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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » APPS-alutely » » Sabotaging iForce is 'really' hurting me now . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Greg Rostami
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Hello to my iPhone owning magic friends,

As most of you know, 4 months ago, I released a magic app for the iPhone called "iForce".
http://cli.gs/iForceOnAppStore

If you already have iForce, and have rated it honestly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Over the last year, I've tried to change my "real" job from a traveling salesman (which is a family killer) to a stay at home father that makes a living from developing magic apps.

So far the response to my app has been amazing. All the reviews, from every corner of the world, agree that "iForce is the best magic app ever!". But this letter isn't about the words in a review, it's about the star ratings.

Here's the dark side to this story. My customers think iForce is so good, that they want to hide it from everyone else by giving my app a one star rating. Here are a few examples: (keep in mind these are all one star reviews)


KEEP THE RATING LOW IDIOTS
by tomcat1121 on Feb 7, 2010 v1.2
Awesome app, debatably one of the best and funnest apps ever. Great job. KEEP THE RATINGS LOW SO PEOPLE don't FIND THIS APP OUT. OTHERWISE THIS IS A 5 star APP.

AMAZING
by Topappreviews on Feb 4, 2010 v1.2
Great app, rated only 1 star to keep it hidden really should be 10 stars amazing magic app worth $3!!

READ THIS!!!!!
by Austinjrdn on Feb 3, 2010 v1.2
First, this is the best app ever, I'm so glad I bought it, and if you don't have it, you need it now. KEEP THE RATINGS LOW SO THAT ITS NOT POPULAR! The less people that know these secrets the better!


If you visit the iForce app page, you'll find MANY other one star reviews just like the ones above:

You probably noticed that these reviews not only give my app a dishonest rating, they ask OTHERS to do the same.

So, what started as a solid 4.5 to 5 star rating, has turned into a 3 to 3.5 star rating.

Hence, our ranking has dropped, and our sales have dropped considerably.

I've tried pleading with my customers with this paragraph: (which appears on our app page under "What's New in Version 1.2")

*** PLEASE READ *** To those of you who love iForce but are giving it a one star review to keep it secret. I'm an independent developer who's trying to make a living for my family. It's already tough to get sales on a magic app when there is no word of mouth, but to have your users post dishonest reviews and ask others to do so as well is very disheartening. Please rate iForce with an honest rating. The karma will come back two-fold. Smile

Unfortunately, the above paragraph hasn't helped the matter at all.

Hence, I'm at my wits ends . . . I have no recourse to this kind of dishonest and selfish defamation of my product.

This is so disheartening that I'm seriously considering pulling the plug on my 3 other upcoming magic apps and making iForce FREE.

If one third of my customers are going to sabotage my products, then why would I continue developing any magic app?!

So, I'm asking my friends for a little help. If you have an iPhone, or know someone that does, could you please have them spend a minute honestly rating my app. If you don't have an iPhone, could you please give a 5 star rating to my video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey4vJcyBLkE

If you're involved with any news agency, my situation makes a GREAT story.

thank you very much for your help,
Greg Rostami
slyhand
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I am curious Greg, do they have a point?
Will a high rating make it more popular with the general public thereby ruining it for the magicians?

If not, then why?

I do understand your point as well. Low ratings equal low sales.

Is there a way that only those who purchase it and are magicians will be able to know it is a gaffed app and know how to use it?

When someone reads about it because of a high rating who is not a magician, is it obviously a magic app?

I am not real familiar with the way this whole thing works so forgive my ignorance.
I am getting so tired of slitting the throats of people who say that I am a violent psychopath.

Alec
Greg Rostami
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Hi slyhand,

There are 57 million iPhones/iPod Touches in the world and 6,692,030,277 people. iForce is on a very small number of those devices (and I do mean small). The probability of you showing iForce to someone that knows about it is 1 in 270,000 !!!

If I was to sell 1000 times more iForces then I have now, then the chances are obviously 1 in 270.

I see your point, but what incentive do I have to create a good magic product, when my customers don't want to see me succeed?

The question is what percentage of my customers don't care about my future as a magic dealer. With ONE click of their mouse they have hurt my business. I and Randy on the other hand have spent months helping them with their magic. Do you see my point?

If the purpose of magic is to never sell the secret, then anyone involved in selling magic should stop doing business now.

Honestly, I'm looking for a solution to this problem. This is the reason why I've turned to my friends here on the Magic Café.

sincerely,
Greg Rostami
slyhand
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Like I said, I absolutely see your point.

I also asked if there a way that only those who purchase it and are magicians will be able to know it is a gaffed app and know how to use it.

That way everybody who purchases it as a magic app will feel confident that the secret will stay a secret and everyone who is a "lay" person will think of it as just a regular app with no clue as the the true coolness of it.

Which now that I am thinking about it would really be cool. You could then use their phone or pod and do the same trick without their knowledge that they have a magic app.

How cool would that be, huh?

You would then get a ton of high ratings because magicians would WANT to use the spectators own pod/phone.

Of course I don't know anything about programing it may be impossible to do.

I hope I helped a bit.
I am getting so tired of slitting the throats of people who say that I am a violent psychopath.

Alec
Roger Kelly
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I've tried to rate it from my Ipod touch (connectd to wi-fi) but the option is greyed out for some reason.
Wenger MUST go!
Greg Rostami
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Thank you Roger for trying.

Greg Rostami
ArtofDeception
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I rated the youtube video and the app, Five stars of course, I hope people really stop rating it low and that you can get a good profit out of all the hard work you put into it.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
STM70
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I already had rated the app 5 stars and just rated the video with 5 stars. You put out a great product and you should be rewarded for your hard work. Keep up the work Greg. Please don't leave your fellow Jedis.

STM70
ArtofDeception
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I do wish that the people who rated it dishonestly would get punished, and making the iforce a free app would be a great punishment,sadly not just for them. but that would get their attention.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Roger Kelly
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I see that there is a free iForce lite version now. I've added my 5 stars now I know how to! I love this effect and it should have eleven stars! But making it free to all and sundry would punish us all and that would be such a shame. Please don't do it Greg.
Wenger MUST go!
jlibby
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I certainly hope you are able to resolve this problem, Greg. I have given the app and the video both top ratings.

I also noticed that at least a couple of people who initially gave the dishonestly low ratings have gone back and changed them. Hope more of those folks come to their senses.

Joe Libby
San Antonio, TX
Insert gratuitous self promotion here:
For amazing and hilarious ventriloquism and magic, visit:
http://www.joelibby.net
Greg Rostami
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Thank you all very much for your support.

I've already noticed a positive trend. Your combined Jedi powers are STRONG!!

Greg Rostami
jlibby
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Greg, per your earlier post,I wish I knew someone in the press you could contact. However, off the top of my head I thought of a potentially great headline for a press release:

iPhone Magic App Is Getting Buried ... Because It's Too Good!

You could tweak it, but I can't imagine that angle not getting a journalist's attention.

If you can use it, please run with it.

Joe Libby
San Antonio, TX
Insert gratuitous self promotion here:
For amazing and hilarious ventriloquism and magic, visit:
http://www.joelibby.net
ddenz
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Greg,

I appreciate your "predict-ament". With the market so small for your product, you really need to increase the price. Your application is so under-priced right now. When I compare it to other utilities such as wallets, "thought transmitters" portfolios, electronics, imp-pads, and the like costing from $30 to a $1,000 dollars I think you have a lot of room.

I'm sure that the community would support your product at $20-$25. Now I'll probably get hate mail from the masses for suggesting that. If Apple is the problem with pricing or access there are other routes to go. I'm seeing other web based app stores for the I-phone now, that do not need to "jail-break" a phone to run. I've even bought a magic app that way just to test the process.

Offering your app for free or a free lite version, only cheapens your product, and will drive away your real customer base. The short lived spitefulness will soon turn to regret.

You have an awesome product. I believe it is truly one of the best products to come out of magic and mentalism for years. By the way, I am a hack of a programmer, a hobbyist magician and mentalist, and a Certified Business Adviser full time for New York State.

Please go to the Small Business Administration web site at http://www.sba.gov and look up the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in your area. They offer free unlimited one on one business counseling with professional certified business advisor's. Its free (pre-paid with your tax dollars) and available to any business owner or anyone interested in starting a business. They can help you with pricing & marketing.

ddenz aka Cap'n Dave
Mysterious Mike
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Just rated it five stars. Keep up the good work!
The performance is what really makes it all worth while.
Greg Rostami
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Thank you very much Mike.

Greg Rostami
kannon
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iForce is in the TOP 25 apps on iTunes ... it's at number 9 I can't see bad reviews having hurt it at all.
My work and the Mtangulizi here http://kannonsworks.weebly.com featuring work on drawing duplications, a fiddle-free billet tear, bar mentalism, pendulums
mtmagic
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I just went back and rated it a 5 where it definetly should be!
SWNerndase
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Greg

Your app is excellent. So good that you have created a difficult problem for yourself. You're going to have to decide who you want your market to be--magicians or the general public? Because it's a fact that as you sell more and more copies of your app in general, it becomes less useful to magicians. Yes, I understand the numbers--doesn't matter. If I wanted to use it in any kind of professional context, and just one person in the audience has it on their phone, it is pointless. I've already had two non-magicians show me their version of iForce. (One tried a number 1-8 and missed. The other predicted a bill removed from my wallet perfectly.) And importantly, both were all too eager to show me the secret and tell me what it's called, how much it costs, and how to avoid the "decoy" app. So for me it is now a cool party stunt for friends and a great social trick for casual settings.

I am a partner in a company that develops iPhone apps. Early on my role was to help develop magic tricks for the iPhone. In fact, two years ago we had developed an app very much like yours, but not as robust and customizable. (Did I mention your app is excellent?) I had a series of long talks with my partners about it, and we decided not to release it partly because I could foresee the situation you are now struggling with. Plus, I didn't want apps that revealed real conjuring principles in the hands of the general public. So my partners wanted to sell it to the world, and I wanted to keep it exclusive. Clearly though, marketing it to magicians alone, hiding it from the public, meant low sales/no ROI/bad business.

We thought about pricing magic apps much higher than standard apps to keep them out of the hands of the curious. We worked on methods for offering magic apps for installation without the iTunes store, or how to make a useful app and "hide" the magic features for buyers who were not magicians. But the math just doesn't work if you aren't going to market it to everyone, and in the end we decided to eschew magic apps entirely. We now focus on utilities and games and little novelty apps, and I am happily in the background as an advisor.

So I understand your dilemma. I would never do such a thing myself, but I can't really blame those that give your app a low rating because they want to keep it exclusive. Is it selfish? Well, yes. Does it hurt you? Obviously it does. But secrets matter to magicians. Exclusivity matters. You cannot amaze someone with iForce if they have it on their phone too. You're going to have to come to terms with the fact that releasing an app for the phone that anyone can buy means it isn't a tool for performing magicians, and your real customer base is amateurs, hobbyists and the general public. Not necessarily a bad thing if you are selling software. In fact it's a good thing if the idea is to sell as many as possible. But you will have to put up with magicians who would like to keep it to themselves, and who may resent and resist it being available to anyone with a few bucks and an iTunes account.

You might want to talk to Chris Kenner about all of this. I did. He has insight.

I wish you the best. Good luck.

SWN
Greg Rostami
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Quote:
Your app is excellent.

Thank you SWN, I appreciate it. I agree with everything that you've said, but allow me to point out my perspective on this matter.

Quote:
I've already had two non-magicians show me their version of iForce. (One tried a number 1-8 and missed. The other predicted a bill removed from my wallet perfectly.) And importantly, both were all too eager to show me the secret and tell me what it's called, how much it costs, and how to avoid the "decoy" app.

That's really odd . . . I've been performing iForce longer then anyone else (and I perform it a LOT) I've never met anyone that had a copy of it or knew about it. Maybe that's my good luck. ;-)

Quote:
I would never do such a thing myself,

Once again thank you for your moral outlook on this.

Quote:
But secrets matter to magicians. Exclusivity matters.

iForce IS exclusive . . . at minimum it costs $201.99 (iPod Touch at $199 + iForce at $2.99)

Quote:
I can't really blame those that give your app a low rating because they want to keep it exclusive. Is it selfish? Well, yes. Does it hurt you? Obviously it does.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. This has to do with someone's PERSONALITY (moral fiber, outlook on life, etc.). When someone rates iForce with high ratings they are praising my app and showing their support for my future apps. They want to HELP me.

But, when someone rates iForce with a low rating, they selfishly (with one click of the mouse) want to HURT me.

Well . . . I CAN HURT BACK . . . with one click of my mouse I can make iForce FREE, stop all my future app developments and go back to my day job.

Quote:
You might want to talk to Chris Kenner about all of this. I did. He has insight.

I would love to talk to Chris about this. How can I contact him?

Quote:
I wish you the best. Good luck.

Once again thank you my friend.

Greg Rostami
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