The Decline of IOS/Apple, Growth of Android

Written by Joel Diamond on . Posted in Blog

Gartner has reported that the growth of Android platform and the APPs released for the platform are increasing, while they report that there is a clear decline of Apple and the IOS mobile operating system. As recent as the second quarter in 2016, Apple saw a near 8% decline in sales in North America and Europe. Both China and Asia Pacific regions dropped by 25%. So, what do these latest figure to the markets for IOS Apps? When marketshare for IOS drops, sales of Apps for that platform follows. And that is what is taking place for IOS App developers. New IOS made up 14.6 share of the market from 2nd Qtr, 2015 to 12.8% of the 2nd Qtr, 2016.

Gartner also reports declines in both mobile Windows and Blackberry, with Windows dropping 2.5% in 2015 to .06% in 2015.  And as expected, Blackberry doesn’t justify reporting here.

AppVisor Update, May 2016

Written by Joel Diamond on . Posted in Blog

Appvisor is pleased to announce that over that over 20,000 software publishers are now using the AppVisor and PAD platforms to power their global online distribution of their software titles. Over 50,000 application titles and web-based applications are now part of AppVisor official repository, http://repository.appvisor.com.  With the latest release of Windows 10, the potential new apps to the AppVisor platform could potentially triple by the end of 2016. We will be expanding our catalog to expand listings covering Windows, Macintosh, Web and Mobile platforms.

Thousands of editorial sites covering software, download sites, search engines, affiliate networks, directory listings rely on Appvisor’s database of on the developer provided PAD content that forms the basis of distribution of these products. . It is one of our priority goals to pursue new international language channels for promotion and distribution, while also exploring how our app catalog can be part of official “app store” catalogs. Please refer to our PADSITES.ORG site for the latest updates to existing sites.

CONTEST: Google Cloud Developer Challenge 2013

Written by Joel Diamond on . Posted in Blog

The ASP PAD Committee is seriously committed to securing support for SaaS, HTML 5 and Cloud applications to the PAD Specification by end of November 2013. Acknowledging the needs of both publisher and supporting PAD Sites for inclusion of these categories of “Apps”, it is relatively easy to see the need to promote awareness of promoting developer contests that support these categories. Google is one such company.

The company has formally launched it’s annual Google Cloud Developer Challenge 2013 several weeks ago. The program was established to promote the creation of cloud-based third party apps from developers. Formal submission is scheduled to begin October 22, 2013 and continue through November 21st. Formal details are available here

Participants are encouraged to review the Frequently Asked Questions that Google has posted here. http://www.google.com/events/gcdc2013/faq.html

Here is an extract from this FAQ:

The Google Cloud Developer Challenge is a contest designed to motivate and reward entrants who develop applications that are based on Google’s Cloud Platform that are original and relevant to the region in which they live.

Submissions have to use App Engine and must be formally submitted through Google’s submission engine domain available on AppSpot, www.appspot.com.

There are six competition regions:

  • Sub Saharan Africa
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • India
  • South East Asia
  • Latin America
  • United Staes. Europe and rest of world

Google has also established two entry categories, Enterprise which covers Small Business Solutions, Education, Not for Profit. The second category FUN includes Social, Personal Productivity, Games, and Entertainment.

This is the second year for The Google Apps Developer Challenge. Those who have particapated in last year’s competition will have intimate experience on knowing what the Google judges are looking for. But for new developers, it’s suggested that you look for last year’s winners. Developers entrants are limited to know more than 3 team members. Not surprisingly, certain countries are excluded from competition: Quebec, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan.

The contest has two rounds. Ten apps in each category will be selected for the first round and proceed to the “semi=finals”. Winning teams who make it to the semi-finals will be eligible for Android Devices. To promote academic entrants, Google will be awarding a cash prize of $1000. Google is also encouraging women to participate, as all-women teams will be eligible for $2000. Winners from the Semi-Finals will be announced in early December in each category, each recieving $20,000. A university department that enters a winning application will be eligible for an additional $18,000. Each region will also be eligibl

The primary core requirements of the competition are the mandated use of the Google App Engine. Google also posted the following criteria that they will use in their judging, including

  • Originality of Concept
  • Relevance to Region
  • Polish and Appeal
  • Usability on multiple screen sizes
  • Accessibility
  • Indispensability: Is the application compelling and/or essential?
  • Amount of user interactions on their app (comments, +1s, FB Likes etc)
  • Google+ Sign-In / Integration (Not compulsory:Bonus Points)
  • Creative use of Youtube and Google Maps APIs (Not compulsory:Bonus Points)
  • Use of other Google platforms/APIs (Not compulsory:Bonus Points)

The contest site also provides additional resources for developers considering entering the contest. The obvious suggestion, for first time developers, is to use the Google Cloud Platform Starter Pack. Google offers $1000 of credit for the Google App Engine and another $1000 for the Google Compute Engine for applicants who provide a promo code and background details on what their developer teams plan to build.

 

Unethical Software Monetization Methods Are Driving Users Nuts

Written by hsobel on . Posted in Blog

toolbarsanity

Malwarebytes scan after downloading two apps with no install warnings

Malwarebytes scan for traces of unwanted toolbar/adware/installations

Freeware has always been a benefit for both users and developers. Developers were happy to provide freeware to users for the opportunity of selling their more powerful versions. Consumers love to get “free software apps” that provide value (not cripple ware).  But things have changed. The  monetization tool for many software publishers is  including a toolbar or installing other applications with their own download. They key to defining where ethical boundaries are crossed are in the disclosure process to the user. This includes the amount of user control in the process of installation, what happens to their computer after installation (are they getting what was expected). Is  the PC  going to act or perform functions in an unauthorized or non-apparent way after installation that is beyond their control?  Users and their computers are  unwitting victims of unethical installation practices. Toolbar/Installware actions range from hijacking a user’s web search, slowing down their computers to a crawl through intensive use of CPU slices running their adware, refusing to completely uninstall, no uninstall option, interfering with the browsing experience or by throwing up unwanted ad and deals or altering the destination of where a user expects to go on the net.

Unethical Toolbars and Installers have morphed into the invasive species that now inhabit the download waters. While some are designed ethically and are easy to uninstall, others are becoming alarmingly deceptive and resistant to anything that wants to kill them off much like a MRSA virus.  I’ve installed and tested thousands of software  applications for WUGNET over the years. Lots of software apps left behind remnants that clutter your registry and make it grow which over time can slow your computer. (Note: This gave birth to a new category of software called “Registry Cleaners”.) Unless you picked up a virus or malware there was no harm or no real foul.  Just restore you prior registry backup or system restore.

Over a two day period I downloaded two questionable apps.  I then ran a malwarebytes scan and reviewed the results.  After cleaning with  Malwarebytes just two days earlier,  Malwarebytes identified numerous unintended visitors (photo).  A search toolbar or installation of additional apps can be benign as implemented in Java, Bing  or Ask Toolbars if you stay one step ahead of your brain. That requires clicking your way slowly through the install process.

Toolbars and installers  have a valid place in our industry as software because they can provide many benefits to users. If you don’t want to install the additional software included in your download you just uncheck the box(s) which are highly visible. If you wish to uninstall them later you can easily find the uninstall option on a PC in the Control Panel Uninstall. The darker side of unethical toolbar installation borders on malware.  Competition is getting so intense that providers of these monetization features are jumping through hoops to find ways not to allow the fish (you) to get unhooked and thereby lose their revenue stream.

Trying to uninstall some of these questionable payloads can be next to impossible for the novice and  advanced user to fix. Once you’ve swallowed the hook like and sinker you could be in computer hell until you can restore, remove or reinstall your OS and apps. Search monetization and app installation make a lot of money for the Toolbar and Installer companies who sign up publishers to be a part of their network and pay them $$ for each install. It’s usually a lucrative arrangement for both parties and more software publishers are relying on it for income. And when it’s on the up and up it’s fine.

I recently attended the Affiliate Summit ASE 2013 (August 18-20, 2013)  at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Affiliate Summit is one of my favorite conferences  and I plan on attending Vegas 2014. Among the exhibitors, were many Toolbar and Installer vendors. We spoke to a few of them and got their take on this segment of the software publisher monetization market. Some were very candid and truthful. In order to survive the urge to dabble in stealth installation methods is getting more and more attractive.  Some vendors see the death of the toolbar business within 18 months and are already planning for the future. As often happens,  market forces can dictate market direciton. What we see happening  is a few desperate attempts to keep monetization flowing at all costs. Longer players in this market will avoid falling into this pit and damaging their reputation. The importance of reputation management has always been important.

Developing, distributing and getting paid for the for your software programming efforts has always been a difficult proposition for most small software developers. Business application developers haven’t had it quite as tough. Consumer focused software publishers have been hurting for the last several years due to many reasons including the proliferation of free apps and the app store pricing model. Smartphones apps are replacing  functionality of some desktop apps. The unethical Toolbar/Install business can be a very lucrative but distasteful answer to make a living for those software developers who would have otherwise gone out of business. Fortunately, for some publishers most people never know what the source of their misfortune is otherwise, publishers would play “Russian Roulette” with their reputation.

One thing is certain. The industry will have to clean itself up or users will need to find a “safe place” to download software for the desktop. It’s not likely that desktop software will disappear in the next 18 months. Monetization solutions need to come clean and provide seamless uninstalls and have “a do no harm doctrine” before they pollute the pond they fish in. As it dries up, the fish will be swimming closer and closer and the experience will be pervasive.

Howard Sobel, AppVisor

Apple Announces Major Change to Affiliate Program

Written by Joel Diamond on . Posted in Blog

If you you’ve signed up for the Apple Affiliate Program, you may have learned that Apple is leaving the Linkshare affiliate network with plans to replace it with "Performance Horizon Group (PHG). Unknown to us, Apple also had another affiliate solution with third party DGM Networks, but Apple is also abandoning this for PHG as well. The loss of Apple on Linkshare may be a shock; but remember that Linkshare remains an invaluable affiliate network, supporting software publishers since Microsoft remains a premier client. Linkshare will continue to be supported in the PAD Specification.

Apple is advising existing affiliates migrating to the new network so they can maintain earning existing commissions, while replacing their Linkshare and DGM links before October 1st, 2013. It is almost certain that PHG will be under evaluation for official addition to the PAD Specification by this date.

Apple is claiming three main benefits to PHG over existing terms with it’s affiliates. First, the standard commission will be increased from 5% to 7%. Second, affiliates will earn commissions on purchases within a 24 hours period. (We didn’t know that commissions were only earned when they occurred in real time). Third, improved global affiliate tracking support will allow commissions from purchases from Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan and more. The Apple iTunes affiliate signup to the PHG Program for existing affiliates is available here: http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply

The Apple Itunes affiliate signup to the PHG Program for existing affiliates is available here: http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply

 

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