Automatically Log Global iTunes Reviews to a gDoc – for Free!

Automatically Log Global iTunes Reviews to a gDoc – for Free!

Say you have a podcast about hamsters.

And things are going pretty well. You keep an eye on your Hamster Podcast reviews by checking out the iTunes store periodically and manually copy-pasting the reviews into a spreadsheet so you can refer back to them later without futzing with iTunes. It’s kind of annoying, with your tiny Hamster feet and all. (Seriously, who put “ctrl” so far from “c” and “v” on the keyboard?)

Then one day you find out the truth. Despite all of that effort, you were only seeing reviews from the USA – not the rest of the world!

You stuff your mouth with 47 sunflower seeds in protest and slink back to your hamster wheel and sulk.

 

There’s a Better Way!

Yes, iTunes is still gonna stink – but I found a way to use IFTTT to automatically log any new iTunes reviews to a Google Spreadsheet – so you (sad little hamster) can skip the copy-pasting and see all of your global reviews in one place! Best yet – IFTTT is totally free.

 

How to Log iTunes Reviews to a gDoc Using IFTTT

Before we talk about international reviews, let’s quickly go over setting this up for your local country. (Spoiler: It’s not that different for other countries!)

 

Step 1: Get an IFTTT Account

Whoa, you don’t have an IFTTT account yet? Go get one, it’s free, awesome and super nerdy.

 

 

Step 2: Get your iTunes Podcast ID

You know that page where you send people when they ask about your Hamster podcast? Go there.

Now take a look at my example below (Yes, this is our podcast – you should check it out if you like Cocktails!)

Look at the very last part of the URL – see that bit with the numbers?  You need that. Copy the numbers (not the “id” but just the numbers) and continue to step 3.

 

iTunes Screenshot

 

Step 3: Build your Reviews RSS Feed URL

Thanks to James Kennison, I found out that iTunes actually stores reviews in a separate RSS feed for every country, and the here’s an example for US reviews of our podcast:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/rss/customerreviews/id=898520724/sortBy=mostRecent/xml

Look closely – do you see near the middle of that URL is an “id” number? That’s what you’ll want to change (unless you want to monitor MY iTunes reviews, which is totally fine, I guess, but kind of weird.)

Now copy that bolded URL above and replace the numbers after “id=” with the numbers you copied in step 2.

Congrats! Now let’s set up IFTTT to automatically log reviews to a spreadsheet.

 

Step 4: Create a “Recipe” in IFTTT

To start the “recipe” creation process, click here.

  1. Click “this” in blue, find and click “RSS
  2. Select “New Feed Item
  3. Where it says “Feed URL”, paste the full URL you created in step 3 above. Then click “Create Trigger”
  4. Click “that” in blue, then find and click “Google Drive
  5. Select “Add row to Spreadsheet
  6. Choose a spreadsheet name, leave “Formatted Row” unchanged, and update the Drive Folder path if you have a specific place you’d like IFTTT to save the gDoc (optional). Then click “Create Action
  7. You’re done! Go ahead and name your recipe. Since we used the USA-based RSS feed, I’d name it something like “Save US iTunes Reviews to my iTunes Reviews Spreadsheet”. Then click “Create Recipe.”

That’s it!

Now whenever you receive a podcast review in the US, IFTTT will kindly send it over to your spreadsheet. Voila!

 

Add International Reviews

So you want non-US reviews too? No problem! The process is extremely similar. In fact, the only difference is you’ll be looking at a different RSS feed URL.

Look at that feed URL again:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/rss/customerreviews/id=898520724/sortBy=mostRecent/xml

Right after “https://itunes.apple.com/” do you see it says “us”? That’s the country code, and that’s all you’ll have to change to get reviews from other countries.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Make a list of all countries you’d like to monitor. It’s not a bad idea to limit this to just English speaking countries, but if you’re feeling motivated there is no reason you couldn’t just do every country. (Except that it’s ridiculous, but you’re a hamster, who am I to judge?)
  2. Go here to find the corresponding country code for each country you chose.
  3. Make a list of RSS feed URLs, swapping out the country code for each country you want to monitor.
  4. Now just go back into IFTTT and follow the process above, creating a new “recipe” for each RSS feed. I recommend naming each Recipe with the country it represents and using the same parameters in the “gDrive” section so all of the different Recipes will log to the same spreadsheet.

 

Got Wonky Results?

When I first set this up, I got a few “junk” false entries in the spreadsheet – one for each RSS feed I set up. I just deleted those and never got them again. Unfortunately I can’t explain them nor do I know how to avoid it – but if it happens to you, just delete the “junk” and you’ll be good to go.

 

Bonus Points: Want to get notified?

After you get your first review, go into your gDrive and find the spreadsheet that IFTTT created. Open it up in gDrive and click “Tools” > “Notification Rules”

You’ll be given several options to receive notifications when the Spreadsheet changes – i.e. whenever you get a new review!

 

Back to the Hamster Wheel

I hope this process helps you stop sulking and get back on the hamster wheel of creating a great podcast!

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