I decided to check myself how bad AppStore spamming is these days. The biggest and known offender is Brighthouse Labs. A quick search confirmed that: they have – get this – 2058 applications in the AppStore. Well, they have only a dozen of real apps. There are 333 results for their different iLocate apps, while it should count as a single real app. Because they are all the same, just showing different kind of places. The search prominently returned me iLocate apps to find Hair Removal places (thanks, I don’t need that), Pet Sitting (don’t want to know what it is), as well as Afghan Restaurants (thanks, I hope I won’t need this) and other similar nice places.
Brighthouse Labs also got 447 SupaFan apps. I checked the one for Jerry Seinfeld, whose happy fan I am. I wish I didn’t touch that crappy app. It contains a very basic bio page, something called “chat” – not sure if it’s working, and something what’s supposed to be news. They charge $0.99 for this app, even though it provides zero value. Facebook, twitter, anything – you name it – will provide more interesting information for the fans than this useless app.
The iPhone development community has been loudly complaining about this practice. This is spamming at its purest: polluting the shelves of the AppStore with all those titles. But it gets even more interesting. Another known offender is Iceberg Reader. They got 1389 apps. Some of them are expensive. What do they sell? iiWeather for 1389 cities around the world? No! They sell ebooks wrapped into a reader, just like a flick is wrapped into a Flash player on the web. I check a couple of books. Bag of Bones by Stephen King is sold for $7.99. Amazon offers this in a paperback for the same amount. But the Kindle version is $6.39. OK, here we have The Gypsy Morph by Terry Brooks. I used to adore those Shannara books. Iceberg Reader “app” for The Gypsy Morph is $26.99. Hmm. Amazon paperback is $7.99. They are not just spammers, they are greedy spammers!
So we have thousands of clone apps, we have thousands of books sold as apps, what we have left? I made a quick review, and came with the estimation of about 10,000-12,000 AppStore applications that are not real apps. These are clones that can be (and should be) very easily packaged into just a few apps. This is how much we should trust the mindboggling 60K+ of iPhone apps number. It is totally overhyped and meaningless number. Hopefully, with the introduction of the in-app purchases in the 3.0 upgrade, Apple will eventually force these clones into oblivion.