Apple’s Walled Garden Is Infested With Zombies



Every time Apple holds a keynote or earning call they love to brag about how many apps are available in the App Store. Right now Apple’s boasting that there are 500,000 apps for the iPhone, which you know, sounds really freaking amazing when you’re thinking about buying and iPhone. Think of all the cool stuff you could with 500,000 different apps.

Yes, the App Store is awesome and it’s packed with some truly solid apps, but the truth is that most of the 500,000 apps that Apple brags about don’t ever get noticed. In fact, a recent analysis revealed that two-thirds of all apps in the App Store are “zombies,”  meaning they never get downloaded, are invisible to users, and have no ranking.

Adeven, a German startup that specializes in mobile analytics and ad verification, just launched their new AppTrace tool today that  can trace how often an app is downloaded, review scores, and overall ranking. Before the official launch of AppTrace, Adeven analyized around 400,000 apps on the App Store to get a big on how healthy Apple’s walled garden is, and the results were fairly abysmal.

“The reality is there are only a couple of thousand apps that really make some kind of downloads,” said Christian Henschel, Adeven CEO. “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.”

“If you’re not on those lists, it’s not sure that you’re being discovered by anyone else. The top 25 tend to be the same companies who spend millions of dollars to get to the top of those lists. If you’re an independent, small app publisher, then it’s really tough to be discovered.”

The search functionality in the App Store has always left a lot to be desired, leaving developers on their own to market their apps to gain attention. iOS 6 aims to improve some of the problems with search, and many believe Apple will utilize their recent acquisition of Chomp to do so.

Even if Apple improves search though the biggest problem for developers is to distinguish themselves from their competition. After all, when the App Store already boasts 1,899 flashlight apps, how different can you really be?

Source: GigaOM


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  • MacHead84

    Discoverability has nothing to do with iOS being a Walled Garden

  • joewaylo

    To add to commenting for the article, you might want to mention that 1/4 to 1/2 of those apps are not only zombied, but no longer updated by the developer as they’ve moved on with future applications.

    Several applications that I have searched for in the past that have been cool once, are abandoned by the developers. NGMOCO for example no longer update their applications. March 2011, November 2011 are a few dated applications. They even shut off a few online games dated over a year old.

  • technochick

    Discoverability has nothing to do with iOS being a Walled Garden

    Indeed. Walls aren’t what kill plants. Lazy gardeners that don’t water and tend them are the problem

  • Lars Pallesen

    “… but the truth is that most of the 500,000 apps that Apple brags about don’t ever get noticed.”

    What, you mean people don’t notice ALL of the 500,000 apps when they’re browsing the App Store? What a shocking revelation! You got yourself a real scoop there, Buster. *rolls eyes*

  • chdotcom

    @all: Our release brought up a lot attention and questions on how we got to this number and why we are making this assumption. With that in mind, we would like to provide you some insight into our methodology and reasoning on the app zombie discovery and the iOS ecosystem.

    You can find it here:?