Microsoft launched its pilot program this week, first announced at BUILD, which allows Windows Phone developers the ability to respond to app reviews. The pilot program contains a small group of pre-selected developers, and is currently only US-only, although Microsoft will slowly expand the program each month to new developers prioritized by app download volume.
Developers in the program will be able to respond to reviews posted from Windows 8.X devices, triggering a notification email to the reviewer. The reviewer then has the option to respond or update their review. They can also opt out of future notifications, or even report developers abusing the feature. Microsoft has been explicit that the tool is not to be used for marketing, but rather for gathering feedback and updating users on new features and bug fixes.
As with any communication system related to tech reviews, Microsoft’s initiative has the potential to be both a giant boon to developers or a flaming clustercuss.