keep it fresh.

      • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

        Ansatz,

        Again, I understand your view and why you want AppStorm to become an all-around review Web site. Unfortunately, that’s not what it is. If we miss an app that looks interesting, then I’d suggest emailing it to us. Likewise, if there’s something that has been updated and need a refresher review, let us know. We usually talk to the developers about that though.

        You assuming that we just didn’t like the app is taking everything way too far. You’re over thinking the whole AppStorm purpose and forming opinions of the Web site based off of a single lacking app. That seems awfully stereotypical. I still don’t think you understand the point of AppStorm either. We aren’t here to take little apps that are not developed well and beat them down because of that. We’re here to promote quality apps and review top ones, as I said before. If they’re bad, we say so.

        AppStorm is not CNET. It is also not The Verge, Engadget, or anything else you’ve read. It’s a unique network that doesn’t waste readers time with trivial information. In short, AppStorm is not a database. It’s not gdgt or Wikipedia for app reviews.

        Again, we do talk about bad apps if they are popular. Whatever’s very popular in the App Store is always reviewed, no matter how terrible it is. The thing is, most readers are not like you and they want to find an app that’s genuinely good.

      • Ansatz

        Jacob,

        I think, again, you are refuting arguments I’m not making. I apologize if I’m not being clear enough but I think a careful reading of what I wrote will show that I’m not saying what you seem to think I am.

        First, I don’t necessarily “want” appstorm to be anything in particular. I have no vested interest in whether or not appstorm succeeds or fails and, as has pointed out already, for all the things the I find lacking in appstorm I can find it elsewhere on the internet. If appstorm were to disappear from the internet tomorrow, most people (myself included) would likely not have our lives affected to greatly. I promise I don’t mean this as an insult but just a point of fact that there exist thousands of techblogs and videoblogs, most of whom have large swaths of overlapping content. The same could be said of all other tech related blogs. The original point of interest in this discussion was “why” does appstorm function the way it does, not “should” appstorm function the way it does. I tried to explain to the original commenter “why” you guys tend to only review top apps not whether or not it should be that way. The distinctions I made about appstorm being unlike other reviewing websites was meerly to point out that the decision to mostly review “top” apps was out of step with a typical product review website and that this wouldn’t be the case unless you had some justification. Your justification seems to be that it is better that way and I was just trying to explain to you that there were very good reasons other product review websites didn’t adopt the same filter you claim is beneficial to your readers.

        I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say “assuming that we just didn’t like the app is taking everything way too far”. Precisely what you told me is that if you don’t think an app is very good, you don’t review it. So, in the example I gave, when you reviewed popular cloud storage services and didn’t include CX.com, I had no choice but to assume that you were unaware of it or didn’t find it worthy of review. These are explicitly your standards for review, so I’m not quite sure why you are suddenly telling me I shouldn’t think they apply to appstorm.

        Also, I REALLY don’t understand what you mean by “That seems awfully stereotypical”. What stereotype do you think I am falling prey to? Does there even exist known stereotypes centered around app bloggers? Did you think I was making some kind of comment about, ethnicity, culture, gender or religion? What on Earth are you talking about in this part?

        I certainly didn’t suggest that appstorm should “take little apps that are not developed well and beat them down”. Where in anything that I said did you get that? I’m genuinely confused how you are misreading my comments to such an extreme. In fact, I said quite the opposite when I asserted that blogs like gizmodo and engadget are overly hyperbolic and vitriol to things they don’t like. What I am saying is that most product review organizations are willing to review all products within a certain category. Beer advocate, for example, when reviewing light beers will review bud light and give their honest opinion of how good or bad it is and how it compares to other beers in the same category. Appstorm, on the other hand, will review productivity apps, banking apps, content creation apps, etc and leave out a large number of products without indicating if it had anything to do with quality, availability or unfamiliarity. Again, I’m not saying appstorm needs to operate in this same way, but I am saying that because appstorm doesn’t it lacks some non-trivial amount of credibility that is gained by not excluding products from reviews.

        I also don’t understand your statement, “If they’re bad, we say so” when you’ve explicitly told me that if apps are bad, you don’t say so. Do you mean that sometimes you indicate when an app is bad and, other times, you don’t review the app? So appstorm is selective about whether or not you are willing to review bad apps? Is their a heuristic that determines which bad apps you will comment on and which ones you won’t or is it effectively random?

        I agree with your point that appstorm is not CNET, the Verge or Engadget but what I’m trying to get across is that appstorm is worse off for not being like them, not better off. There is a very good reason most techblogs don’t adopt the format you guys have and that is because, contrary to your claim, appstorm does feel like it gives more trivial information and is less interesting. When I go to Engadget, for example, I don’t necessarily know what to expect. They might have a teardown of a piece of hardware, a guide to working with some piece of software or hardware, a report on fiscal earnings of some company, new product unveilings, etc. When I come to appstorm, I know exactly what to expect. All posts on this site take one of three forms: App reviews that, by virtue of them being popular, I’ve almost certainly already tried before and with a rating probably somewhere between 7/10 to 9/10, Polls asking what hardware, software or features people like and, lastly requests that we go check out sponsored apps or enter in to win free apps from your sponsors. To be fair, as a blog that only wants to review apps, it is almost certainly harder to generate interesting content to the same level as the other blogs. Regardless, I don’t accept your tacit assertion that appstorm is less boring or has less trivial information than the other tech blogs you referenced. In fact, quite the opposite is true in my experience.

        I promise I’m not trying to find bad apps. I don’t know why you insist on mischaracterizing my points like that. Are you misrepresenting my points to try to make it sound as if I am incoherent and ridiculous so my points carry less weight and you don’t have to address them? I think I’ve done a good job of understanding your comments and responding to them civilly so I don’t think it is too much to ask the same from you.

  • http://stygyan.es stygyan

    I use Sparkbox, available on the appstore. One of the major selling points for me is that you can tell it where to host the database – in my case, I use dropbox, just to be able to share it between computers.

  • http://www.shinyfrog.net Danilo Bonardi ( One of the Developers )

    My first reaction when I discovered Mac.Appstorm wrote a second review of Pixa (while in beta) was: Wow!
    After reading: What?

    I have to thank Mr. Penderworth for discovering bugs, strange behaviors and suggesting GUI improvements, but the main point of the review is “Pixa is not for photographers” which is true, why not trying to figure how a designer will use it ?

    Also, why not mention at least one of the other features: live folders, openmeta integration, quick export, screenshots, color loupe, cloud export or file templates ?

    Why saying PIxa is only for JPGs and PNGs when the file formats managed by pixa are psd, ai, jpg, png, tiff, pdf, bmp, gif ( also animated ), ico, icns, eps svg and also zip and rars ?

    If you want to import folders without making them projects you can drop on the library or use live folders, is it any wrong UX design ? which improvements you propose ?

    I think this review did not deserve one star. A good review is objective, a bad one bad.

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      To be honest, it was an accident we reviewed it twice in that short of a time. Sorry about that.

    • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

      Like I said, it was hard to find the purpose of this app. I’m sorry for not looking at it in the right way, but the information on the Web site is insufficient and I couldn’t make much sense of the manual either. It’s not that the documentation is lacking, just that the app doesn’t have a said purpose. Even in your comment, you didn’t mention what this app could do for designers.

      As for a good review being objective, you must be joking. I’ll agree that a review should be objective at least a little. However, a review is someone’s opinion of the app, not a news post about it. I’m not a copywriter who advertises your app, nor am I an all-out app critic. I’m just trying to evaluate what you’ve created from my point of view. I give suggestions and hope you don’t take them in a bad way. A bad review I not simply bad without a reason for being so.

      I’m just trying to help you improve the way you tell people about your app, not tear it apart because it’s not good. This one was simply not for me, and I could not find a reason for even a designer to use it over something like Adobe Bridge, since most designers have the Photoshop suite for their work anyway. If you’d like to explain more, that’d be great, but otherwise I stand with my initial evaluation.

      • Danilo Bonardi

        … Also a bad review is writen without having a full understand of what you are reviewing.

        I’m glad of app criticism because I know it’s hard to get the true feel out of people, and I’m not questioning the free internet or the liberty of expression.

        using the Top Gear analogy you compared a city car with a jeep, without knowing what a freerider needs.

        … I’m not really into cars, iPhone integration is what I look for.

  • http://www.macjuicynews.com jacqueline

    I always get good information from your reviews. In-depth in just the right areas and I usually agree with them. Thanks for writing such intelligent reviews. You help Mac users choose wisely from the fast-growing population of apps out there. (hooray for more apps!)

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      Thank you!

  • Moes

    I also use Sparkbox. It’s not yet a “mature” software but has good potential. It’s ideal for designers to store “inspiration” pictures and material (like textures, …)

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow