Rating an iPhone app takes just a second, maybe two. “Enjoying Skype?” a prompt will ask, and you click on a star rating from one to five. Millions of people respond to these requests, giving little thought to their fleeting whim.

Behind the scenes, though, an entire industry has spent countless hours and lines of code to craft this moment. The prompt, seemingly random, can be orchestrated to hit your glowing screen only at times when you are most likely to leave a five star review. 

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