Microsoft, during the //build/ conference, “announced that the option would be available for developers to respond to reviews.”1 While the original announcement set May, loosely, as the beginning of this program, the company just announced that they will begin rolling out this feature in a small pilot program that will expand over time. This feature will allow developers to respond to reviews of Windows Phone apps right from the Windows Dev Center. When developers respond to a review, “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.”2
If a developer chooses to respond to a review, the reviewer will receive said response via an email from Microsoft. It is important to note that developers have no access to the reviewers’ email, Microsoft serves as a middle man between all developer-reviewer communication. I digress. Once a developer has responded to a review, it is delivered to the reviewer, via Microsoft. At this point, there are four possible outcomes. The reviewer can “a) ignore the email b) respond to the developer c) update [their] review or d) opt out of all future app review responses.”
This is a pretty interesting new feature from Microsoft, on that Google has made available for Android developers for some time. The goal is to allow developers the ability to “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.”3 Further, Microsoft made a note that “This capability is not to be used for marketing,” and that steps would be taken to monitor for and halt any misuse of this feature.4 Microsoft noted that they will begin rapidly on-boarding developers towards the end of May. Further, there is no action required on the developers part and that they would be automatically enrolled.