Could Facebook be the Next AppGratis?

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After AppGratis was removed from Apple’s App Store last week, a number of people are now wondering who’s next?  AppGratis was removed because Apple is concerned that app-discovery applications that help promote programs from other developers threaten the App Store’s rankings.  But if that’s true, isn’t Facebook guilty of the same thing?

Facebook has App Center, which is a place where it “gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful.”  Facebook also says that “well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed. Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won’t be listed.”

So in essence, isn’t Facebook also skewing app download results for the App Store’s rankings similar to AppGratis?

“Within Facebook, you have access to app center, which sort of does exactly that,” said Tim Shepherd, senior analyst of Canalys.  “If I was AppGratis, I’d certainly be frustrated by this.”

The success of AppGratis and other similar types of discovery-apps like AppHero, prove that there is demand for a better way to find apps in a sea of over 800,000 choices.  Which begs the question, is Apple getting more strict its guidelines because it’s trying to improve it’s current discovery system?

“The fact that Apple is cracking down on this may also imply that it’s looking to do more around possibly offering through the app store itself, similar kind of promotional type of activity that you see in other stores like App of The Day,” Shepherd said.

Apple’s previous attempts at a discovery system including its Genius recommendation engine and acquisition of Chomp were less than stellar.  Maybe they’re cooking up something better?


— Cassie Slane

Cassie Slane is a technology and consumer products expert and appears as an electronics guest on QVC and Philly's Fox 29 Channel. She has been a producer and writer for major media outlets including Bloomberg News, CNBC, and CNN.




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