7 things Apple can do to REALLY clean up the App Store
When Apple decided to make its somewhat arbitrary iTunes “porn” (and I use the term loosely) purge last month, one of the made up reasons it gave for justifying the move was that developers and customers were finding it hard to find quality apps amidst all the “adult” material. Well as we saw, removing those 5,000 apps (or less than 3% of all apps) did more or less nothing to fix the issue.
While we certainly do not wish to see ANY developers’ livelihood taken away from them (adult themed or otherwise) we have come up with a list of apps that are causing far more damage to the iTunes store than the adult apps ever did. So if Apple actually IS serious about cleaning up the app store and helping developers get noticed, here’s 7 sure fire ways they could do just that.
1) Get rid of ALL slider puzzles. Who is buying these any way? What once was a throw away crappy party favor when we were 5 now makes up 1/150th of all total apps, and there is zero quality control (or copyright enforcement) going on here. I get the feeling there must be developer code readily available on the web outlining how to create a slider puzzle, and a group of very lazy developers are cranking out slider puzzles on a daily basis – usually trying to charge 99¢ for each puzzle which contains only ONE picture. There are well over 1,000 of these apps on iTunes and more coming in every day.
This particular developer sells separate slider puzzles for (among other things) Sunsets, flowers, and horses.
2) Get rid of all “+Points” apps. Prestige Points, Honor Points, Legend Points, Reward Points, Loyalty Points… call them what you will, if you’re selling them on iTunes, you suck. There’s well over 1000 of these “apps” as we speak, and they clog up the app store like nobody’s business. If you’re going to sell cheap crap like this, at least make ONE APP and let people buy points via an in-app purchase. Selling 6 apps with different point amounts is insane.
3) Get rid of all foreign language apps. Or better yet, create a separate “international” section of the app store (right next to the Adult section you should create). I’m sorry, but I can’t even read the name of this app, much less the description, so with all due respect to the small segment of US residents who understand what these app might be, it’s clogging it up for the rest of us.
4) Clean out the “Trivia” games. Just like the slider puzzles, “Trivia” developers have flooded the market with a slew of lazy, cookie cutter apps. You like the Mets? (My condolences)There’s a trivia app for them (dozens, actually). You like the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey team? There’s (inexplicably) a trivia app for that too. These wouldn’t bother me so much if the developers would combine them into one sports trivia app with categories (or even if they broke it down by SPORT), but for a company to offer 16 pages of narrowly focused $2 trivia apps seems lame.
These 2 developers have 9 and 16 PAGES of trivia apps on iTunes. Was consolidation REALLY not possible?
5) Take down all the obviously non-sanctioned apps featuring copywriten characters. I don’t expect the iTunes police to know EVERY character from every cartoon, movie, or video game, however, to tell me they don’t know who Mario, Donkey Kong, Sonic, Pac-Man etc. are is just plain ridiculous. Trust me, it will be some time before Nintendo starts making apps for the iPhone. How these apps get approved is beyond me.
I’m not saying I’m positive, but something tells me these guys didn’t get SEGA/Nintendo’s permission to sell their intellectual property.
6) Take out all “gouge the customer” apps. This would take a little more effort on the iTunes screeners’ part in that they would have to take a quick look at the OTHER titles the developer is offering, but take a look the following example:
This is pathetic, and there’s hundreds of similar cases.
These apps do sort of a “hangman/wheel of fortune” thing where you try to guess a word in as few turns as possible. The problem? They are trying to sell an entirely new game for EACH LETTER OF THE ALPHABET. Wow. Is this for people who REALLY love J and O words, but can’t stand the thought of solving a puzzle with an R word? Similar to the pathetic slider puzzles and trivia puzzles I mentioned above, Apple should ask developers who are too stupid to realize they might actually make some money if they tried to sell ONE app with REAL value instead of 26 much lamer ones, to combine similar-content apps if they get this out of control.
7) Remove any app that has not sold a copy in the last 6 months. Just as nature will occasionally start a forest fire to clear out all the dead brush that is choking the forest floor so that new trees can grow, so too must Apple be ruthless and get rid of the apps that NO ONE wants. I’m sorry, but if you have not made 99¢ in the last 6 months from your app (minus Apple’s commission), I think you need to learn to take a hint.
There are many overcrowded categories on iTunes, and there are certainly a wealth of low-quality apps. However, low quality in general is not what I am rallying against here, as taste is a subjective thing. It would be easy to say “clear out the fart apps, the tip calculators, the virtual lighters, etc”, however as lame as those apps may be, there IS a difference. Those apps are designed to do one thing only, and they do it. The tip calculator sellers are not selling one version for calculating a tip in an Italian restaurant, one for a Japanese restaurant, and the fart apps are not selling separate “wet fart”, “squeaky fart”, and “broccoli fart” apps. The apps that should be removed are those made by the greedy and inconsiderate developers that feel quantity will make them richer than quality. It is this bizarre mentality that if left unchecked will eventually choke the life out of the iTunes store and keep legitimate developers apps from getting the air they need to thrive.