"Long Tail" Redux: App Store Boom a Bust for Store Apps?

("Unique" by Hamed Masoumi, licensed under Creative Commons)

On Monday, TiPb Senior Editor Dieter Bohn debuted his new bi-weekly feature, TiPb of the Avalanche, by asking about the iPhone App Store and the "Long Tail" business model.

Looks like he's not alone. PCalc developer James Thomson (via Daring Fireball) recounted his struggles with Apple's new policy of listing Apps by original release dates, ignoring update dates, and forcing older Apps to the frozen hinterlands of the last few pages in a list growing well past 5500. Under the old model:

Sales started to slow down over time, but with each of the 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 updates they went back up into the stratosphere as PCalc moved to the front page of the Utilities section again.

And now?

As it stands, the App Store is too crowded to find anything if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for by name.

So while, according to Apple Insider, the App Store may still be climbing faster than iTunes Music did, GigaOm is pishing the posh on the iPhone bump in general.

During Apple's Q4 conference call, Steve Jobs said that the App Store would reach 200 million downloads today spanning over 5500 Apps in 62 countries. How will Apple's (continuing?) tweaks on App Store organization help or hinder developers moving forward? And will they, as Dieter is suggesting, have to start putting as much time, money, and effort into marketing as they do coding? Or are there no easy answers?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

"Long Tail" Redux: App Store Boom a Bust for Store Apps?


I am sure Apple is working on a major update of the way the App Store serves ul apps. It has to of of it will lose precious cents.

How incredibly embarrassing! My sincerest apologies, James. I've corrected the article and regret any free publicity this Jason character might have received at your expense :(

OK, James - we had this conversation via email, and I sent Apple feedback.
I agree the recent changes (and original policies) of the App Store suck big eggs.
Your PCalc has evolved incredibly since the first iteration.
Yet, I can't even see "what's new" by using the advanced search.
You and others have been hosed.
I hope more folks complain to Apple - in a nice way of course...