May 29, 2022

Jakob Nielsen: Why WSJ Mobile App Gets ** Customer Reviews

Why WSJ Mobile App Gets ** Customer Reviews

The Wall Street Journal‘s iPhone app had just 2 stars in Apple’s App Store at the time of this writing. Averaged across 68,418 consumer reviews, the rating is not just a reflection of a few irate users.

As a rough estimate, a 2-star average across 68,418 reviews means that 40,000 users gave the application a 1-star rating. Given the 90-9-1 rule for social design, most users never bother reviewing products, so 40,000 low scores represent at least half a million dissatisfied customers.

The WSJ is one of the world’s most respected newspapers and has long been a digital pioneer. How can it produce a 2-star mobile app?

The answer is clear from reading the reviews. The 3 highest-rated reviews all gave 1-star ratings, and their headings were:

  • “Slap.” (The first sentence? “These guys have the nerve to charge additional fees to current online subscriber.”)
  • “Useless app, have to pay twice for same content.”
  • “Charging for content — twice!?!”

It’s clear that people are deeply offended by being asked to pay again for mobile access to the newspaper when they’re already paying for a subscription.

I would agree with these users if in fact they were being charged twice for the same articles.But they’re not. Mobile app access is free to paying website subscribers: they simply have to log in with their existing userid and password.

Source: Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox