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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member


    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"?

  • Reply 2 of 78
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 78


    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)?

  • Reply 4 of 78
    downpourdownpour Posts: 37member

    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."


     

    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }


    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.



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

     


    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

     
  • Reply 5 of 78


    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.

  • Reply 6 of 78


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

  • Reply 7 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,463member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 78
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    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
  • Reply 9 of 78
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 78
    davemcm76davemcm76 Posts: 265member

    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... 

  • Reply 11 of 78
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    BECAUSE WE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING. 


     


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


     


    Subcategories of subcategories of subcategories.

  • Reply 12 of 78
    axualaxual Posts: 244member


    "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.

     

  • Reply 13 of 78
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member


    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

  • Reply 14 of 78
    stniukstniuk Posts: 90member


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

  • Reply 15 of 78
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 78
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 78


    Thats why they have Catergories (shaking my head)

  • Reply 18 of 78
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member

    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?

  • Reply 19 of 78

    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

  • Reply 20 of 78
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member

    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!

Sign In or Register to comment.