Appolicious And The Rules Of Apptraction


With the launch of earlier this month, founder and CEO Alan Warms wants to give consumers a better way to sort through the 70,000 or so mobile applications already out there -- a total he expects to eventually hit more than 1 million apps.

The site combines professional and user reviews of apps with social networking features including profile pages and Twitter-like feeds with comments and links posted by registered members. It also allows people to "follow" others on Appolicious.

The crowded Appolicious home page also boasts active lists of the highest-rated and most popular apps and a "Hot List" featuring top app-related stories gathered from around the Web. The site focuses on iPhone apps because of their predominance, but will broaden its scope to embrace BlackBerry, Android and other mobile apps as they increase in number.

Warms, who served as vice president and general manager of Yahoo News until last year, also envisions Appolicious as a new platform for developers and brands to promote their apps amid the proliferation of titles. "Every company in the world is going to want to have an app," he said. "The question becomes, 'how do I get it into the hands of consumers?'"

The attraction of Appolicious for advertisers will lie in its social networking aspects that will help drive the viral adoption of apps, according to Warms. To that end, he plans to work closely with developers to go beyond typical descriptions of apps to offer information about usage, such as the average time spent using a program.

Pages describing individual apps on Appolicious already include user reviews, ratings, developer notes, videos and screen images.

"We'll work with advertisers to develop a proprietary set of information about their app to give end users a really good understanding of what it is," he said. That enhanced data in turn could help spark further discussion and propel the promotion of apps among users. Of course, as with any other word-of-mouth-based approach, it can lead to negative as well as positive feedback spreading through an online community.

In addition to marketing efforts woven into the site's social aspects, Warms also plans to add more conventional performance-based and brand advertising to app pages. A key question for advertisers is whether the site will draw a large enough audience to make spending on it worthwhile.

"It could become a useful tool for both developers and brands, but I'm not sure how big an audience [Appolicious] has right now, and it's unclear whether the site can scale to become meaningful to those to groups," said Neil Strother, a Forrester analyst who covers mobile marketing. He added that the site would need to attract at least a million monthly visitors to get on advertisers' radar.

For his part, Warms is confident about attracting big brands to Appolicious. "I believe this ad market will grow to $5 billion to $7 billion in the next five years," he said. To help guide marketers toward that goal, Appolicious is co-producing the Apps for Brands conference in New York on Sept. 23 in partnership with Advertising Age.

While the site, which debuted Sept. 1, carries no advertising so far, "we've had a lot of inbound inquiries," said Warms. "We're just getting started."

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