Earlier this week Facebook made a small but significant tweak to the way applications are reviewed: now, Facebook is prompting users to review applications in the uninstall flow.
As can be expected, this has led to surge of low 1-star and 2-star reviews for many prominent applications, including Great App-designee Causes. These reviews can easily be identified by the lack of text comments accompanying the rating, since there is no option to leave text comments when removing an application.
There was no official announcement from Facebook on the change. Rather, developers began to notice dips in their ratings and posted several accounts on the Developers Forums in this thread.
While there are obvious disadvantages to the system, what are the benefits? According to Facebook’s Mike Vernal:
We’re exploring a variety of ways to increase the number of reviews per application, including (but not limited to) this change. We think that giving users the ability to review the app when they remove it will help to capture one pretty valuable type of feedback.
It is still unclear what, if any, effects the review system will have long-term for applications once the Facebook Application Verification Program gets into full swing. While there may be several iterations to the current design, the review system is large is likely to stay.
Several alternate ideas were proposed by developers in the forum thread to either replace or compliment the current implementation, including time restrained reviews, an FBML tag for a drop-in review widget, and the most popular idea (it seems) is a review widget at the bottom of each canvas page. Below is a mock-up of what this might look like:
Facebook’s Platform Team has since been quiet in the thread. However it is likely that we’ll see some iterations on this design in the near future — and we’ll keep you up to date on any updates.