At some point, enough is enough.
There are over a half-million iPhone and iPad apps. Android is closing in. Microsoft is making a push. Granted, many of the apps are the same on the different platforms; it just doesn’t make sense to have OS-exclusive apps. Cross-platform is the way to go. Still, there’s a lot of apps out there.
Last night, I built one. It didn’t take much effort. I found a nice app-building platform at Conduit and my non-programming self was able to put together a decent app. It took about 3 hours with much of that time spent writing content and creating screenshots. No coding required.
Has it gotten to the point to where there’s only really a couple of thousand valid mass-appealing apps out there and the rest are completely niche? I believe so. I think that there are only a handful of really cool and truly useful apps that make it into the public consciousness every month and the rest are fillers.
It isn’t that the apps aren’t useful. It’s that there are so many now that unless there’s a real marketing machine or big name behind them, they don’t have the ability to gain the exposure necessary to hit the coveted “Featured” or “Top Downloads” lists on the various markets. It’s all very reminiscent of the days when I wrote short stories (back in the days when magazines were still valid.
Back then, I would write short stories and send them off to be reviewed for publication by the 3-dozen or so major short story publishers. I followed the guidelines, read the advice articles, and did my thing the way I was supposed to: send the story, call to verify receipt 3 days later, follow up with a letter (this was before email) 2 weeks later, call the office week 3, follow up letter #2 on week 4. By week 5, it was time to give up.
Sometimes I would get published. Usually, I would not receive anything, even acknowledgement of receipt. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening or how the industry could be so rude until I received a personal note in the mail one day after sending my 2nd follow up letter.
“Thank you for submitting your story to _______ (I think it was The Atlantic). We have received it but will not be able to read it this semester. We will read it for consideration in the fall.”
It was March at the time. The fall was a long ways away.
The same thing happens to app developers. I’m not talking about the hacks such as myself who put in 3 hours and call it a day. I’m talking about those who spend weeks, even months developing something that’s going to make everyone’s life easier, only to have it get lost in the flood created by other developers (as well as hacks such as myself).
Is there a solution? Normally, I write with hope of educating, but today I’m asking for help. Are there really top-notch app review sites that can help to highlight the best of the best? Are there promotion services that can get the word out about the best apps? Is there a way to get Apple or Google or whoever to have a premium review service?
If not, there should be. Maybe we should build a service that tries to highlight the best of the best. Is that feasible?