App Store B is Dead

Posted on January 1, 2010

For this post to make any sense, wholesale nfl jerseys you’ll need to have already read Marco Arment’s article about the two App Stores. If you haven’t read it, please read it now. It’s a pretty good analysis of the pressures facing iPhone developers.

Ok, now that you’re up to speed, here’s the thing: App Store B is dead. It doesn’t exist. At least it doesn’t anymore. The path to success using an App Store B strategy has been closed to new developers for a while. It’s closed, because even an App Store B strategy requires that customers know about your app before they purchase it, and today there’s few ways for an App Store B app to get noticed — even if it’s deserving.

This hasn’t always been the case, though. App Store B did once exist. Apps like PCalc and Things have done well with the strategy, but they got into the App Store early when any good app was cool and sexy and getting press. And because they got noticed, they’ve been able to build the word of mouth following that’s important for a successful App Store B strategy. Today though, the only time that a new App Store B app is likely to be discovered is when a customer sees it while browsing the New Releases list. If your app isn’t MuhmadEmad flashy, you don’t get reviews and you don’t get noticed. You certainly don’t get in the charts. And since you didn’t get reviewed, and aren’t in the charts, your app never gets found.

So what does this mean for iPhone developers? It means that you go where the attention is. The problem is getting noticed, and there’s two ways to do that as far as I can see. Both go through App Store A.

The first option is to just go with a straight App Store A strategy, as described in Marco Arment’s article. You make a big splash with your flashy app, and once the fuss has died down you move on and try to make another splash with your next app. This approach is particularly well suited to Mobile games.

The second option, which I’ll call “App Store B+”, is to start with an App Store A strategy until you build a reputation, then shift to App Store B for future development. By starting with flashier App Store A apps and getting attention, you begin to build a brand. And once people recognize your brand, you’re more likely to have your project mentioned in the press even if it wouldn’t have otherwise been noticed. (e.g. Twitkitteh from James Thomson, and Safety Light from Craig Hockenberry/The Iconfactory) After developing a brand through App Store A, you have the freedom to release apps that are better suited to App Store B. Use the brand recognition that you’ve built though your earlier work to draw some press and attention to your new App Store B apps — press and attention that they wouldn’t have otherwise received. The idea is that after enjoying a little App Store A-style press, a critical mass of customers will become aware of your app which can then begin to enjoy a word of mouth following and settle into App Store B sales figures that are slower, but steadier, then those in App Store A.

Does it matter that App Store B is dead? I think Skate it does. I want an App Store where a developer is rewarded for building a better mousetrap; where a good app gets noticed based on its merits, not just on how flashy it is or the reputation of its author. (Yeah, I live in a land of rainbows and butterflies. Leave me alone, I like it here.) So how could App Store B be revived? One possibility would be the rise of a site that focuses on reviewing high quality non-game apps, sort of a non-game Touch Arcade that could draw attention to good apps. I’m not sure that such a wholesale mlb jerseys site could generate the traffic needed to be successful, though. Others have suggested things like a premium App Store, which I think could work if Apple exerted a little editorial control over which apps were admitted. (Scary, I know.) Another possibility would be to once again allow updates (not just newly released apps) into the New Releases list so that App Store B apps could at least get periodic exposure as improvements are made. cheap nba jerseys There would have to be some restrictions though, to prevent the abuses of the past. For instance, developers should be restricted to only two approvals per day (a paid and lite version) so that the New Releases list isn’t overrun with 50 versions of the same speed dial app, all from the same developer. Each app should also be limited to appearing in the New Releases list no more than once per month so that developers don’t have an incentive to spam the review process with insignificant changes just to get a bounce in sales. That’s not to say that developers couldn’t submit more frequently if they needed to, they just wouldn’t be rewarded for their frequent submissions.

In truth, I’m probably not qualified to offer business advice to Apple on how to run the App Store, especially since I’m not even sure that Apple’s interests are aligned with mine in this matter. But, as a consumer, I want an App Store that is filled with apps that I want to use over and over, and that get better over time. As a developer, I want the App Store to be perceived as a cheap jerseys source of high quality apps that provide value to my customers. Having a path to success for developers using an App Store B strategy seems like the best way to achieve those goals.