Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore. We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better.
Just one question, why does Apple still use five star ratings in the App Store? They have so much data at their disposal. How much time a user has spent in an app, the number of times it has been downloaded, how often it has been shared on Twitter, and so many other possible data points. Apple has Genius for apps, yes, but it is terrible. I bet there is a tumblog out there with examples of the horrendous suggestions it makes. Apple should remove the five star rating, switch to a like-based system, or move the ball forward in this area.
While we are at it, I have yet to find a place where App Store reviews are helpful, I get apps because people recommend them to me, not because they get raving reviews on the App Store. What would be really nice to see is commonly used apps from the people I follow on Twitter. That would be much more helpful than seeing what “DJDJDJz” (that is an actual screen name) thinks of Summly (in case you have to know, he “luuuuuves” it, but naturally fails to explain why.) The reviews on iTunes cater to poorly-informed, badly-written, and polarized reviews.
In the end, the App Store’s discovery model does not work. The way I, and most people I know, find apps is through personal recommendations. (Usually when a friend of mine gets an iPhone, the first thing I am asked is what apps they should get.) As a bonus, apps wouldn’t ask you to give them a five star review every time you download or update them if reviews were removed. If five star ratings and reviews were removed in favor of a recommendation system, I believe the App Store could be more engaging for users.