How many games have you bought based on good reviews and recommendations? One of my favourite games of all time, Portal 2, was bought following a recommendation from a friend, and I’ve bought countless apps on my devices based on reviews I’ve read across the internet. Reviews are a great way of discovering and judging apps and games you’re interested in buying.
However, they are even more important to developers where bad reviews can make or break there game. Reviews play such an important role in a game’s reputation and marketing that a PR firm contracted for the game Duke Nukem Forever threatened to blacklist publications for giving bad reviews to the game. (However, the publisher soon parted ways with the firm due to the scandal.)
Promoter is a web app that can help developers, publishers and PR firms by aggregating mentions and reviews from a wide range of mainstream blogs and sites for a game. This means a user can be left with a timeline of their game’s activity on the web, as well as presenting select reviews with a public page on Promoter.
Once you’ve added a game and it’s platforms to your Promoter profile (you get one game with the free account, or unlimited games for 99€/yr), the first core feature of Promoter is to track mentions of your game. From a list of hundreds of publications, Promoter will scan RSS feeds for your game and share mentions of your game. You can refine these results, which refresh every hour, with specific keywords added in the game’s profile editor.
Promoter will even email you when it finds a new mention, which can be useful for indie developers of smaller apps, but for top-tier games (I tested the app using Portal 2) will give you a ton of emails. From what I can see, there’s unfortunately no way to limit these or just turn them off completely, which is disappointing. I’d love to see some sort of option to refine what emails you receive, including the ability to define what specific sites you receive emails about.
Promoter will also allow you to read the mention within the app itself, if it’s not restricted by the site’s RSS feed. You can also click through on mentions to learn more about the publications, including what promotional codes you’ve assigned to said publication (we’ll get onto that more a bit later) and any contacts, although I didn’t see how the latter works or how you connect it to a service that would pull in contacts.
As I mentioned in the introduction, reviews play a massive role in a game’s reputation. Promoter includes a system for aggregating reviews, which can be added in manually.
If you head over to the reviews page, you can add a review of your game through a form. Here, you simply add in the URL of the review, the publication and it’s author, the numerical score, date, headline, text and quote. Two of these pieces of meta data are especially useful. The last one, the review’s quote, is especially useful if you decide to create a public reviews page because that is what will appear to visitors. The numerical score is used as part of an averaging of all press scores to give you a snapshot of your game’s overall favorability with the press.
Something I’ve unfortunately been unable to try out, but that seems very interesting, is promotional code tracking. Here you can enter promotional codes as part of Apple’s App Store systems and then track who you send them to. This way, you can easily see which promo codes have led to reviews by different publications.
I’ve personally been unable to try out this feature since I’m not an app developer myself, but, in theory, it seems pretty cool.
The final core feature of Promoter is the webpage option that can pull down selected reviews and present their quotes and links on a webpage to share with people. A sample webpage can be seen below, feature reviews that have been chosen with specific reviews out of an article. Naturally, this webpage also links back to each review so visitors can continue reading.
The interface of the app is nothing special and is rather prosaic. The content of the page is based on a light grey background with black text, with a black navigation bar above, and lacks the style many other web apps have.
However, the functionality of the app is great. The whole concept of being able to track a product post-launch is not new, however, and some apps like Flowdock, already feature some sort of integration of this feature. However, Promoter does this really well and things like email notifications and the timeline view of your mentions and reviews can be really convenient. The tracking of promotional codes can be helpful to smaller developers who want to make sure their codes are going to good homes that will send in reviews.
As I’ve said before, for smaller developers, this app is a fantastic way of handling post-launch reviews and press relations. In fact, it seems like it could be useful for apps of all types and sizes, not just games.