Apple recently said that its iTunes App Store is home to more than 650,000 applications, 250,000 of which are specifically designed for use on the iPad. However, mobile analytics firm Adeven said that its Apptrace tool has discovered that more than 400,000 of those applications are “Zombie” applications. What is a “Zombie application?” According to the firm, it’s an app that has no rating and can’t be readily discovered by users.
“The reality is there are only a couple of thousand apps that really make some kind of downloads,” Adeven CEO Christian Henschel explained to GigaOm. “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.”
Henschel said that, if a developer’s application isn’t listed on the top lists, it can be very difficult for the application to ever be found by users. In fact, the firm argued that big developers spend millions trying to pump their applications up into the “Top 25” lists. We imagine that’s possible through sales and other juicing methods. “If you’re an independent, small app publisher, then it’s really tough to be discovered,” he said.
Henschel explained that his company started Adeven and released its Apptrace tool in an effort to make the iTunes Store more transparent. It hopes that developers use its service to help generate more revenue as it becomes more clear how apps are discovered by end users.
GigaOm makes another compelling point: the site noted that there are currently 1,899 flashlight applications in the iTunes App Store. In that case, why would an end user ever venture past the first page, let alone several pages, of applications before making a purchase? Our guess is that the last 1,890 flashlight apps have very few downloads and user ratings compared to the first 9 flashlight apps.