Apple’s Store Policies Regarding Amateur Applications

From Read Write Web, “Apple Says ‘We Have Enough Fart Apps,’ Here’s Why That’s Wrong.”

Some of the language in the developer agreement is rather strong and very direct. For example, Apple proclaims that it has "lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality apps to be surrounded by amateur hour."

Apple also says: "we don’t need any more Fart apps," but it couldn’t be more wrong about that, and here’s why.

Sarah (the author of the blog post) goes on to argue that Apple should simply provide better filtering and ranking of applications rather than rejecting applications because there are too many of them.

I agree with Sarah that the App Store needs a good search and filtering tool some times. But, part of the reason is that there are too many applications to choose from, with very little to distinguish one from another! Many people don’t post positive reviews – only negative reviews. Even the review process would need to change for the app store to become useful.

Here’s a perfect example. I’m hooked on a game called Tower Madness HD for the iPad.

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First reviewer, 1 star. Slam purchase policies. Second reviewer, counter’s first reviewer. These are the first reviews you’ll see when reading about the application. So, I’m forced to read through the reviews to make a decision. And read more, etc…

Go on and read her blog post and comments. I’ll wait.

I actually don’t agree with her in this case. I think of it this way:

All stores do some amount of filtering before products show up on store shelves. It’s not like every product should automatically be added to a new shelf, along side of the 3000 other choices in the same category. Imagine the Apple Store for example. It doesn’t have every iPod case, every Mac accessory, etc.

A great example was mentioned in this article about Trader Joe’s (a quite popular chain of small grocery stores with good products and good prices).

http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/20/news/companies/inside_trader_joes_full_version.fortune/index.htm#joe

"The company selects relatively small stores with a carefully curated selection of items. "

 

Interesting. Sounds like what Apple wants to do more of.

"Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn’t quite so large. Trader Joe’s organic creamy unsalted peanut butter will be more satisfying if there are only nine other peanut butters a shopper might have purchased instead of 39. Having a wide selection may help get customers in the store, but it won’t increase the chances they’ll buy."

I don’t see an application store as fundamentally different from a physical store. Maybe there can be more virtual shelves, but there’s still a need for limits. (I don’t know what the right number is, but it’s clear to me that there is a sweet spot). Saying there are 250,000+ applications is just a useless piece of trivia and provides no actual value to me as a consumer, when the average user only needs only a tiny fraction of that number of applications. Even Amazon, which I love shopping at, often is more exhausting now that they host so many store-fronts for other stores.

Search is the key. Google & Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) is more likely to get it right at this point as they seem to understand search better than Apple.

Endless lists of choices is exhausting. Mediocre choices, and limited valuable reviews means it takes more time to select a product. That makes the experience less desirable and tends to leave a bad impression on the consumer.

What do you think? Do you like an endless sea of choices and lots of search and filtering to try to find what you want? Or a limited selection, filtered by the store, (with some search and filtering still)? Are you the type that likes to read other people’s “top 25” applications for my XYZ phone or the type that would rather sift through thousands of choices?

One Comment

  1. Very good logic! This is an intelligent comment on one of the more interesting technical rivalries going on today…

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