MarsEdit developer Daniel Jalkut offers a smart take on the subject:
It’s smart to take it as given that something should be done to encourage users to leave positive ratings and reviews. That’s good business sense. But also take it as given that the farther you tread in the direction of badgering and disrespecting users, the more you chip away at the meaningful non-monetary benefits listed above.
Heavy-handed efforts to drum up reviews that produce a cash influx today might lead to unwanted consequences down the road. You might end up unsatisfied and ashamed that your otherwise brilliant app stoops to nagging and infuriating its users on a regular basis. And to top it all off, somebody like Gruber might light the match that sets them off revolting against you. It won’t be his fault, because the choice was yours all along. The consequences are yours as well.
For better or worse, I never leave any reviews for anything, app or otherwise. It’s just not my thing. In fact, I only a couple nights ago wrote my first review on Yelp for a great Thai restaurant in my neighborhood. In my opinion, the biggest annoyance with the “Rate Our App!” alerts is that they take away from what I intended to do. The extra few seconds it takes to deal with a modal, obtrusive dialog box makes me feel unproductive. That said, given that my podcast could use more reviews, perhaps it’s hypocritical of me to shirk writing reviews myself only to ask for them for my show.