Once every so often I take a break from the usual support emails and development to just read some app reviews and see what people are saying about the app. After reading a few more today I'm finding that the content is the usual mix of relevant, irrelevant and impossible requests. I've been selling my app for a year now and I'm finally starting to ignore the reviews (which is the best way to keep a clear head).
Here's the general list of concerns from the reviews in the past few weeks:
1) The app is slow, please fix it.
2) My USB camera isn't supported without additional software so I give it 1 or 2 stars.
3) Private cameras are being published to the internet.
4) The latest update is bad and breaks the entire application.
5) Lots of lag and no live feed. The same car was on camera 6 times in fifteen minutes.
6) Video feeds are boring, nothing ever happens.
And here are my responses (with injected sarcasm so I can have some fun):
1) The app pulls data as fast as the network connection allows. More often than not the camera is slow to output video. Public cameras are under a load that is roughly 100-1000 times their capacity so yes, they are slow. Tell your friends to stop using my application so that you are the only one looking at the cameras and it might be faster!
2) If you are refusing to install webcamXP or some other PC/Mac software to get your USB webcam working then you are going to be waiting forever. There is no magic way for another application to fetch video from a USB webcam over Wifi/3G unless it broadcasts the data over the internet. Please don't blame Live Cams for this because it's a basic networking issue and has nothing to do with my "lack of support" for the webcam. You need software to be on the host PC to resolve this and no amount of complaining will avoid this :)
3) As stated in another blog article, this is untrue. Live Cams does not upload or publish any data anywhere. If your private cameras are in the public list then they were already on the internet and I found them there. Camelive.info is the website where the majority of my public cameras were pulled from. I strongly suggest that you add a password to your security system if you don't want others to see it. Don't install a security system if you leave it unprotected and don't want others to watch.
4) None of the updates would be released if they caused problems like this. What DOES happen however is the occasional corruption of files when the updates are installed by the firmware. I have found that roughly 1 out of 15000 customers experiences this so every release I get a bunch of emails about it. I suggest you make a backup of your data with iTunes before installing any updates. The data can easily be restored if you do, but is lost if a failure occurs and you don't!
5) That car driver must be dizzy.
6) Sorry if the feeds are boring but have you ever watched a security guard at a desk with video monitors? Most of the time they are bored too. It's a good thing if we don't have robberies and car accidents every few seconds! Live Cams is not an entertainment application, it's a utility. Some people find it entertaining but that's not the intent.
I've listed a few of the negative reviews but keep in mind that the majority of the app's customers are very satisfied. These are 6 reviews out of 3/4 of a million users. I know that most of my existing customers support my efforts and they continue to send me encouragement via email every day, so thank you! I just enjoy taking time out once in a while to respond to the critics.
Critics - Please Read
App reviews (both negative and positive) are welcome. Keep in mind however that they are anonymous and there is no way for me to respond to them directly or even identify who wrote them. If you are having problems and want some help you must contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org