Reacting to a Bloomberg article about Apple adding paid search results in the App Store, John Gruber writes:
This sounds like a terrible idea. The one and only thing Apple should do with App Store search is make it more accurate. They don’t need to squeeze any more money from it. More accurate, reliable App Store search would help users and help good developers.
The Bloomberg article almost makes it sound like there’s a 100-person team working on paid search. I doubt that’s true. More likely, there’s a team working on several improvements to the App Store, including better search.
Daniel Jalkut is also very skeptical:
It’s hard to see how paid placement would consistently benefit either Apple or its direct customers. It’s unlikely that paid listings would be used to highlight apps that are in line with Apple’s other goals for the store.
He rightly points out that making money from the App Store is Apple’s secondary goal. It’s more important to have an ecosystem of apps that make the iPhone itself indispensable. As I argued in a blog post in 2011 about free apps and distribution, I don’t think the App Store should be a source of significant profit for Apple at all.
And if we’re keeping score with old posts where I write not what Apple should do but what I wish they’d do, see “I hope iAd fails” from 2010. iAd is shutting down in June.
I just can’t believe Apple would prioritize paid search over all the other App Store feature requests that developers have. So I prefer to ignore the paid search rumor and instead take away from this article just the good news: Apple has a new team focused on improving the App Store.
Matt Gemmell has started including shorter posts on his blog. Today he writes about Twitter’s decision to not show ads to some popular users:
“There are problems with that approach, the main one being the tacit admission that their ads are detrimental. If you’re rewarding people by reducing the hostility of their experience, maybe just fix the experience for everyone, and find something positive to charge for instead.”
Ads are the worst. I don’t know if it’s possible to build a large-scale social network like Twitter or Facebook without being mostly ad-supported, but I’d like to believe it is. WordPress.com — which has elements of a social network, even though we don’t consider it one — might be the closest successful attempt.
I was talking to friends this week about app advertising, and it inspired me to try Twitter ads. Otherwise known as “promoted tweets”, these ads are actual tweets that show up in search results and timelines, even if the user isn’t following your account. Tweet Library 2.5 seemed like the perfect time to try this.
I set a max of $5 a day and included several related Twitter accounts to help the ads find a more narrow audience of people who might want to buy Tweet Library. Here are the results after 24 hours:
Unfortunately I don’t have an easy way to track this all the way to actual App Store sales. Assuming a 5% conversion on App Store visits, I likely lost a little money. The extra 1800 impressions is nice though, to raise awareness about the app. I’m going to let it run for a week.
Apple has produced some amazing ads over the years. 1984, introducing the original Mac; the Think Different campaign; and one of my favorite this year, about photos.
Their new ad “Misunderstood” is also great. Federico Viticci has a rundown of the details and how brilliantly it unfolds. I first noticed the video via Neven Mrgan, who had this to say on App.net:
“Apple’s new ad (‘Misunderstood’) is technically perfect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImlmVqH_5HM …but I have to say it doesn’t quite ring true to me. Kids use iPhones to shut out the family and hang out within their own social circle (and that’s ok).”
He’s right. My daughters will likely escape to Instagram and various chat apps to connect with their friends through the holidays. But also I think ads like this work so well not because they represent reality, not because they’re true, but because we want them to be.
When “the iPad commercial”:http://www.apple.com/ipad/gallery/#hardware06 popped up during the Oscars, I thought it captured the power and elegance of the device extremely well. But as I commented on Twitter, after repeat viewings you can see that it’s probably faked. The iPad must have been filmed on a stand or table and then composited into the shot later.
Contrast this to “Cabel Sasser’s”:http://www.cabel.name/2006/03/nintendo-ds-lite-first-look.html video of the Nintendo DS Lite, which was a faithful presentation of how the game system feels to use and yet still “sold people on the device”:http://twitter.com/shauninman/status/10175596516.
Apple stretches the truth with all the iPod and iPhone ads and it never bothered me before, but this one seems wrong. How it feels to hold an iPad will be the difference between a good product and a great one. Can you hold it still with one hand? How easy is it to rotate it? What is the angle like when propping it on your legs?
This is a pretty minor complaint — I’ll be pre-ordering my iPad this Friday regardless and couldn’t be more excited — but I wish Apple didn’t feel the need to lie about such an important part of the product.