Okay, I don't usually simply re-post something that someone else created… but this video, created by apple fan gave me a good chuckle and I thought our readers would appreciate it. (In case you haven't seen the original commercial that this is a spoof of – click here).

 

Is the Droid an iPhone killer? I doubt it. Will it help the Android platform gain traction on Apples iPhone? Absolutely. The gloves are off – and as consumers we will only end up getting the best out of it as OEMs fight to create better platforms. Bring it on!

We've had a lot of people lately coming to us and asking how to get their iPhone app reviewed by the various iPhone blog sites around the net. While there is no guaranteed method, ( 148apps told us they get over 400 requests to review per week – there is simply no way they can get to all of them) we sat down with SlapApp.com's Co-Founder  Ryan Johnson this weekend and he gave us a few pointers. 


1. Read and understand the blogs preferred method of communication. Each blog has a different process, some bloggers have an email address to send submissions to, while others use a web form on their site. Just because you were able to track down the email address of every writer that contributes to their site, doesn't mean they would all welcome an out-of-the-blue email that goes outside their normal submission process and clogs up their professional email boxes. Ryan Johnson, SlapApp Co-Founder

2. Don't force them to do time wasting research. Simply submitting and saying "hey, can you review app X" is a sure fire way to not get reviewed. At the very least you need to provide:

  • App Name
  • Company Name
  • App Category
  • A brief overview of your app including highlights (what makes it special?)
  • Direct link to app

3. Spice it up with some media. You will hardly ever see an app reviewed without an image, video, etc. to catch the readers eye. Pulling those images and making those videos for those that do it themselves is a time consuming process. Make it easy for them! Include your screen shots, videos, promo art, icons, etc with your submission. Do NOT however send them as attached files unless specifically requested. Host your images on photobucket or one of the various other image hosting sites (Photoshop has an interesting new one) and send the link to the image. This goes for videos as well.  

4. This one may be obvious – but if its a paid app, provide a promotional code. On the same note – if you are a blogger yourself and are reading this – when a developer provides you with a promotional code, if you do not think you are going to review the app, be so kind as to send the code back to the developer unused.

5. Stick to the theme of the site. Some sites like Touch Arcade have very specific focuses (Touch Arcade is specifically for games). It is a waste of your time as well as the bloggers time to et submissions that do not fit with the site in question.


6. Additional information that may help getting your app reviewed:

  • Current Rank / Highest Rank Achieved (Most bloggers generate revenue as a iTunes affiliate, they want to promote apps that sell)
  • Date of Release
  • Notable mentions in other media (and links to them – bloggers love to cross link, it helps their SEO)

7. Getting close to launching a brand new app that has never been seen before? Offer a blogger an exclusive "first look" at the application. Bloggers are like other news reporters in that they like to be the first to a story. Dangling the "exclusive" carrot can catch a writers eye like nothing else can.

SO YOU GOT REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Congratulations! You got your app reviewed! What to do now? A couple basic things:

1. Mention the review in your app description. It's good for you (assuming it was a positive review), and its good for the review site.

2. Share the review link as much as possible. If your apps direct a lot of traffic to a blogger, the blogger may remember this in the future and be more inclined to blog about your next release.

3. Thank the reviewer. Common courtesy goes a long way these days. A good review can take 30 minutes to an hour of the writers time, if not more. Time spent on your application. Show them you appreciate it.

SO YOU DIDN'T GET REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Not every app will get reviewed by every site. Often times the blog wont even contact you to let you know, they simply wont do anything with it. Don't get disheartened, but ask yourself why. Is your app a purple cow? That is – is your app remarkable in any way, shape or form, or is it one of a dozen apps just like it that are already littering up the app store. As I mentioned before – blog reviews are a type of news… so make apps that are newsworthy.

A Special Thanks:

SlapAppLogo

A special thanks to Ryan and the rest of the SlapApp.com team for providing this interview. For help getting your app reviewed by bloggers, mentioned in the press, or just talked about in general… drop us an email, we would be glad to help!

How long have you been sitting in front of the computer developing the next killer iPhone app? 50 hours? 100 hours? More? How much money have you put into becoming a registered developer, paying artists, hardware, software, and training? The day has finally come to submit your hopes and dreams to the whims of the Apple approval team and hope that you don't get that fateful rejection email in your in-box. But… did you forget something?marketing

In order for your app to succeed, you need a strategic approach to marketing it. With almost 100,000 active apps in iTunes, the likelihood of your app being "discovered" and succeeding on its own gets harder every day.

I don't know how many times I've heard a developer say, "That's okay though… I'll get to the marketing thing once the app gets approved and goes live". By waiting until an app goes live, the developer looses a number of significant marketing opportunities right off the bat.

To start, one of the most important components of your marketing, Search Engine Optimization, can ONLY be performed before your app has been submitted, or when uploading a new binary. Too many developers we have worked with didn't realize this, threw a couple of keywords into the keywords field and figured they would come back to it later… they simply wanted to see their app in the store. We even read a story of one developer that simply didn't use keywords because they were worried the wrong keywords would get them a rejection and their application was Halloween themed meaning a delay would render their app useless. Unfortunately.. having no keywords will render your application practically useless as well.

There is also a period of a few days at most where your natural browsing will be higher. The default browsing of iTunes is by "Release Date" – giving you first page visibility when a consumer wanders into your category. Depending on the category, you might be on the first page of this listing for close to a week! This is a great time to take advantage of the boosted sales and use a blitz marketing campaign to drive yourself into the higher rankings – shooting to either get in the top 100 listing, or get noticed by Apple and featured.

Social media is another tactic that requires some pre-planning. Most social media tactics rely on "followers" of your content. If you have not started building a following before you launch.. you are already missing out!

Finally your PR buzz is much more effective if its about a "new" product. Reporters are less likely to cover a story about something that has been sitting available for a while unless there is something new and unique about it. "Company X releases a new app that is the first to do Y" is much more of a story than "App Z is still in the App Store and still not doing that well even though its a good concept.."

Already launched? Its not optimal… but its not too late either. Drop us an email and we will be glad to take a look at how your app is being marketed.

annapicI’ve been a slave to the medical industry for over 5 years now. I’ve worked for the top gastroenterologists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, and a variety of surgeons. I’ve even dated one. And what have I learned? They REQUIRE efficiency and what is more efficient than having all of your needs at your fingertips.

 The doctor’s bag, once a briefcase full of gadgets for on the go, has transformed into one device that fits into the palm of your hand and can be carried in your pocket. The iWorld has allowed for Medicine to go Mobile.

 So what are docs loading onto their iPhones? Let’s start with the essentials:

  1.  Epocrates. A free medical app that features many useful on-the-go references for physicians who are on-call, away from a computer, or simply in need of immediate information. This app features a search option that allows your doctor to look up labs, conditions and medications. It even provides images of diseases and allows for docs to quickly search for medication interactions. This is not to say that any Old Joe should download this app and self-medicate. No, you need to know you’re profession in order to make use of this app. It’s a reference for trained physicians, not a “How to Be a Doctor for Dummies” manual.

                    EpocratesWebMD

  1. Another favorite is WebMD Mobile. This application has excellent graphics and allows physicians to search symptoms and treatments. (Yes… even Doctors use WebMD!)
  2. Medscape (from WebMD) is a sister app that is just for looking up medications and their interactions. This app is similar to the feature already available in Epocrates.
  3. A slightly difference type of app is MedCalc, which gives docs quick and easy access to medical formulas.

                   MedScapeMedCalc

  1. Even more exciting are applications like AllScripts Remote which allow docs to log in to their professional schedules and electronic medical records in order to reference patients on the go, for instance, if they are on call and need to step out from dinner to take a patient emergency call.
  2. PubMed On Tap (which also has a free Lite version) allows the educated physician to delve deeper into the realm of science and search medical journal publications to gain new scientific knowledge (and hopefully gain new insight on the not-so-common conditions)

                   AllScriptsRemotePubMed  

 So what does the mobile medicine market mean for physicians? Easier access to the information they need right on hand. It allows for more quick, efficient decision making and ultimately better care for you.

 Medical apps will definitely allow for more effective medical care because lets face it, most docs have ditched their pagers and subscribed to the iWorld… but even with faster tools for medical care, I doubt you will be waiting any less time in the waiting room for your physician. If anything, they’ll use the extra time to catch up on SportsCenter or NPR while they finish their lunch.

 In a major policy shift, Apple has emailed developers today announcing that they were lifting the ban on in-app-purchases from free apps. Previously, the only time you were allowed to upsell additional content from within an application was for applications that were pay-to-download. In their email Apple states

"In App Purchase is being rapidly adopted by developers in their paid apps. Now you can use In App Purchase in your free apps to sell content, subscriptions, and digital services.

You can also simplify your development by creating a single version of your app that uses In App Purchase to unlock additional functionality, eliminating the need to create Lite versions of your app. Using In App Purchase in your app can also help combat some of the problems of software piracy by allowing you to verify In App Purchases."

This drastically changes the business models and marketing tactics for a number of developers, and introduces other potential developers into the mix. Developers no longer need to offer a limited "lite" or free version of their application and another version that is paid – the free version can be made to upgrade via in-app-purchase to have all the capabilities of a paid app.

This also will have a dramatic effect on app raking charts. I can see more developers simply not creating a "paid" version of the app – and always starting their apps at the free level. This will potentially make the free app charts much more competitive then they already are – and the paid apps chart much less.

You also have to wonder what this will do to apps that like to go on sale from time to time. If the app is already free.. there is no need to lower the price.

BEWARE INTREPID DEVELOPER – It may be easy to get carried away with in app purchase and start attaching micro payments to every possible add-on your app can offer. Remember – you are playing with a consumers pocket book – and iTunes gives the consumer quite a bit of shout-out power to cry foul if developers start to come across as nickel-and-dimeing their customers to death. Be clear in your app descriptions what content is free, and what content will require an additional payment. There’s nothing that will elicit a bad review from a consumer faster then offering something that looks free…. and then requiring them to pay to actually get it.

In-app-purchase is still subject to the same payment and pricing models as always, and Apple will still be getting their 30%.

 

In our last article, we talk about Schiau studios and their use of publicity stunts to gain promotion for their app and generate sales. There’s an old adage in PR that says "any press is good press".

Or is it?

Take Pepsi for example. Pepsi’s energy drink Amp takes an approach to marketing that is reminiscent  of Axe Deodorant in its hayday. Targeted primarily to men, er, "guys", their marketing message is full of extreme sports, hot girls, and rock music. The target demographic that this appeals to is a younger male audience, mid teens to early 20’s still living in a hormone driven haze where "hooking up" with the opposite sex ranks high on their daily priority list.

Is that a guy wtih a wig?

Um… is that one on the right a  guy with a wig on?

Enter the iPhone.

As the newest and if I might say, sexiest way to get your brand message out these days, it’s no surprise that Pepsi and Amp decided to jump on the bandwagon and launch an app of their own.  Grab the creative agency, brainstorm around the table for a few hours while hyped up on their own product, and the "Amp Up Before You Score" app is born.

The Premise: an app to help you hook up, complete with pickup lines and a how-to guide.

The Execution: Not only did Pepsi create an app that asks you to sterotype women into one of 24 categories including but not limited to "Cougar", "Princess" and, um… "Married" (lets hear it for Pepsi family values… I’d like to also mention that PepsiCo’s mission statement includes the following line: "in everything we do, we strive for honesty, fairness and integrity.").  The app then gives you a handy way to keep track of all the women you have ‘scored’ with and finally, my favorite… a way to brag about it to your buddies. In fact – the social mavens that they are – you can brag about it via Twitter, Facebook or Email! Now the whole world can know how misogynist you really are.

While I disagree with the execution – I understand that they are trying to speak to a very specific target that will frankly get the albiet misguided humor in this. The problem comes when we look at the target they are trying to reach, and the demographics of the typical iPhone user. They started out right – 75% of iPhone users are male, however according to Neilson, only 13% of users fall into Amp’s prime target age of 18-24. You can boost the percentage to 18% if you drop the age as low as 13. Add to that a society that is highly charged with conservative religous values, and you have a PR disaster on your hands. 

Calls have been coming in from all sides that Pepsi should pull what is being called "offensive", "sexist" and

Amp’s twitter site on October 12th posted this appology: "Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback. #pepsifail"

Love it or hate it....

 

The creation of this hashtag on Twiter has created a forum for tweeters to sound off about the app – both in the positive and the negative…. and it seems like consumers either love it or hate it.

So lets hear it readers – #pepsifail or #pepsiwin? IS all press good press or do brands have a social responseibility to live up to? Do you think this was created purposefully to stir up controversy?

I would have to say it was on purpose. Why? Because the app is still live in the app store. Who apologizes in earnest and then keeps doing what they were apologizing for?

alchemize 40

I like to call this Stunt Marketing/PR at it’s best.  Schiau Studios, the creators of Alchemize, an iPhone game – have caused quite a stir in the iPhone App blogosphere.  Tired of all the complaints that their game was priced too high at $2.99, Schiau Studios went and (brilliantly) did the unmentionable – they RAISED the price of their game to $39.99! While only a temporary price increase, the drastic change made a point and got a ridiculous amount of press.  The price of a game in the iTunes store is still considerably cheaper than buying a console game.  But the best part of this stunt – free publicity!  People (including you after reading this) now know about the game, Alchemize.  And the more people who know about the game, the more people will check it out and possibly purchase it.

At Appency, we’re in the business of marketing iPhone apps, and publicity is one of the services that we offer.  People often ask, what kind of publicity can you bring to a new app?  My definition, anything that gets people to take notice and/or talk about your product. As long as they are talking, you are building brand awareness.  In most cases, a press release and pitching to journalists/bloggers can be a great first step to getting people’s attention.  It helps if you have an angle – first game of its kind, new use of technology, great game play, or in Schiau Studios case, most expensive iPhone game ever!!

Before you take action, we recommend you take a good look at your app. What’s your angle?  Why did you make this app in the first place? Do you have competition in the marketplace?  If yes, why should people download your app versus the competitor’s? Is it priced fairly?  Does it have a good user experience?  Check any current reviews and make any necessary tweaks. When you’re ready to make a big noise, make sure your product can stand the heat!

Kudos to Schiau Studios!  Nicely done.

 

I would never claim to be a designer – there are too many highly qualified individuals out there who have spent too much time and money, and have too much talent, to ever place myself amongst their ranks. I have however spent quite a bit of time teaching myself the basics of Photoshop (um.. 6.0 actually – though a lot of the skills lend themselves to the newer versions), and have gotten quite good at graphics manipulation. So when Adobe announced that they were releasing Photoshop for the iPhone, I readied my pocketbook and headed over to the iStore.

photoshop_for_iphone

My first sign that this was not the Photoshop I was looking for was the price. I’m a full believer that you get what you pay for in the app store – and when I saw that the Photoshop app was free, I knew that the graphic editing power I was hoping to be able to carry in my pocket with me was not going to be there. Adobe is not one to put shabby products into the marketplace however – so I pressed on to see what this app was all about.

The application, while not the set of photoshop tools I was hoping it would be, is still quality.There are basic photo manipulation tools such as the ability to crop, rotate and flip, and the ability to make your iPhone photos black and white is also nice. There are also a few (I would like more) basic filters and effects to add interesting looks to your images.

The main function of the Photoshop iPhone app however – is a marketing tool.

Have you ever heard of Photoshop.com? No – its not the Adobe website that has the product information for Photoshop on it that only graphic designers would visit – its a photo upload and management site akin to Kodak Gallery and Photobucket that allows you to upload and host photos online. While Kodak’s marketing difference in this field is the ability to order prints and other photo paraphanilia – Photoshop’s is their editing capabilities from within the site itself. I did not notice any attempt to upsell any other Adobe product on the site, however I imagine it will be coming once they have a larger audience.

 Expect to see more and more brands using mobile apps to promote online and even offline products in the future. Here are a few of our favorites:

Webber’s On The Grill

Benjamin Moore’s "Ben Color Capture" House Painting Tool

Zippo Virtual Lighter

Charmin Toilet Paper’s "Sit or Squat"

CNN News App

 

 

 

 

skype-iphone-ipod-touch-appYesterday, AT&T announced that iPhone users could finally make VoIP calls over their 3G network, not just over WiFi.  I can call my friends using my Skype app – and it will only cost me airtime!  Or better yet, I can call my friends abroad and pay Skype’s long distance fees (MUCH cheaper!) vs. AT&T’s fees.  Love it.  Really, it’s all about me. But wait, this story turns out to be bigger than me. 

At the heart of it – it’s really about Apple vs Google. In July, we all remember the big controversy surrounding Apple "rejecting" the Google voice app from the iTunes store. Apple said, "The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail."   And then in August Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigns from the Apple Board.   Hhmmmm…  Let’s face it, this is war.

Google vs Apple

Yesterday Verizon announced that they are teaming up with Google to bring a bunch of Android based devices to the #1 carrier in the country.  Plus Google is already working with T-Mobile and Sprint.  Rut rho for AT&T and Apple. As of now, Apple has one device on one network in the US – and Google is working with the other 3 major carriers.  Can Apple really compete against Google? So was AT&T’s announcement yesterday that they reversed their policy and will allow VoIP over the 3G network just a stab in the back to Google?  Sure seems to be. Look, I love Apple.  I have 3 Macs at home, 4 iPods, and even my kids have an iPod Touch so they can play games and be like Mommy & Daddy.  But I can’t stand the reception I get on my AT&T iPhone.  I’d love to switch to Verizon, but I can’t stand their hand-sets.  I’m hoping the iPhone will go to other carriers.  But I have a feeling that Google may not let that happen…..

annapic  Like any good mom I wish I had a million hours a day (and the patience) to read, play and teach my toddler all day long. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced day and age these moments are few and far between. Before work I need to get ready, after work we have errands to run and so on and so forth. Sometimes I just need to be able to drive the car without him being frustrated at having nothing to do. I could just get him one of those portable DVD players and glue him to that everywhere we go, but like all of us parents know, children shouldn’t watch more than an hour of TV on average everyday… according to our pediatrician and I try to set that limit even lower. However, I am only a human being and every time he cries or wants to run around in Target and it’s just us alone I can’t give in and play with him until he is satiated. If I did that, we would never make it home in time to cook dinner, eat, take a bath, read bed time stories AND be in bed by 9PM. 5Monkeys     A year ago when I got my iPhone my son, being the Curious George that he is, wanted to see what mommy does on it. At first we showed him some of the games I played, but then I had the brilliant idea to search for kids games and I found a whole bunch! Many of them were a disappointment, a waste of time and money. I don’t need a video-game addicted 3 year old. But a very few were fun and educational for him.     What does a mom want for her toddler to play with on her iPhone? For starters, nothing violent. I know that should be common sense, but that’s not so common these days. The colors have to be bright and attractive. The characters have to vary. The music should be fun and familiar (my son loves his “5 Little Monkeys” game and the “Wheels on the Bus”). Don’t be cheap and use a man’s monotone voice to help him learn to count numbers, as one application so pathetically did. Please make it a little bit more interesting than just opening the doors of a barn to find a new animal inside (no, offense PeekaBoo Barn, my son loves you, but I think you’re a waste of time). Teach them about letters, numbers and spelling! Allow them to draw or play the keys on a keyboard or another instrument. Teach them fun fact about the things little kids are already interested in: fire trucks, animals, etc. And reward them when they solve puzzles correctly. My son loves it when he completes a puzzle and the game tells him “Awesome” or, as one game brilliantly did, rewards him with stickers that he can paste in a mobile sticker book.     Let me tell you, as addicted as I am to my iPhone (and I can barely put it down), more than 60% of my applications are tailored towards educating and entertaining my child (of course I limit his use here as well). In addition, we use my iPhone to play soothing bedtime music before he goes to bed. WheelsBus So where do you find iPhone savvy moms like me? I spend most of my online time at Facebook, talking with friends and shareing updates about my son. I get tips from BabyCenter.com, find kid-friendly events and resources at GoCityKids.com and chatting with other moms like me CircleOfMoms.com. When choosing apps for my son, I rely heavily on reccomendations from other moms  

Anna is a working single mom. Born in Kiev, Ukraine she immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 4. She speaks Russian fluently and does her very best to make sure that her little boy will do the same. Anna attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in Psychology. She is currently working as a surgery coordinator in San Francisco.  

**Editors Note** I myself have children, but one is an 8 month old little girl, and the other is a 7 year old boy. Both play with my iPhone. The baby loves to play wtih "PhonyPhone" from BabyCenter, and my son loves iShoot – which, while it does involve tanks blowing each other up, does not portray any gore or life-like violence.

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