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2/3 of Apple's iOS App Store populated by 'zombie' apps, estimate finds

post #1 of 74
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Most of the applications on Apple's iOS App Store are un-downloaded, unranked, and largely invisible software options.

These applications, estimated to account for around 400,000 on the App Store, have been dubbed "zombie" apps by new mobile analytics and ad firm Adeven and its Apptrace tool. Company CEO Christian Henschel said in an interview with Gigaom that he believes it's "really tough" for smaller, independent application developers to be discovered in the current App Store structure.

"The reality is there are only a couple of thousand apps that really make some kind of downloads," Henschel said. "This is based on Apple's closed system — it's tough to discover those kinds of apps. You don't have proper search, so the only way to discover new apps is through the top listing."

Apple announced in June that downloads on its iOS App Store had reached 30 billion total, while $5 billion had been paid out to developers. There are more than 650,000 applications available on the App STore, with 225,000 of those built specifically for the iPad.

Apple has continually worked behind the scenes to improve discovery of content on the App Store. Last month, some developers reported that Apple had tweaked its search algorithm to favor topically relevant results and applications that receive more downloads, though the changes were quickly reverted.

Stores


Earlier this year, Apple acquired Chomp, a mobile application search engine for a reported $50 million. It's expected that the acquisition is intended to enhance software discovery on the App Store.

Whether or not the search methods change, the App Store will receive a visual makeover with the launch of iOS 6 this fall. The updated App Store has a darker theme and new applications install without forcing users to return to the home screen.
post #2 of 74

It may be the fact that a lot of those apps aren't worth downloading being a reason why they aren't downloaded.

 

And I don't understand why the closed system has anything to do with low downloads of certain apps. You can search google and find iOS apps. Companies have links on their websites, that link to their App Store apps etc.There are more ways to find apps than just the App Store storefront.

 

So what makes the system "closed"?

post #3 of 74
It would be nice if Apple had an App store and a Game center.
Look at the top 250 "apps" and it's 98% games.
I do not want games on my iPhone. Separate the apps from the children's games and
Maybe grown ups can find Useful apps.
post #4 of 74

These guys missed one key point - lots of Apps don't need to be "discovered" because they are part of a company or organization. When the internet first started everyone scrambled to get a website for their business so they didn't get "left behind". Today companies are doing it all over again, this time with Apps.

 

Walking down the street in my neighborhood and several local merchants have their own Apps specifically for their store. For example, last year I ordered a brined turkey for a holiday dinner through an App my local butcher has. How may websites have you ever visited where you got the banner "This site has an App - would you like to get it?" Local sports teams, clubs, schools and others often have Apps made up.

 

And guess what? None of these would be something people would "discover" by searching the App Store. They are Apps people found out while visiting a website, seeing a billboard or even a small window poster in a store.

 

While I agree there are a lot of "orphan" Apps out there I don't think you can fault the App Store. If you're a developer then I think it's your repsonsibly to promote your App - not Apple's. There are too many Apps to make this Apple's responsibility. How about getting some blogs to review your App for you (for example)?

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post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"You don't have proper search, so the only way to discover new apps is through the top listing."

 

I guess they missed the large magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the App Store with the word "Search" written under it.
 
I find loads of my apps using search.
 
I'm sure there are loads of rubbish applications on the internet that don't get downloaded either, this is nothing unique to the app store. If the developers want people to download their apps, they need to promote them. It isn't very difficult.
 
 
post #6 of 74

The "long tail" theory also posits that only a small number of apps have very broad appeal, while many more apps would be too niche to make it to the main page, if you don't count the inevitable clones like "yet-another-to-do-list-app". I've purchased a few niche apps from the long tail, and some of them are practically abandoned by their developer, or, in one case, the developer's "hello world" (not literally hello world, but it was like their first attempt at an app (The person was trying to cash in on the early App Store gold rush, but didn't develop the skills needed to stick with it).

 

I don't know that it's right to say these apps would never be discovered. You can find them, but usually only through keyword searches by people looking for the specific type of app.

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post #7 of 74

This is fricking retarded. Just because devs have no money to advertise and get famous doesn't mean Apple has a closed system. 

 

 


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post #8 of 74
I'm sure that it's true, just like two thirds of all books and music are zombies as well. I wonder how much higher that percentage is for Android and Win Phone, where the apps are said by reviewers to be worse, on average, and where Google never removes an app, unless a third party proves it's malware.
post #9 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

This is fricking retarded. Just because devs have no money to advertise and get famous doesn't mean Apple has a closed system. 

Many of the apps don't use cheap methods like giving some of their 50 review copies to appropriate sites to review

And it's worth asking how they got these number. Typically with ad firms they aren't looking at the whole set but a major subset of those ads that use their system. So the truth may be that 2/3 of the perhaps 5000 apps that use their system are never downloaded nd they are assuming their 'sample' actually reflects the whole when it doesn't

And for the record Apple does have a closed system. But that has nothing to do with how many apps are making massive money. Closed system refers to the fact that you can only run iOS on Apples hardware and only 'legally' buy and sell through their store

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post #10 of 74

I don't see any way around this. With 400k app's to chose from it's always going to be difficult to get your app known unless you're a big name developer with an advertising budget. No downloads means no reviews which probably puts people off downloading your app. Maybe Apple could have a section for undiscovered app's. 250 app's you might like to try which changes on a weekly basis. Or more sub categories to make search easier.

post #11 of 74
Quote:
You don't have proper search, so the only way to discover new apps is through the top listing.

 

Apart from the search box in iTunes on mac / pc... and the Search box in the AppStore App on the iPad... and the search tab on the AppStore App on the iPhone / iPod Touch... and not forgetting google of course, where a search for pretty much any word and "app" will return a direct link to the itunes store in the top 2 or 3 results...

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

new mobile analytics and ad firm Adeven and its Apptrace tool

 

Oh, now I see... A new ad firm releases a report implying app developers need better advertising to not get lost in the crowd.... hmmm..... wonder if there may be an ulterior motive here somewhere... 

post #12 of 74

BECAUSE WE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING. 

 

600,000 APPS AND THE BEST WE HAVE IS "PRODUCTIVITY". "GAMES". "UTILITIES".

 

Subcategories of subcategories of subcategories.

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post #13 of 74

"Gigaom that he believes its "really tough" for smaller, independent application developers to be discovered in the current App Store structure"

 

Really?  Thank you Captain Obvious for that penetrating research and analysis. 

 

There is only so much physical screen space to display apps in the store, and it's hardly effective to cycle through 600,000 apps in some sort of rotation. 

 

The App store is not only method to promote one's app.
 

post #14 of 74

This story makes no sense.  Basically it is saying the App Store should be one giant page with all apps listed on it?  The App Store already has Top 1..n, Categories each with their own Top 1..n sub-list, it has Search, people can find apps via reviews on the web/magazines/newspapers/etc...  No idea what "closed" store means and how it affects anything to do with discovering apps.  And no idea what "proper search" means.  Looks like a buzz word article designed for hits for this no-name ad firm

post #15 of 74

Yea discovery can be difficult on the iOS app store. A better search would help, say a tag search or description search.

post #16 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLuvin View Post

It would be nice if Apple had an App store and a Game center.
Look at the top 250 "apps" and it's 98% games.
I do not want games on my iPhone. Separate the apps from the children's games and
Maybe grown ups can find Useful apps.

 

They already have this. Look at the Top 1..n list under each category of app.

post #17 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Most of the applications on Apple's iOS App Store are un-downloaded, unranked, and largely invisible software options.
These applications, estimated to account for around 400,000 on the App Store, have been dubbed "zombie" apps by new mobile analytics and ad firm Adeven and its Apptrace tool. ...

 

Considering the whole article is an advertisement/puff-piece for the guys "app-analytics tools," I don't know why anyone should bother taking him seriously or why AppleInsider would bother to publish this.

 

Also, something that always bugs me in articles like this ... did anyone ever stop to think that it isn't necessarily Apple's job to make your app "discoverable" in the app store?  

 

Apple provides a store and all the back end you need for selling your app.  Isn't the promotion of said app actually up to the developer?  Does it even make sense to talk about "discoverability" in a system which is basically just a listing of over 650,000 apps?  IMO absolutely *nothing* could rightly be called "discoverable" in a giant mess of stuff like that.  It's a freaking list.  

 

I can see why there is a desire on the part of developers to have their apps discovered and a similar desire on the part of the users to be able to discover good apps, but is so-called "discoverability" (mostly used as a synonym for "promotion"), really Apple's job?  I don't really see that it is.

post #18 of 74

Thats why they have Catergories (shaking my head)

post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by stniuk View Post

Yea discovery can be difficult on the iOS app store. A better search would help, say a tag search or description search.

 

you mean like using the built in search feature?

post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLuvin View Post

It would be nice if Apple had an App store and a Game center.
Look at the top 250 "apps" and it's 98% games.
I do not want games on my iPhone. Separate the apps from the children's games and
Maybe grown ups can find Useful apps.

Thats why they have Categories (shaking my head) :l

post #21 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Considering the whole article is an advertisement/puff-piece for the guys "app-analytics tools," I don't know why anyone should bother taking him seriously or why AppleInsider would bother to publish this.

 

 

 

Exactly this!

post #22 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

BECAUSE WE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING. 

 

600,000 APPS AND THE BEST WE HAVE IS "PRODUCTIVITY". "GAMES". "UTILITIES".

 

Subcategories of subcategories of subcategories.

 

Absolutely yes yes yes!

 

 

I hate 'shopping' the app store. Search is nice but unless you already know the exact app you want, I find it's too broad and not useful. Especially when you're at the computer and have to do it through iTunes. I really wish they would a) pull the iOS app store out of the iTunes music store, and b) revamp it with more categories and sub-categories. I also agree with the suggestion of pulling games out and putting them in their own separate store.

post #23 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atashi View Post

 

Absolutely yes yes yes!

 

 

I hate 'shopping' the app store. Search is nice but unless you already know the exact app you want, I find it's too broad and not useful. Especially when you're at the computer and have to do it through iTunes. I really wish they would a) pull the iOS app store out of the iTunes music store, and b) revamp it with more categories and sub-categories. I also agree with the suggestion of pulling games out and putting them in their own separate store.

 

So you do not use the existing categories and subcategories and you want more of each?  games already are separated under the games category.  Basically you are saying you have no idea what kind of app you want but you want to browse every app on the app store to find the one you want?   That makes no sense.  By the way, Apple has something called Genius which will make app recommendations for you.  Sounds like you have no clue what you are doing and no store interface will help  you.  Or you are just trolling. 

post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

These guys missed one key point - lots of Apps don't need to be "discovered" because they are part of a company or organization. When the internet first started everyone scrambled to get a website for their business so they didn't get "left behind". Today companies are doing it all over again, this time with Apps.

Walking down the street in my neighborhood and several local merchants have their own Apps specifically for their store. For example, last year I ordered a brined turkey for a holiday dinner through an App my local butcher has. How may websites have you ever visited where you got the banner "This site has an App - would you like to get it?" Local sports teams, clubs, schools and others often have Apps made up.

And guess what? None of these would be something people would "discover" by searching the App Store. They are Apps people found out while visiting a website, seeing a billboard or even a small window poster in a store.

While I agree there are a lot of "orphan" Apps out there I don't think you can fault the App Store. If you're a developer then I think it's your repsonsibly to promote your App - not Apple's. There are too many Apps to make this Apple's responsibility. How about getting some blogs to review your App for you (for example)?

Exactly
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Considering the whole article is an advertisement/puff-piece for the guys "app-analytics tools," I don't know why anyone should bother taking him seriously or why AppleInsider would bother to publish this.

Also, something that always bugs me in articles like this ... did anyone ever stop to think that it isn't necessarily Apple's job to make your app "discoverable" in the app store?  

Apple provides a store and all the back end you need for selling your app.  Isn't the promotion of said app actually up to the developer?  Does it even make sense to talk about "discoverability" in a system which is basically just a listing of over 650,000 apps?  IMO absolutely *nothing* could rightly be called "discoverable" in a giant mess of stuff like that.  It's a freaking list.  

I can see why there is a desire on the part of developers to have their apps discovered and a similar desire on the part of the users to be able to discover good apps, but is so-called "discoverability" (mostly used as a synonym for "promotion"), really Apple's job?  I don't really see that it is.

Well said - particularly the first paragraph. This company is competing with Apple in a sense, so of course their spin will be negative.
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post #25 of 74
The term "zombie" in the title made me think that the apps were malware, before I read the article.

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post #26 of 74
I'd like to see a blacklist option like Netflix's 'not interested' button. I hate seeing the same apps I don't want over and over. I want to be able to tell the iTunes Store that I never want to see the apps again. Same deal for apps I own. Apps I own should be held in a separate area so I can review them but not appear in the store again - it's not as if I can buy them again.

This way I can sift through apps and discover new ones. Without a blacklist, I just rely on the top charts too because I just don't have time to flip through hundreds of apps one day only to go through the same list the next day.

Apple can use the number of 'not interested' tags to push really poor or low utility apps further down in searches based on iTunes profile.

I don't see why they persist with global top listings. In the top chart, they have Peppa Pig's Sports Day, which is clearly a children's game. If my profile says no kid's games, the top listing shouldn't have it because I'm not going to be buying it. All it's doing is taking up the spot of a game I might buy if I could see it. Similarly I don't need apps about menopause or periods.

Two simple things:

- blacklist (including entire genres)
- personalised top listings

That should sort the problem of discoverability.
post #27 of 74

I don't even browse for apps anymore because I'm sick of scrolling through a bunch of garbage.  What I don't understand is if apps have to go through an approval process, why are there thousands of crap apps?

post #28 of 74

Apples closed eco system doesn't prevent app developers from promoting their app outside of the app store. For me, a majority of the apps I download for iOS i didn't even find out about through the appstore. Of course when you have so many apps you can put each of them on a pedestal and give them a full page cover on why u need to download it. Developers complaining should just put a little bit more effort in promoting their app if they already put all this effort in developing it. 

post #29 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy View Post

I don't even browse for apps anymore because I'm sick of scrolling through a bunch of garbage.  What I don't understand is if apps have to go through an approval process, why are there thousands of crap apps?

 

Because even "crap" apps have a right to be there. There are certain minimum standards that apps should meet, and as long as they do, they can be there. 

 

It's an app store. You'll get all kinds of apps.

 

If you want to find good ones, there's the Search function, the ratings, the Top Apps, and so on. It's not that hard.

post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downpour View Post

 

I guess they missed the large magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the App Store with the word "Search" written under it.
 
I find loads of my apps using search.
 
I'm sure there are loads of rubbish applications on the internet that don't get downloaded either, this is nothing unique to the app store. If the developers want people to download their apps, they need to promote them. It isn't very difficult.
 
 

 

This. Navigating the App Store really isn't that hard. All the tools are there. 

post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

The App Store is obnoxious:
Full software, not an App!
http://www.bresink.com/osx/FullSoftware.html

Ridiculous.
"Software products branded with our badge shown above identify applications which are too powerful to be sold on Apple's Mac® App Store℠."

You mean more powerful than OS X? Final Cut Pro? Aperture? Logic Pro? AutoCad WS?

Seems to me that Marcel Bresink has an inflated opinion of his little apps.
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post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

The term "zombie" in the title made me think that the apps were malware, before I read the article.


Agree. Very misleading.

post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

The App Store is obnoxious:

Full software, not an App!

http://www.bresink.com/osx/FullSoftware.html

 

Zunx, I'd put that anger in a box and not shout it out. If I saw your tag on some software I was thinking of purchasing, I'd probably avoid it. I use plenty of apps (yeah, apps—that's what everyone calls software now) that aren't available through the Mac App store. But if an unknown developer is shouting to me that he doesn't want to comply with Apple's standards without giving me an explanation as to why his products can't be offered that way, I'm going to worry about why it isn't available. Then I'm likely to conclude it's because the app isn't secure. 
 
The fact that this article (which reeks of an ad company trying to gin up business, as others have pointed out) is about the iOS App store makes your post look like misplaced anger. Think about what matters to your business and focus on that, rather than computer politics.
 
 
 
post #34 of 74

Anyone heard of the 80/20 rule?

post #35 of 74
If Apple had "standards" in the AppStore, they would require apps to post a notice that additional In-app purchases were needed to make the app useable beyond a limited free trial. Or at least make developers state that the "free" download was limited, or that a paid subscription was required to make use of it. A good number of these apps do little more than provide opportunities for spamming.
post #36 of 74

I like the way the Amazon app store is set up, they give away one paid app free a day.  I discover many great apps that way basically because I am getting free exposure to a company I otherwise may never have heard of or thought of.  I get the free-be, like it and search out more by that company.

post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Ridiculous.
"Software products branded with our badge shown above identify applications which are too powerful to be sold on Apple's Mac® App Store℠."
You mean more powerful than OS X? Final Cut Pro? Aperture? Logic Pro? AutoCad WS?

 

Agreed.  Use the app store where it makes sense to do so, and don't use it where it doesn't.  Why does it have to turn into some sort of personal crusade?  One can certainly create powerful apps which meet the app store guidelines.

 
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post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellacool View Post

I like the way the Amazon app store is set up, they give away one paid app free a day.  I discover many great apps that way basically because I am getting free exposure to a company I otherwise may never have heard of or thought of.  I get the free-be, like it and search out more by that company.

 

On the flip side, I know a person who simply follows free-be/price tracking sites and only downloads apps when they are offered for free.  So it could have the reverse effect where people who might otherwise purchase an app will wait for it to show up in their free-be tracker because they've seen it happen with other apps offered by that company.

 

Similar to a company offering a product at a sale price, then people not buying it at regular price because they heard from others about the sale price and don't want to pay more than someone else did for that product.

 
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post #39 of 74

Apple is failing and falling down on the job when it comes to the App Store.  600,000 titles and its nearly impossible to discover, search for and actually purchase apps you really want.  When I got the first iPad I went crazy buying apps, 2 years later with my iPad 3 its harder and harder to find anything.  I hope their app discovery will improve and soon.

 

App (short for application, also known as software) is the generally accepted term by the common user today and is why the term "app" should not be trade marked or patented, like the word window.  Still I think Apple should be doing more to generate app discovery, what good is 600k apps and counting mean if the app developers can't be discovered, make any money.  Since we have to use iTunes (bloated piece of sotware/app/application) there ever way then they should make it more useful.

post #40 of 74

Echoing some other posters, one would expect that most apps, in either the iOS App Store or the Android Market aren't going to gain a lot of traction. (Interesting that they had nothing to say about the Android Market) And, it's pretty stupid to quote these guys saying it's because the App Store is "closed", when clearly "open" or "closed" have absolutely nothing to do with it.

 

What there are, in fact, are a lot of popular apps that get most of the downloads because a) they are better and/or b) their publishers were better at promoting them. Other apps, that don't make that cut, aren't going to see a lot of action. There's no difference between the App Store and any other marketplace in that regard.

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