As a developer, I’m interested in the marketing and psychology of pricing apps in the store. At the volumes that most of us sell, a $0.99 price tag is never going to allow us to quit the day job. However, does this token amount of money encourage higher App Store ratings? People who pay for an app are not merely kicking the tires - these downloads are carefully considered and are therefore less likely to disappoint.

In an effort to understand if charging for an app benefits ratings, I sampled the current top 200 free and paid iOS apps in the UK store and checked the distribution of the ratings.

Top 200 Free Apps (UK)
 
  12
 
  115
 
  47
 
  24
 
  1
Not rated
 
  1
Top 200 Paid Apps (UK)
 
  14
 
  118
 
  40
 
  10
 
  7
Not rated
 
  11

 

The distribution is identical! Despite the fact that many of these apps are supported by adverts and in-app purchases, paying for an app does not make us feel like rating it higher. One possible explanation for this could be that customers expect more from a paid app.