Recently, there have been some startups (at least two that I know of) that provide developers with the ability to pay users to install their apps. Users typically receive a small amount above the app price (typically a couple dimes) install an app, and some software is used to verify that the app has been installed and the user receives payment for their install. What I’m talking about here goes beyond the pay per install you see on some mobile ad networks — this is actually overpaying per install.
Some of the comments that I’ve read are from developers passionately against this method of app promotion — the reason being that it is a way to game app store rankings, but isn’t any promotion such as buying iAds or Admob impressions really a way of buying app store rankings?
Looks Like A Much Better Deal Than Mobile Advertising
I can understand why Apple would be against this, after all, if you could reduce the cost per aquisition of a customer down to a bit above your losses, why would you need to pay $14.90 per download like in this iAds for developers experiment?
My personal feeling is that this is just another way of advertising, I wouldn’t use it unless Apple miraculously gave this an OK, but I know there are developers profiting from this so it is a tough call. I agree that if you’re buying fake positive reviews then you should be punished, but is just buying downloads different? I’m sure that everyone who buys apps on a regular basis has bought apps they didn’t really care for because of a deceptive review or description.
Don’t forget if you do go for this — Users can return apps or a refund in which case you’re screwed.
What are your thoughts on this, do you feel it is legit, or should it be stopped?
Update: If you are looking for some other companies and information on this service Under The Bridge has further information on this topic.