Friday, February 28, 2014

The App Stores Are Not “Long Tail”

Yann Lechelle:

Chris Anderson correctly analysed that the advent of e-commerce sites like Amazon or iTunes gave more prominence to the bottom of the catalogue than ever, therefore making it possible to increase the sales of historically less popular items which in a classical trade model had no chance of being on front display (or even in stock!) nor of having enough success to benefit from the accelerator effect of those at the top of the pile (the top 50 chart in music for example).

[…]

While the iTunes App Store is over 5 years old and the number of catalogue references exceeds a million items as many as the Google Play Store for Android, it is legitimate to ask oneself whether the long tail applies to these pure e-commerce sites, next generation offsprings with only slight mutations… Does an app buried away at the bottom of the catalogue benefit from the positive effects mentioned above? Do the app stores facilitate the discovery of apps and allow app publishers and developers to establish a truly profitable business?

[…]

These arguments alone suggest that the long-tail effect probably does not hold water on the app stores. This situation is even exacerbated, since if there is no long-tail effect, the opposite becomes possible: the creation of super champions capitalizing on the nature of apps which have built-in sharing and viral features that books or films do not have!

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