The Success of novelty apps in the App Store

Fri, May 8, 2009


The Wall Street Journal on the abundance and success of crap-apps in the iTunes App Store:

A classical piano player in Christchurch, New Zealand decided to see how quickly he could make an app for Apple’s iPhone. Reuben Bijl, 22 years old, took 30 minutes and came up with a pointless one called “Sound Grenade.”

It then made him more than $100,000 in a few months, he says, through advertising on the free version and a $1.99 pro version. It emits a harsh squeal that irritates anyone within earshot, even in a crowded restaurant (I tried this — evil looks abounded).

These apps appeal to everybody, Mr. Bijl says. His frustration that “Sound Grenade” has flourished, compared to the tepid response to some of his more useful apps, is palpable.

The reality is that just because an app is close to a developers heart doesn’t mean that it will resonate with iPhone owners.  And if you think about it, an artist’s (musician, programmer, painter etc.) most cherished work is typically not their most commercially successful.  At the very least, the developer of Sound Grenade has made a huge sum of money than can help bankroll some of his more personal projects in the future –  sort of how the money and fame from Titanic gave Leonardo DiCaprio the ability to be more selective in the roles he chose to play.  Yeah, I went there.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Baerana Says:

    doesn’t really answer or even address WHY crap-apps are so popular. free – I vaguely understand the novelty of some. But even for $1, why waste your money on something that makes an annoying noise, or is a fake lie detector, or fake finger print scanner, or a “portable rick-roll” app? I really don’t understand that, particurarly when I am running out of room (with Apple’s hard limit of 148 apps at a time) with actually USEFUL apps.

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