Magnate Interactive Helps Launch TheAppShelf.com
Independent developers of third-party iPhone applications are growing discouraged trying to make their mark in Apple's App Store, which launched just a little over a year ago with approximately 500 apps, and now contains more than 50,000. The App Store, which achieved its one billionth download in April 2009, is the only (sanctioned) sales outlet for iPhone and iPod touch applications. Despite several early success stories, third party developers are now finding it difficult to find any exposure or recognition.
Until recently, independent developers have been forced to rely upon word-of-mouth and carefully placed Internet ads to publicize their applications, only finding recognition in the App Store if their sales reached unrealistically high numbers, especially when competing against top name video game publishers such as Electronic Arts. One independent developer, Joao Prodo Maia, had this to say about his application, “I'm having a difficult time getting the word out about Knee Cap. I'm sending in promo codes to magazines [and] bloggers, but... it's very hard being an unknown developer fighting for attention against all of the big names.” Now, developers like Maia are finding some exposure thanks to a third-party website, TheAppShelf.com.
TheAppShelf.com provides long-term, virtual shelf space for iPhone apps outside of Apple's App Store. The site offers third-party developers a place to gain exposure for their applications and provides a place for consumers to find some of the best and most overlooked apps available on the App Store. The desktop version of the site features a prominent "weekly shelf" carousel, similar to the carousels found in iTunes that Apple uses to feature apps. Each week a new batch of applications is listed (submitted by independent developers for a nominal fee), pushing the previous week's apps to a new panel on the shelf. We keep apps on the shelf, a week at a time, for four weeks - developers pay to list for one week of prominent placement and get three weeks of slightly less prominent placement for free.
As an independent iPhone developer, I (Matt Braun) helped to organize and build TheAppShelf.com because I believe individual and small-team indie developers need a way to stand out amidst the growing sea of iPhone applications. Hand-in-hand, consumers need a way to locate and have recommended to them the true hidden gems and quality apps in the App Store that they might not otherwise find.