Respond to App Reviews: a phased rollout

At //build/ earlier this month, we announced that the option would be available for developers to respond to reviews, beginning in May. Today I want to share that we’ve taken the first step toward implementing this feature with a small private pilot program that we will expand over time. As a result, some customers may start to hear from developers in the pilot program as early as later this week. This post will summarize the program and our plans for making it more broadly available to developers.

Respond to reviews

This new capability enables developers to respond to reviews of Windows Phone apps directly from Dev Center. Once you create a response, users will receive the comment via email from Microsoft and can even contact you directly if you included your support email address in the app submission ‘Support email address’ metadata.

Dev Center:

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This capability is designed to help you maintain closer contact with users to inform them of new features, bugs you’ve addressed, as well as get feedback and ideas to improve your app. This capability is not to be used for marketing and does not provide you as the developer with the user’s personal information, such as an email address.

At this time, developers will be able to respond to reviews posted from Windows Phone 8.1 devices, as well as reviews posted from any Windows Phone device in the US only.

Please keep in mind users may report developers who abuse this feature through the Report Concern form (accessible also from app details, shown below). If misused, Microsoft will revoke developer access.

Windows Phone experience:

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Rollout plan

The roll-out will begin this week with a small pilot group of developers who have been pre-selected to participate. The goal of the pilot is to ensure the capability is working as designed.

Assuming all goes as planned, we’ll begin scaling up participation in May with additional developers invited to participate each month. Invitations will be prioritized based on app downloads and the pace of the roll-out will be driven by user feedback.

No action is required on your part to participate. As we scale, your developer account will automatically be enrolled in the program and you will be informed via email. We’ll also use this blog to update you on progress.