An app and a dream: Are indie developers doomed to zombie ghetto?

Zombie apps proliferate on Apple's App Store and rest assured they're on Google Play too. How does a small developer market as the app economy is a huge business?

Apple's App Store has surged and along with it the rate of "zombie" applications has tagged along, according to Adjust, a mobile app analytics company.

A zombie app is one that is basically invisible to users. Adjust noted that the zombie rate on the App Store was 83 percent in December compared to 74 percent in January 2014. The report should spark some discussion about how to avoid creating a zombie app.


The Google Play store wasn't included in the Adjust report, but the zombie theme still works there too. The reality is that it's hard to discover potential hits on these stores as they surge past the 1 million app mark. There's also a connection to self published authors on Amazon and how you need to figure out marketing probably before you even start (figured this one out first hand).

In other words, a select few independents will make it. The rest are stuck in the zombie zone and creating things for non-monetary rewards. As these marketplaces swell, developers will need to put a lot more money into marketing to have any hope of being discovered.

And marketing is daunting when the top apps gobble up all the usage.


Adjust noted:

We're eager to see Apple experimenting with new ways of promoting praiseworthy apps to a broader audience. At the same time, we believe that a limited, one-size-fits-all approach is not fully extensible to a market that continues to at this pace.

The App Store is dead. As a source of organic user acquisition, it can no longer serve all the apps and all the users that flock to it. While the App Store provides a secondary method for users to find out about apps, most people look to the media, their Facebook feeds and - whether they admit so or not - increasingly toward branding and advertising. The data proves it.

Here's the buzzkill. How does any developer with an app idea and a dream not get depressed by one of those splashy ads from Machine Zone's Game of War? Let's face it: Kate Upton isn't going to plug your app and if you're lucky it will take a few years of your revenue to maybe afford her day rate.


Google and Apple will continue to note how they pay out billions to developers. And that payout is huge for the app development community. However, there needs to be some discover-ability move that will highlight the app cooked up by a kid in a garage.