Another trend I’ve noticed lately in the App Store is the sudden appearance of lots of similar applications at the same time.
I can’t believe that everybody has the same thought at exactly the same time so the implication here is that Apple are holding things back until they feel ‘the time is right’. I can see the benefit from the consumer’s point of view – who wants to buy a fart machine today only to find there’s a better, and possibly, free one available tomorrow?
But is it fair from a developer’s point of view? We definitely feel that sales of our app Mistletoe suffered because it was released at the same time as bunch of similar products. When we originally thought of it and submitted in mid November we thought it should be up by the beginning of December at the latest (based on our previous experiences) – plenty of time to hit the Xmas party season. But when it finally appeared in mid December it was a with a bunch of similar apps…
So whose side should Apple be on? Consumer or developer? Based on our experience here we probably won’t bother with our planned Valentine’s day app.
A similar (maybe worse?) practice is the way some companies flood the store with similar variations of their products. The ridiculous number of dialler short cut Apps is the most obvious example of this. This practice only seems to benefit the developer of those particular Apps – it’s certainly not helpful to the consumer or other developers. Who wants to look at the latest releases and see page after page of these?
Again, from a developer point of view, you sell more copies of your App when it’s featured on one of the New Release pages in the App Store. You expect to see it slowly move down the page as other Apps are released but not to see it blasted out completely after only a few hours by screen after screen of ‘Call @£$%’ Apps.
I suppose as both a developer and a consumer I’d like to see a better way of handling these problems. In the case of the above example, Apple should stagger the release of multiple App instances or only list the first one and explain in the description that there are multiple variations on a theme available.
In the previous case I think it should be like an other free market – first come, first served. In other commercial environments the first product to market has a distinct advantage over the competition.
What do you think? Any better suggestions?