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Astroturfing Catches Up With iPhone Developer

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Let the propaganda begin! Image Credit: Tom Dynia

Astroturfing is a form of propaganda that tries to deceive the consumer in believing that something is more popular than it really is.  Long used on the political front, it now appears it has creeped its way into the iPhone realm.

A particular iPhone developer, Molinker had over 1,000 apps pulled from the App Store for posting fake reviews.  It appears it wasn’t the doing of one “fake review” but over 40 bogus reviews for each app!

On a side note the article says that many of the reviews were badly spelled.  Does this mean that Molinker thought that by misspelling words in their reviews, that it would be more realistic and believable?

Forty fake reviews does seem pretty excessive.  However, what is the protocol if an employee of a company downloads an app and truly appreciates the work?  In a perfect world the reviewer would disclose their relationship with the maker of the app.  We all know that 99% of the time this won’t happen.

Every time I read a story like this it bugs me.  Not because someone is trying to get a leg up, but because it makes me realize how much junk there really is in the App Store.  I think Apple will need to address this issue at some point.  If they don’t developers will get frustrated as their App will easily get lost in the sea of worthless apps.


Written by wirebear

December 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

Updated Apps No Longer At Top of “Release Date” Sort

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Dan Grigsby with Mobile Orchard reported on Monday that updated apps will no longer move your app to the top of the release day sort.

What really ticks me off (if true) is why doesn’t Apple send out a note to its developers before making these types of changes? Apple needs more transparency.  Would it be too much to ask to send out a note to keep us developers in the loop?

The good news is for apps that work well out of the starting gates and with a good marketing plan, they have that much more of a leg up on the competition. However, for those more unfortunate apps that are riddled with bugs and poor marketing, it will be a much longer journey to the top.

WireBear currently submitted an update to SportsBook: Pro Football Edition last week to add the ability to view the news articles within the app (default) or to launch them in Safari.  We will update everyone to let them know if the update puts us back to the top of the list.

Written by wirebear

November 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Failing Forward

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John C. Maxwell, author of the book Failing Forward believes “the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”  In the book he takes a closer look at failure–and reveals that the secret of moving beyond failure is to use it as a lesson and a stepping-stone.

Most iPhone app developers should really learn the lesson of failing forward.  As we know not every app developer is currently relaxing on a  yacht discussing the millions they made in the App Store over cocktails and hors d’oeuvre.  It is hard to not get caught in the trap and blame your app’s lack of success on Apple or the buying public.

Every project has its hurdles and its failures.  The key is to minimize and learn from these mistakes.  Hindsight is of course 20/20, however there is no harm in taking a step back and giving a retrospective look at the recently completed project.  Often times after looking over the perceived failure you determine that if you had taken the other fork in the road, the consequences would have actually been much worse.  Other times you simply made the wrong decision.

The question of – How do you successfully take an iPhone app to market, can be answered by the veteran app developer much easier than your first timer.  For the veteran app developer the answer can be found in looking at the successes and failures of your past app.  Every app is different but the underlying philosophies are the same.

Just remember if your next app is a failure, jump back on that horse and give it another spin.  You already have a leg up on the competition as you already know what not to do!

Written by wirebear

November 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm

The Free iPhone App

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Does anyone ever wonder why a developer spends his time to develop a free iPhone app?

It irritates me when someone on our team comes up with a great iPhone app idea and then we research to see what is out there – to only find out that someone has already done the app.  AND FOR FREE!

My hope is that the developer either got paid to do the work, is getting advertising dollars from the app or simply is trying to get publicity for future paid apps.  If the developer did the app for free with no future plans to make any money, then that is a problem.  Why not sell the app for at least $.99?

I would love to hear other legitimate reasons to build a free app.  Please let me know so I don’t hold this grudge against these pro bono developers!

Written by wirebear

November 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Posted in iPhone Marketing

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The Missing Link?

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When we first decided to start building iPhone apps, the WireBear team looked through the internet and combed through the iTunes store.  We asked ourselves how could we become successful in this market?  Was the answer having great app ideas?  Or how about sleek designs?  Was it to do apps no one had thought of or improve on existing apps that missed the boat?  Maybe it was to use our expertise and help others?

After weeks of research and meetings, we decided that we needed to probably accomplish all of the above to be successful.  But something was missing!  It seemed other developers were doing some of the above items, but something just didn’t feel right in our research.

It became obvious after a while…the marketing aspect was missing on a lot of the apps.  Sure some companies were marketing their apps (i.e. Pizza Hut). The problem is a company like Pizza Hut can run a television ad because they have the money, however your average Joe the Developer doesn’t have the funds to market his latest creation.

We thought we figured it out!  We just need to market our apps and we will be successful.  I wish it was that easy.  The question has now become HOW do we market the apps without having the budget of a Pizza Hut.

I think the key to the whole strategy is a plan.  I read an article today at Tapity about his marketing plan for his “Make the Grade” app.  He is thinking about waiting several months to release the app for several reasons, one of which is to work on his marketing plan.  I can’t say if his strategy will work or won’t work, but I think he has the right idea – have a plan and stick to it!

Over the next several weeks we will let you know what marketing ploys have worked and which ones have not. However rest assured, the one thing to know is that we have a plan!

Written by wirebear

October 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Posted in iPhone Marketing

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