In an effort to address an overcrowded App Store (and make a few extra bucks along the way), Apple is considering a redesign that would allow developers to pay a premium for a boost in visibility.
Apple is taking a page out of Google’s playbook, exploring the idea of a paid search option in its App Store — companies could pay Apple to have their apps shown at the top of search results, according to a Bloomberg report.
This ability to monetize online visibility was turned into a multibillion-dollar business by Google, and the tactic offers Apple a chance to cash in while also working to address ongoing issues in their app store. Overcrowding, delayed publication, and discovery problems have plagued the App Store, and the tech giant hopes paid search could declutter the app marketing process; but the solution poses its own challenges, both practical and moral.
The App Store
There are currently more than 1.5 million apps available for download from the App Store, and these play a crucial role in Apple’s marketing and growth strategies. The company, which has the highest market value of any company on the Fortune 500, takes about 30% of the sale of each app, a driving force behind its incredibly high profits, according to Fortune. Despite the online store’s obvious success, the fact that a team of more than 100 people are working to revamp the App Store experience points to the digital market’s cumbersome, if not altogether broken system.
Since it opened in 2008, developers have been calling for improved App Store discovery tools to address the difficulties associated with an overcrowded search process. There have also been accessibility issues for apps in the days immediately following their publication. A recent example, as cited by Mashable, was Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji app, which users complained could not be found in the store on the day of its launch.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hopes that introducing paid search would eliminate such occurrences, as app developers could choose the search terms under which their app would appear. The secret team is also reportedly looking into ways to enhance customers’ browsing experience, though the specifics are still unclear.
A Good Thing?
Massive marketing budgets are becoming more common for app developers like Supercell Oy, maker of “Clash of Titans,” and the owners of social networks like Facebook and Twitter are cashing in. Although implementing paid search into the App Store experience would certainly benefit developers with those kinds of budgets (and definitely Apple), it puts tight-budgeted developers at a natural disadvantage.
One of the beauties of the App Store is that it has allowed independent programmers to showcase their products and compete with the big names; paid search would arguably disrupt that parity.
Boosted Awareness All Around
In the same way, though, these changes also mean that anyone who can scrape together a bit of extra cash can boost users’ awareness of their app, which in turn leads to more organic publicity and downloads. Saving money by turning to affordable DIY platforms like AppMakr could free up enough funding for paid search, propelling an app to the top of charts more easily than ever before. Now anyone with an idea and 20 minutes can make a profound impact in the iOS App Store.
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