As our young startup is reaching the tender age of four, we are announcing some major changes.
From now on, Appsfire will focus exclusively on building the next generation of mobile advertising technologies, assisting developers and publishers in their quest for better marketing and growth.
This means that we are going to stop our efforts on our consumer apps and redirect all our energy on innovation where it matters most, and where we can effectively make a sizable dent in the universe.
Why are we going this way?
The choice is simple. For the past four years we have been building one of the most successful and acclaimed mobile app discovery services. Appsfire has reached and delighted 12 million unique users, generated well over 2 billion recommendations and earned consistent top ratings from many thousands of users. Even today, we enjoy a continuous baseline organic growth (i.e., not from ads) of 8 to 10,000 new users per day — a figure that many app publishers can only dream of.
Nothing wrong with this picture, except that it’s only the first stage of the rocket. Our mission has always been to deliver quality discovery and promotion at scale, with effective downstream users.
20 months ago, we released a first set of Engagement tools that gained a lot of traction and started to work with some large publishers on monetization. We knew already the app would not be enough. Since then, the Appsfire SDK has been adopted by over 1,000 developers, reaching about 150 million unique devices. We’re doubling down on that path.
We recently announced our new Monetization layer with native advertising to complete our growth engine for apps. The feedback and results have been so overwhelmingly positive that we understood right away that it was time to release the first stage of the rocket.
Hence, we now focus where the fastest growth is happening. It turns out, it’s also where the industry’s biggest pain point is showing.
The next generation of promotional formats for mobile (call it native if you want)
We believe this has happened because, although many companies claim to be doing native advertising, none has really managed to fix the complex equation of performance and superior user experience. Not one.
We want to shake things up, raise the bar and tackle prehistoric formats.
We want to bring some fresh air to the space. Unknowingly, we stepped right into it a long time ago with OpenUDID. We will pay close attention to the user experience. We want to bring the same level of quality delight and innovation in the ad space as we did in the app discovery space. We want to create great consumer experiences in the mobile advertising space. And we want to make it super easy for developers to work with us through our existing promotional network.
We already announced our very first promotional format. SUSHI: our revamped version of the full screen ads.
But we’re not done.
We’ll deliver products that are design-driven, powered with deep technologies and our app discovery know-how, always looking beyond the mere install.
The first reactions we got so far were so positive that we decided to put all our focus solely and squarely on that.
Expect our new unit, the URA MAKI (or Inside Out), very soon.
What about the Appsfire app?
Some decisions are hard to make. This one is one of our toughest. We will be removing our own iOS and Android apps from the market, exactly next week, Thursday the 19th of December.
- For existing users: The app will still be maintained. No worries. Keep enjoying it!
- For new users: The app on both iOS and Android will no longer be available for download.
We may bring them back at a later stage. Indeed, we had tons of great ideas on how to dramatically improve the app discovery experience but we’re going to save that effort for now. To be frank, we’re a little bit heartbroken, for our users (get a sense of how much they like our service here) and for ourselves; but we just can’t ride two horses at the same time and our app has slowly become secondary to us for a while now in spite of all the recent updates.
But don’t be mistaken, app discovery also happens via better app advertising (paid discovery); you’ll get the “Appsfire experience” tenfold before you know it.
One last note on App Discovery Apps and the App Stores
Apple has consistently added tough, unclear guidelines and rules for app discovery apps, refusing to feature any app in that field (What? You didn’t know?) and rejecting or removing some from time-to-time. While their severe decision is often warranted with players that resort to shortcuts for easy and fast success, it does not look like Apple has figured out a real way to accomodate true value adding app discovery apps; either because they consider the App Store is “the ultimate solution” (it’s far from being one), or by fear of losing that dominant market maker position.
The hard reality is that Apple is actually doing a very poor job at stopping services and apps that have a deep impact on top ranks and review manipulations. Every week apps get in the top ranks by paying services who are designed with that unique goal and they operate constantly at scale.
Google has not done much either to dramatically improve discovery and hit rogue services. It doesn’t feel like this is a priority for them either. For example they never created an affiliate program, never hit on incentivized downloads (although they did hit push services and home screen icon installs).
Actually from all stores, Amazon seems to be the most active and most developer friendly to date, always creating more compelling bricks to build and merchandise mobile apps. It’s just limited by its size.
There is no doubt that we could pursue the app discovery app grail by following Apple’s ever-changing guidance or by the same token take advantage of Google’s lack of drive in that field, but at this point, we choose a different path for the better, focusing on the fastest horse and on the biggest bet.