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Sifting Through the App Store Garbage

by Travis Harvey | November 5, 2009November 5, 2009 10:13 am PDT

With over 95,000 applications available in the App Store, developers are having to work double time to get their apps discovered from under the heap of mediocre applications.  This frustration rubs off on us, the end users to find applications that are unique, innovative, and worth the price.

top25Right now, it seems that the best publicity an app can get is through the iTunes top 100 rankings.  What’s more, the top 25.  Once apps breach these ranks, even if they have consistently low ratings, they stay there for days.  As it stands, 22 of the top 50 most downloaded free apps have a rating of 2.5 stars or lower.  That’s a 50% grade and that’s failing.  These applications remain the top downloaded because people download them to see if they’re truly as bad as their ratings.

The ability to search for applications has been flooded with competing applications using the search terms of those competing application names.  For example, if you search ‘Tweetie’, you’re shown at least 20 applications.  Some of these results have nothing to do with Tweetie.  These flawed results are no doubt part of shady developers trying to ride the coattails of more successful developers.  Restricting appoftheday search terms to something more relevant might help some users separate the treasure from the trash.

The community has attempted to find efficient ways of spreading the word when they find a good application, but the methods are few and far between.  AppOfTheDay allows users to submit one vote each day on the application they think should be featured.  The app with the most votes at the beginning of the day is featured on the site and sent out via email to everyone on the mailing list.  AppShopper provides a great source for users to see price drops and updates in a more convenient way than the app store.

Hopefully, more developers start using the newest update to in-app purchases so users can get a feel for an application before they spring for it.  Ultimately, it’s going to be up to Apple to help users find high quality applications by enforcing stricter search terms and allowing for more refined search criteria.  If you’ve got any suggestions on where to begin, let us know.  It ain’t gonna be easy, folks.


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