App Store Overload – Part 2: A Developer’s Perspective

On September 18, 2008

We’ve read a lot about issues with the App Store but most of it has been 3rd Hand.

Earlier today we received an email from Markus Stöbe of Software Diner. Markus shared his tale of App Store Woe with regard to an update of his app TouchScan.

The update was released but ebcause of the way in which the App Store is currently sorting apps it never…

Perhaps it is better for Markus to share the story himself…


Email from Markus Stöbe of Software Diner (used with permission)…

Yesterday night I received an e-mail from Apple that my application update is finally ready for sale. So first thing this morning was to head over to the AppStore to see wether it’s really available by now and listed in the "All iPhone Applications"-List. To my surprise it wasn’t listed but there were only a few programs listed for Sep. 17th so far so I thought I’ll check back later. I did so over the whole day, my program wasn’t listed even at night and isn’t even today, one day later!

So, why is this important?

If you update your app in the store it will be treated like a new application, listed on the first pages of the All-Apps-Section, which gives your app some extra visibility. If it’s not listed but other’s are that’s bad news for the developer as well as the users because some people won’t see that you published an update.

I got many users who asked for that update prior to their purchase so without getting listed I’m loosing these customers and they are loosing confidence in me.

But to make things worse the "sorting alphabetically"-bug from opening days of the store is kind of back! If you enter the All-iPhone-Apps-Section it’s usually sorted by release date per default. So people check there often and have a look at the first 1 or 2 pages because they think these are the newest arrivals to the store – but in fact they are not!

Updates and new Apps are sorted alphabetically for each day! If – for example – programs with names starting with letters A and B fill the first page at 8:00 in the morning, they will stay there until late at night! All apps coming after that time and having a name starting with letter C to Z will be placed on page 2 and on. These will seem to have never been there at all! They will never hit the front page at all!   —end email—

Clearly the current system isn’t working for Markus as a developer. I don’t know what the solution is for Markus but there clearly needs to be a better, more consistent approach. 

Moreover, as an end-user I tend to find navigating the App Store to be a hit or miss proposition. It is actually why we added direct links to apps a few weeks ago. That way once you find an app in our database you can quickly and easily jump to its location in the App Store.