Over a third of the apps in Blackberry's app store come from a single vendor and most of these fall into the "spam" category. What does this say about Blackberry's efforts to entice developers to contribute content to populate Blackberry World?
In the run up to the launch of BlackBerry 10, we were impressed by the way BlackBerry was encouraging developers to produce apps for the platform. Offering cash rewards and providing tools to make porting existing apps from other platforms appeared to have been successful given that BlackBerry World now claims to offer more than 120,000 apps. But has it been too willing to accept submissions and sacrificed quality for quantity?
The revelation that Hong Kong-based S4bb is responsible for around 47K of the apps for the BlackBerry platform seems incredible - but when you scrutinize what's included in this prodigious output you quickly come to the conclusion that much of it is worthless - and likely to detract from Blackberry's reputation.
The staggering statistic was revealed by Ronen Halevy, the Founder and Editor-in-chief of BerryReview.com, who comments on S4bb's list of apps:
The first 20-30 actually seem like good to decent quality legitimate apps and then it rapidly goes downhill.
Halevy notes the "tons of city guides" and the preponderance of audio books asks "is an audiobook an app?" and argues that many of them really stretch the definition of an app.
While S4bb is undoubtedly the most prolific, other vendors have also swamped Blackberry world with large quantities of apps produced by pouring content of little value into templates that Blackberry made available in order to swell the number of titles on offer.
Asked for a comment by BGR India, Varghese M Thomas, director corporate communications, India and SAARC region, said:
“Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics. Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers. This is why we have worked hand in hand with developers on the Built for BlackBerry program to help showcase apps and games that exemplify the power of BlackBerry 10.”
This comment doesn't address this problem, however, and it is one that also affects other app stores that don't go in for stringent vetting of apps. Being able to claim a huge number of apps available might make for good initial publicity for the platform in question but the shine soon wears off when users discover that they are in fact swamped by thousands of low grade apps.
When companies try to encourage developers to create apps for their platforms, it is vital that they consider the effect that enticements will have on app quality and support. Anyone clever enough to write a program is certainly clever enough to find ways optimizing income in ways that the promoter never imagined possible.