There’s no way for the developer to provide interaction with users past the limited text field for their app’s description, which is 325 characters, other than by commenting on their own app.

This puts the developer on the defensive already..  Some folks will assume your app is trash if you don’t 5-star it.  Some will assume you’re a jerk if you do 5-star it.

Which leaves you with updating your comment now and then in the hopes that the user you’re trying to help sees it.

Like most devs, I have a website (this) which is linked in the app, and in the market info.  You just have to click.  Out of the several thousands users, only a handful come to this site.

Here, I can respond directly to comments.   I don’t advocate censorship, but at least when someone says something patently false, or merely misinformed, I could at least respond with links to evidence to the contrary, or try to help them if they need help.

Customer service is a key component of any business, even that of a small open source developer.  My software is my resume for contracts or jobs.   Misperception due to a limited comment system hurts my products perception, and my resume.

For example, a common thing for people to say is “It doesn’t work on my <device>.”  Implying both that  the software doesn’t work, and that it doesn’t work on a specific device.

Imagine my surprise when my heavily tested application, which has been tested on that very platform, is given such a comment.   I imagine someone might see that and not even want to try my app.

If there were a decent comment system, I could try to get further information, alert the user to the logging system I put in place specifically to enhance my ability to find bugs and fix them, etc.

As an aside, I understand that I have an app that’s intended to work around wifi bugs, which cannot work 100% of the time , and that due to the technical knowledge required to configure wifi, no software could help some people in some circumstances.  I’m prepared to deal with that.

The idea is to make wifi work better.   I wrote the app for myself, because I use wifi when in the office and at home.   I’m not charging people.   Donation is voluntary.  (But appreciated).

Developers like me need a bit of help to fix things from our community.  I can’t afford to pay full-time testers, so the QA level isn’t as good as a big company can manage.

The Android Market comment system discourages that kind of interaction.   It needs to be updated with the needs of its developers and users in mind.