Karen’s Coins – iTunes Optimization, The Sixth Force and Other Phrases for Thought

Here Are Some Phrases, Terms and Concepts I’ve Created and Coined. I hope they give you food for thought (Previously published June 15, 2010)

MSEO – Mobile Search Engine Optimization (October 7, 2011)

iTunes Optimization (aka iTO) – The art and science of marketing an iPhone application via the iPhone application store – and within the mobile ecosystem in general. The ultimate goal is to get the application as high as possible on the list of relevant and/or recommended applications. This involves paid mobile advertising, cross-promotion and other tools, as yet unmastered.

Alternatively Application Store Marketing and Application Store Optimization (ASM and ASO)

The Sixth Force – Refers to the importance of “complements” in evaluating the strategic position and approach of a company or organization. The sixth force supplements Porter’s existing five forces: Suppliers, Customers, Competitors, Potential New Entrants, Substitutes. When I was a brand manager for RAGU Pizza Sauce, the introduction and declining popularity of Boboli pizza crust turned out to be the most important element in explaining the rise and fall of pizza sauce consumption over a three-year period.

Segmented Media PricingPrint publishers need to start looking at their business in a new way. Rather than maintaining the print versions of their magazine and newspaper publications as they are, and then deciding what form of walled garden, paid, metered, micropayment and/or freemium model to implement online, they need to unbundle and redesign what they offer – which is news and information, not a printed magazine or electronic replication with enhancements.

(Formerly called Disaggregation Correlations Optimization)

Social Mediaphobe – A marketer, manager or executive who is afraid to expose his brand to the masses – to what the massess might say – in a social forum. He is afraid that consumers might disparage the brand or say something inappropriate – and that, and this is the most common fear – he will be responsible because he sponsored, created, condoned, enabled, facilitated, hosted or participated in the forum. He is afraid of having his feelings hurt or his wrists slapped.

Hold the hands of these Social Media-phobes as they look down upon the icy ski slope. Tell them they can do it. They can conquer the mountain. Tell them not to lean back. Not to look back. That will only cause them to fall. Let them know that they can enjoy the ride. The journey. And that it can be exhilarating and even, well, social.

Beer Diplomacy – The use of beer by the president of the United States to patch up an awkward race-relations situation.

Eccentrepreneur – Simply put, an eccentric entrepreneur. You’ll know one when you see one.

Mistweeting – I did not personally coin this and give credit to Michael Herz at NYSSA. This refers to the act of stating or implying that you are doing something or located somewhere and then contradicting that with Twitter updates.
Spoken Word — “I will be out of town all summer.”
Tweet — “Just had dinner at a great restaurant in the West Village!”

Coffaholic – Someone who loves, loves, loves coffee [you know who you are] and everything that comes with it. Someone who will sit in a Starbucks just to soak in the aroma. Someone who buys every variety of those traveling coffee mugs she can find – even though she really needs no more than one.

By the way, does anyone remember thermoses – with the screw on lids and a cup on top of that? Do those still exist? The ones where you could add a little something to your warm beverage to make the football game a little more entertaining.

Reconnaissance Shopping – A quick walk through a retail establishment such as Loehmann’s to keep tabs on the types of merchandise they carry should a specific need arise. For example, recent reconnaissance made me aware of an abundance of very cute low-heeled boots, but I was not in the market for these. However, upon hearing from my doctor that I should stop wearing high heels, I was able to complete a quick, efficient shopping expedition on my way home from her office. Reconnaissance shopping is not the same as window shopping, which is more recreational and leisurely.

Neiphews – Kind of a cop out. Looking for a word that encompasses both nieces and nephews as in, “I have four niephews – three nephews and one niece.”

Frolleague – A colleague you would friend (or have friended) on Facebook.

Ovation Inflation – The somewhat recent practice here in NYC of giving a standing ovation to any performance that costs enough that the audience feels they must justify their expenditure by categorizing the performance as one that calls for a standing ovation. Personally, I save my ovations for occasions in which I am so moved, impressed or rendered speechless that I rise to my feet without even knowing it.

The Fourth Dimension – Of course, this term is not new; however, I would assert that via time shifting technology, we have indeed reached the fourth dimension. Deep.

(As it turns out I learned during a dinner with one of the Hadron Collider experimental physicists that digital video recorders and podcasts have not given us access to the fourth dimension. Evidentally, the fourth dimension derives from the Space x Time = Distance equation. Ah, well.)

Foursquenvy – Feeling bad because someone has checked-in somewhere you wish you could be

Place the Spot; Spot the Placement

I can’t help it! When I’m watching “The Big Bang Theory,” and Leonard’s “Mom” holds her soda can just a little too long and a little too high, and the can remains visible for 5 minutes of the show, then it must be a product placement. It’s a bit of a game, a bit of an art to spot, so I’m reopening my log of potential spottings. I hope you’ll join me.  (See also part I of this compilation:  “Spot the Placement; Place the Spot”)

  • How I Met Your MotherTed has already used Bing (the search engine) twice before the first commercial break.  Once to look up the route from their bar to a steakhouse where Woody Allen is eating and then to look up the website where people rate their professors. (October 11, 2010)
  • Big Bang TheoryFresca, Fanta, Fiji Water– in the lunchroom at work – all other beverages have no labels; Fiji water especially well placed – full on label exposure.However, watching episodes a year after I wrote this bullet, it seems that the product placement was there when the episode was new but not for repeats.  Is that possible (see below)
  • America’s Got Talent, June 22-ish, 2010 – Filmed at Universal Theme Park in Orlando.  As with Ugly Betty below, lots of opportunities for shameless promotion and touring of the park, e.g., the host on the rollercoaster or next to the Jaws shark.
  • Reality shows are fantastic venues for product integration.  The book “Buyology” has some great examples, however, about how brands can overshadow each other in programs like “American Idol.” 
  • Rules of Engagement, June 7th, 2010 – Kiehl’s moisturizer on Audrey’s nightstand. Could be for character definition. In any case, awfully prominent, as in the only thing on the nightstand, just inside the shot and positioned so that you could read the label.

    What do you think? Is Kiehl’s helping to define Audrey’s character, or is CBS helping to promote Kiehl’s?
  • Colbert Report, June 8th, 2010 – Colbert wearing a lab coat with a big Lexus logo on the back during piece about Consumer Reports.
  • Colbert Report, June 7th, 2010 – Microsoft’s Bing search engine agreed to donate $2,500 to a charity of Stephen’s choice every time he said the word, “bing.” The show raised $100,000 for the Gulf of America Fund.

  • Ugly Betty and the Atlantis Paradise Island resort – the December 4th episode was one long, albeit beautiful, advertorial for the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, interrupted only by, well, ads for the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. There was even an entire scene designed around the famous water slide. If it weren’t for the MEMORABLE footage of the dastardly but oh so hot Connor Owens wearing minimal wardrobe, it might have been too much. Ugly Betty is a great vehicle for brand integration. And I understand that the Latin American version, which takes place in an advertising agency, milks the product placement cow even more completely.
  • Big Bang Theory, September 21, 2009 – new Diet Pepsi can – 3rd act of “Big Bang Theory.” The can is – for me – one of five characters in the scene. 
  • Big Bang Theory, September 22, 2011.  Interesting to me that they drink Fiji water in the cafeteria but always have it facing the other way.
  • Millionaire Matchmaker: 2011 NYC season – interesting interstitial in which she goes on a shoe shopping binge at Jeffreys.  Seemed natural at first; then it made me wonder.  She likes dropping names.  She went with her stylus/make up artist friend.  I suspect she was promoting her as well.  Reality TV – the advertising gods gift to brand integration.
  • Chips Ahoy cookies in the new Planet of the Apes film.  A key plot element. (September 30, 2011)
  • Boardwalk Empire – Canadian Club. I saw a beautifully done window “billboard” on the glass of Beacon Liquor next to the Beacon Theater – has the appearance of being etched into the glass. (October 1, 2011) Arresting – at least to me – and despite unfortunate placement of window pane.  However, evidentially controversial:Through a marketing partnership with Canadian Club, which HBO calls “a brand authentic to the period,” the pay-TV network has been placing Boardwalk Empire displays and window signs in some real-world liquor stores and wine shops. The campaign also includes bar events, such as re-created speakeasies featuring a special cocktail menu. According to HBO Vice President of Brand Marketing Chris Spadaccini, the in-store displays feature crates of liquor with Canadian Club product and branding for the show. Some liquor store signs for the series have the appearance of being etched into the window glass.”Window displays are essentially street-level billboards, so these types of advertisements are helpful in reaching a broad audience,” Spadaccini said in an email about the ad campaign.But that approach — using liquor stores to target a wide range of consumers — marks what’s wrong with the campaign, according to David Jernigan, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. “These are sources that children pass on the way to school. They can’t be turned off,” Jernigan says of the window displays, adding this campaign marks the first time he’s heard of a TV show advertising in liquor-store windows”See full article from DailyFinance:
  • Yes… but they’re not showing alcohol in the displays, just club soda.  Thoughts? 
  • Glee and the Gap: The Feb. 8 episode of “Glee” had an extensive musical scene set in a Gap store

  • Revenge TV Show promoting itself within bars and restaurants in the Hamptons – where the program is set
  • I don’t believe that premium channels like Showtime sell product placement opportunities.  However, if they did, I would spot a lot – including Dexter’s altercation with a Nescafe coffee machine.  (Is Nescafe still around?)
  • Colbert, Colbert, Colbert.  He is the king of product placement.

For more examples, check out: Spot the Placement, Place the Spot

Fool Me Once…, Tennis and the Notorious Irene

5-Day ForecastA few short years ago, I played tennis once a year, in Montauk, with my mother. That has changed. A quick count of the dots on back of my Central Park Tennis permit shows 24+ visits to the courts beginning in June when my physical therapist gave me permission to return to the clay following my trapeze injury in December…

In any case, the point is that I have become, one might say, obsessed with tennis. And, as such, I have become similarly preoccupied with the iPhone app (despite the fact that prior versions have been known to do all kinds of weird things to the phone, including crashing programs and the overall device). Often the first thing I do – before getting out of bed in the morning – is check the weather: current, hour by hour, day by day, and, as of this weekend, severe alerts and videos. And I have been known to repeat this process many times throughout the day

I have come to learn a number of things. First, as I should have recalled from my education in statistics, % likelihood of rain is a misleading statistic. 80% chance of rain – or even 100% chance of rain, as is predicted for Sunday – does not mean that it will rain all day. In fact, a 5-minute passing shower fulfills the prediction of rain but does little to impede my tennis other than causing me to regrip my racket more often, and to consider leaving my iPhone in my locker.  (In fact, the photo to the right was taken first thing in the morning on a day that included hours of tennis that very afternoon.)

I’ve also learned – much against my nature – to be optimistic. 30% chance of rain, as my friend Gary pointed out, means 70% chance that it won’t rain.

So where does this leave me on the eve of Hurricane Irene’s visit to the Northeast corridor? Unfortunately or fortunately, I feel skeptical. 100% chance of rain on Sunday has, in fact, compelled me to cancel my plans to go to the US Open to watch the players practice, and has motivated me to select an indoor venue for my birthday dinner – despite my publicly stated summer birthday policy. However, 4-11% chance of a hurricane and 72% chance of tropical storm conditions has not “at this point in time” deterred me from going forward with said birthday plans, or inspired me to give up my prime parking spot to return my car to the garage.

I hear warnings and forecasts on New York One and from friends and family on Facebook – including one in Hong Kong, who implores me not to underestimate the storm. But I look at the maps and zones and am not convinced. Nor are my porter and doorman. So, I’ve decided to be a weather optimist – at least for the moment. This is not meant to be a recommendation for others in more precarious situations, and, well is subject to change, but I’m curious to see how this weekend unfolds… so much so that I’ll surely be closely connected to my app – at least until the cell towers get knocked out and I run out of power….

Geolocation: What Are Thou to Me? Part IV

Each day, foursquare has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way in which it influences my city, myself, and , increasingly, my world. I decided therefore, a few months after joining the network – May 20th, 2010 – , to keep a little diary of my new life with foursquare

You have now entered Part IV this ongoing journal – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Check my archives for Chapters I, II and III.

Monday, July 5th

On Saturday, I checked into NYC Taxi 6H89 and found that it was already in the foursquare database – entered manually by a regular (not super) user. This surprised me as I’m used to frantically entering the number of the taxi and classifying the location as transportation and then taxi… before reaching my destination and figuring out my payment method and tip. Are we reaching some kind of critical foursquare taxi mass? Or was this simply a very neat coincidence – particularly since I don’t take many taxis and there are more than 13,000 yellow taxis in New York City. In either case, an interesting milestone.

This week, foursquare obtained $20 million in funding, and Dennis Crowley “checked in” at the World Cup in South Africa. Nice.

To write the taxi paragraph above, I had to go to my online profile to get the taxi number. I noticed that there is a history of all my check-ins that dates back to April 26th, 2010. Going back to when I first joined in January or February, I have a total of 1099 check-ins! I think I may be an oversharer (yes, I have the badge), but, hey, that’s how I roll.

That said, I find this history to be a valuable tool to keep track of time spent on different client engagements, e.g., time on-site and to get a sense of average transportation time for specific trips, e.g., Upper West Side to Tribeca and West 74th to Central Park Tennis Courts. Remember when all those management consultants tried to get people to keep journals to measure productivity. Now we do it for fun.

July 15th, 2010

Foursquare reached the 2 million user mark this week.

I noted that a lot of people had checked into the Great Lawn on Tuesday night. Was there a free concert, I wondered.

This week, the NYC foursquare community created Heatpacolypse (all of last week!) and Rainpacolypse (Tuesday the 13th). I experienced and checked into both. A fun way to share the extremities of the local weather.

July 26th, 2010

I’ve just checked into the Apple store on the upper west side. As the 13th person here, I seem to have pushed it over the fence to a trending location. It seems to trend a lot lately, though I remember not too too long ago that I was the only or one of just two or three people who had checked in here.

Another location that seems to trend a lot lately is the AMC Movie Theater. There is a strong correlation between the numerical reading on the weather channel site and the number of people checked in at the highly air conditioned movie theater… Quite a popular venue over the course of the last few scorching weeks here in NYC.

After weeks of checking in at the Central Park Tennis Center, it dawned on me that that is a perfect venue for foursquare. Lately, I find myself hanging out on warm weekend days looking for open courts and potential tennis partners. Foursquare could not be more appropriate. The only problem is that I am almost always the only one checked in there. This weekend, I did spy a second player. I immediately invited him to be my foursquare friend. Stay tuned to see whether we ever cross rackets on the court.

July 30th

Duane Reade, the NYC chain of drug stores, has asked to follow me on foursquare (and be my friend on Facebook). Personally, I found this request a little creepy… but I am tempted to accept the invite to get a sense of what they plan to do as my foursquare friend. I suspect they want to know when I’m in their store.

August 4th

Forrester released a report last week stating that 4% of U.S. online adults have used a Location Based Social Network (LBSN), with “only” 1% using them more than once a week. However… of the several million folks who are using LBSNs: 70% have four-year college or graduate degrees, the average age is 32, the average annual household income just over $100,000, and 78% are male. So… does that mean I’m behaving like a 32 year old well-educated early-adopter… guy? That may explain my social life.

September 11th

I just found out via foursquare that there’s a TJ Maxx on West 96th Street.  It showed up as near the Whole Foods up there, which is where I had dinner.  That was my first time, by the way, after seeing the organic food store trending many Sunday nights.  And, by the way, the Whole Foods offers a free coffee tumbler to those who go to customer service and show that they’ve checked in for the first time.  I did not act upon this offer, but I did take a photo of the sign, which was tucked away near the restrooms…

Well re: TJ, that’s one express stop or a 25 minute walk – not to mention being awfully close to the Central Park tennis courts. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, as Loehmann’s does not carry any linen, towels, etc. Very exciting. My mother will be proud.

September 20th

It looks like the Trader Joe’s on the Upper West Side is now open.  I noticed 12 people checked in while I was getting a slice of mushroom pizza at Freddie & Pepper’s.

October 26th

On October 17th, my iPhone was wiped and reset in an attempt to address performance issues.  That means that I need to reconnect to all of my social apps including foursquare.  I went a few hours without access and then reconnected.  Or so I thought until I realized I had logged into my first account in which I misspelled my name (typo as I do actually know the spelling of my name…).  When I realized this, I attempted to log into my more recent account.  However,  I have not yet had luck doing so.  When my email and password did not, I tried to connect via Facebook Mobile, but that did not work either.  I’m sure it can be done but have not yet sat down to take the time to make it happen.  So, the point of this embarrassing discussion of my technical travails… I feel strangely free.  I still think foursquare has lots of value and expect to reconnect.  But, in the meantime, I’m enjoying my time off.  What does that say about the adoption cycle of those who are less “passionate” than I…

In the meantime – once I reconnect to it on my iphone as well, that is  – I’ve developing a strong affinity for GetGlue, a non location based version of foursquare – for people who stay home.  Users check into entertainment activities such as a tv show, a movie or a book.  It’s a really neat way to make personal experiences social while maintaining a level of intimacy.

October 28th

I am back in the square.  Turns out I couldn’t live without it.  I need foursquare to look back on my day and remember where I went and what I did.

November 24th

I know that the upper west side is pretty crazy the night before Thanksgiving.  Cars backed up outside my window with mellifluous honking of horns.  Children being taken aside and reprimanded on every street corner.  Lines of people waiting for cupcakes at the Crumb’s bake shop next to the Equinox.  And so on.  I know that the balloons that are blown up next to the Museum of Natural History are quite a draw.  Personally, I’ve never had the patience or fortitude to wait in line to see them… nonetheless, I guess I knew there must be decent numbers of people who were, but when I turned on foursquare tonight, I saw that 342 people were checked in at the Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation venue.  That’s crazy!

December 12th, 2010

@sterlingoptical retweeted the fact that I became mayor of their store on the upper west side

Now that I am recording the license # of each taxi I take, I feel a new kind of peace of mind, knowing that if I leave a pair of gloves in the cab, I would know which cab it was – even without a receipt.  I think this new sense of calm has contributed to the fact that I have not inadvertently left anything in a taxi in the last year.

Last weekend, I was working on a small project – around 5 hours.  On Sunday afternoon, I took a break to play tennis – it had been scheduled in advance.  I had been exchanging emails and work product with my client over the weekend and told him that the next iteration would come in the late afternoon or early evening.  As I prepared to leave the courts, I realized that my client, who follows me on foursquare, would have access to how I was spending my day – would he mind that I took three hours off to play tennis?  Oh well.

On that note, I discovered a great new place to play tennis.  When I checked in for the first time, I tweeted and facebooked and everything.  Then I wondered whether I should keep this new find closer to the vest…

I should say that foursquare is soooooo slow, it can be extraordinarily frustrating.  What is the balance between foursquare and AT&T as the cause of this frustration?  Dunno.

I continue to think that GetGlue has a lot of potential, particularly as those in the television space (content providers, etc.) become more aware of it.  Great opportunity for advertisers to encourage people to check into and/or comment on their ads.  Great opportunity for book publishers as well.  Potential tie in/partnership with shelfari.  Keep your eyes on this one.

Back to foursquare: I have become increasingly reliant on foursquare for tracking my hours on freelance projects.  Great tool!

Marketing an iPhone App – What a Difference a Year Makes in a Digital Media World

What a difference a year makes!

I first posted the blog entry below about marketing an iphone app on May 27th, 2009.  In it, I included all kinds of informational tidbits that make me feel nostalgic as I reread it and basically make the point – what a difference a year makes in the world of digital and mobile media.

As I watch the iPad spiral to unforeseen levels of penetration in just the first  few weeks of its life – so high that distribution abroad was delayed in an attempt to meet domestic demand.  Would we have predicted that a year ago?

As I ogle over each new HTC Droid, as the number of application stores reaches 5+, and as the number of Droid applications is expected to surpass those for iPhones this year, I thought it was worth pulling it up for old time’s sake and to notice what a difference a year makes – and also what has stayed the same. So, in the interest of time – as I have important meetings at 2pm and 4:30pm, here are a few data points for thought:

  • Mobile ad sales accounted for approximately $391 million in 2009 and are forecast to reach $561 million in 2010 (Zenith Optimedia). Of course, this doesn’t begin to take into account content revenue: music, video, applications, etc. or usage charges: text messaging, data, voice (remember voice?)
  • The global market for mobile applications reached $10 billion in 2009. (Didn’t see that coming in 2006!) – Juniper Research
  • Apple sold 1 million iPads in 28 days and more than 2 million in less than 60 days.
  • It took 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones.
  • As of May 3, 2010, 12 million iPad applications had been downloaded and 1.5 million eBooks (Steve Jobs)
  • There are 250,000 iphone applications – as of June 26th, 2010. Last I checked, there were 200,000 ipad apps. Given those #s and a current Android app count of 50-60,000, there is no way – in my opinion – that Android apps will overtake Apple in 2010.Any major – or even minor – brand is remiss – I would suggest – if they do not have or plan to launch a mobile application.
  • While some predicted that there would be 150,000 Android applications by the end of 2010, the number is currently closer to 60,000.  That may provide insight into the assertion by a Motorola exec during NYC Internet Week that WAP sites are superior to apps – though, in fairness, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • iPhone users are more likely to use apps than websites; that’s flipped for other smart phone users.
  • 65,000 Android phones ship daily (Eric Schmidt, May 17, 2010 via
  • Android phones were not around a year ago
  • Unlike iPhones, Android phones have multiple manufacturers including Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, and are available through multiple carriers.
  • The term is no longer “iPhone App” but rather “Mobile App.”
  • The term is no longer “iPhone” but rather “Smartphone.”
  • Smartphone penetration reached 21% of wireless subscribers at the end of 2010 and is expected to pass the 50% mark in 2011. (Nielsen)
  • Nearly three quarters of all physicians own smartphones. (Manhattan Research, Q1 2010) – that’s a penetration level nearly four times that of the general population!
  • 14% of mobile customers have downloaded an app in the last 30 days. BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile users have between 10 and 14 apps on their phones, with RIM on the low end of the scale. Android users average 22 apps, compared to iPhone owners who devour, as Steve Smith of Mediapost puts it, 37 apps.
  • As of May 2010, Apple is larger than Microsoft.

(For more mobile facts and observations, visit my post: Mobile Facts Change So Fast! – a repository for key mobile stats)

And now to our formerly scheduled blog posting:


I recently attended one of Alan Brody’s iBreakfasts – “iPhone Apps & Mobile Platforms.” The panelists were Eric Litman from MediaLets, Ken Engels from Curious Brain and Alex Muller from Slifter. And it of course, got me thinking about iPhone apps. So here are some of my thoughts:


How Many Phones?

There are currently 40MM iPhone and iTouch devices (15)

17MM iPhones had been sold as of March 2009. (1)

Nearly 4MM iPhones were sold in the 1st quarter of 2009 – representing growth of nearly 125% vs. 2008. (8)

During the first three months of iPhone 3G availability (3Q 2008), seven million phones were sold, exceeding the six million first-generation phones sold in 1 1/4 years. (8)

26% of U.S. smart phone users have iPhones (35% have Blackberries). (3)

Where Are They?

iPhone applications are available in 77 countries. (7)

There are 500MM people with mobile phones in India…(5)

How Many Apps?

As of April 24th, 2009, 1 billion iPhone applications had been downloaded – 9 months after the launch of the store. (4)

On June 8th, Apple announced that there were 50,000 applications in the iTunes Store – up from 35,000 in April (7). At the OMMA Video conference on June 17th, I heard estimates of 54,000 by Gordon Borrell and 57,500 by Marketspace Senior Advisor Andrew Heyward.

As of April 15, 2009, 25,000 different iPhone apps had been downloaded. (6)

As of June 12th, 2009, 15 of the top 20 free and paid apps (top 10 free; top 10 paid) were games

The iPhone Applications Store model of centralized distribution is unprecedented.

It takes one to two weeks for a new application to be listed by Apple (if approved).(9)

What’s Up with UrbanSpoon?

UrbanSpoon was one of the top applications downloaded in 2008.

Following favorable reviews from Macworld, TechCrunch, and even the New York Times, the free app racked up 300,000 downloads and over 6,000,000 shakes within the first 10 days.

In October 2008, UrbanSpoon began selling advertising on the application through a platform/ad network called AdMob that specializes in mobile advertising.

UrbanSpoon had already achieved 1MM downloads when it was approached by Apple to be featured in the Apple iPhone commercial. One month after the November commercial hit the airwaves, UrbanSpoon’s downloads had jumped to 2.2MM. (10)

The UrbanSpoon iPhone application was originally introduced to drive traffic to its website. Its founders estimate that if they had charged for the application, e.g., $1.00, downloads would have been reduced by 90%. (11)

UrbanSpoon was recently purchased by IAC.

How Much Are They?

Most iPhone applications are paid apps. (12)

However, the top 10 free applications made up 7% of downloads as of December 2008. (13)

iPhone paid apps range from $.99 to at least $6.99 (e.g., BeamMe Pro). (14) The average price is $1.00 – $1.50. (12)

Apple takes 30% commission for paid applications. Apple’s estimated revenue from app sales is undisclosed, but estimates range from $70 million to $160 million. (14)

What’s Next?

Web 3.0 is here. The iPhone 3.0 enables in-application purchases (7)


ASO and ASM:

I have coined two new phrases: Application Store Optimization (ASO) and Application Store Marketing (ASM). These are core elements of iPhone application marketing.

Where do people go when they are looking for information and answers? Google – the “Q-Tip” of Search. Where do people go when looking for an iPhone application? The App Store – the centralized, exclusive source for iPhone Applications.

There are two goals: (1) turn up high on the results page of an app store keyword search (e.g., subway map, weather) and (2) be part of a “Top 10” list (e.g., games). 80% of downloads come from the top 100 applications. (16)

If you can’t accomplish this organically, then go for Application Search Marketing (ASM) by paying to be a “Featured” application. As with SEM, ASM can be used to jump start organic search.

The key concept to remember is that popularity breeds popularity. Once you achieve a high ranking, take advantage of it. The one time you are guaranteed inclusion in a Top 25 list is when you are introduced, so support your application when you launch it, and focus your efforts.

If you are going to spend money advertising your application, then you are better off with one heavy push, i.e., buy your advertising all in one day rather than by sprinkling it around.

The “What’s New” and “Top” lists are said to have rolling 24 hour windows. However, Apple has been continuously changing its algorithms.

Other Applications

A good strategy is to get included in other applications. This can be done by purchasing ad inventory through a third party or through partnerships. Creators of gaming applications often maintain a portfolio of games, using each one as a platform to promote the others. Whatever your application, it’s important to target people who like a similar or complementary application.

Website Promotion

If you have an online presence, you can promote your mobile application on your own website. This can include deep links that can be emailed or texted to a mobile device or that links to the iTunes Store.

Social Media and Editorial Reviews

Develop a strategy for getting positive coverage: editorial and user reviews, blogs, Twitter, etc.

Consider Giving It Away

As with other content providers, the developer of an iPhone application is faced with a tradeoff: (a) give it away to get broader adoption (b) sell it to get revenue and recoup costs. Consider giving away your initial version; it will get downloaded by early adopters who are sure to give you feedback in the form of reviews within the Application Store. Once you’ve refined the application and gotten some word of mouth, transition to a paid model (grandfathering the early adopters). Additionally, you can give your first release away for free and then charge for the 2nd generation premium or “pro’ version. BeamMe went from free to $6.99.


iPhone applications are characterized by the early fervor of a new space, and there are low barriers to entry for a new iPhone application

More than one in four smart phone users have iPhones; Verizon needs to take this situation seriously as it evaluates whether to reach an arrangement with iPhone once AT&T’s exclusive contract expires. A Blackberry representative recently told me that because only 7.4% of computers are Apple computers, there is limited incentive to create software for Mac users, e.g., a working program for synchronizing a Blackberry with a MacBook. However, if Blackberry can’t offer a viable solution, Verizon will lose customers to AT&T and iPhone, despite the fact that Verizon offers dramatically better phone courage. If Verizon continues to let this happen, they are missing a big opportunity.


In early 2006, I wrote a presentation about the mobile space for a multi-platform publisher that included forecasts of mobile advertising and marketing revenue by a range of media pundits. This is what they forecast for 2009:
– Visiongain: $602MM (55% compound annual growth rate)
– RBC Capital: $1.5 Bn (101% CAGR)
– McKinsey: $250-$750MM
eMarketer: $434MM (20% CAGR)

(As it turns out, mobile advertising revenue for 2009 was $391 million – Source: ZenithOptimedia, “Advertising Expenditure Forecasts,” provided to eMarketer, December 8, 2009 – it seems that eMarketer wins the forecasting contest.)

The wide-ranging projections could not have foreseen the iPhone application revolution, that provides increased opportunity for paid listings, sponsorships, cross-promotion, affiliate marketing and display advertising. That said, the majority of mobile revenue comes from text messaging. (12)

Sources: Eric Litman, Alex Muller, Ken Engels and Alan Brody, Network World, Zueo, Christian Science Monitor, Articles Base, eMarketer, Tata, Steve Wax of Campfire Media, Stuart Farr of Not for Tourists

(1) March 24th, 2009
(2) January 28th, 2009 – while some of the difference between the 15MM and the 17MM numbers may be due to purchases made between January and March, some is likely attributable to iPhone owners who have purchased more than one iPhone – likely trading up from version 1 to version 2
(3) March 2009 – eMarketer, Skype survey
(4) 1 billion as of April 24th, 2009 – – remember that iTouch users also download applications –> approximately 22 per device
(5) Tata – 92nd Street Y panel, June 2009
(6) Are there 10,000 iPhone applications that have never been downloaded?
(7) 35,000 as of April 24th, 2009 –
(8) Apple financial report
(9) June 8, 2009. Recent applicant
(10) Ethan Lowry, founding member of UrbanSpoon, one of the most downloaded iPhone applications of 2008. Mobile Crunch, December 5th, 2008.
(11) October 30, 2008 – Seattle 2.0, Kevin Leneway
(12) iBreakfast panel
(13) Mobile Crunch, December 5th, 2008 – estimate by Greg Kuparak
(14) ClickZ, May 22, 2009
(15) Apple, June 8, 2009
(16) Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates, Inc. – OMMA Video Conference, June 17, 2009

Motorola Droid X Heats Up Competition with Apple – Guest Article

This article, first published on June 21st, is by Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer of Sparxoo, an agency specializing in digital strategy, branding, and marketing.

Google and Motorola will create some sparks with the timely announcement of their new Droid X, merely 24 hours before Apple’s new iPhone 4 in-store release on June 23rd. Coincidence? I think not. It is the latest in a battle to compete with the smartphone market’s top dog, Research in Motion.

Apple’s clearly ahead of Google, with 28 percent of the US smartphone market share compared to Android’s 9 percent. According to one Morgan Stanley analyst, Apple has potential to grow from around 30 million users today to nearly 100 million total users worldwide by the end of 2011.

The Android could give Steve Jobs worry though, as the Motorola Droid X sports many of the same features as the iPhone 4 and uses an arguably faster and larger carrier, Verizon. Should Apple be shaking in its boots? Tech experts weigh-in on the Apple / Android debate:

Motorola Droid X’s new features rival that of Apple’s iPhone 4, while Apple’s release has been tainted by poor reviews and embarrassing tech malfunctions.

“Apple’s stint with iPhone 4 has been already tainted by negative stories and all sorts of rumors. At Apple’s WWDC we saw how iPhone 4 failed to connect to Internet due to heavy WiFi congestion… The ad placed on the Verizon’s website indicates that Droid X would be loaded with some fantabulous features including 4.3-inch display device, HDMI output and Android 2.1 OS. It will also have FWVGA 854 x 480-resolution screen, giving a crystal clear image. The Droid X features apparently stand toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPhone 4.0.” [USA News Week Blog]

Motorola Droid X still has the Verizon advantage over iPhone’s exclusive AT&T contract and could spell long-term disaster for Cupertino.

“Apple can withstand the calls to move to multiple operators for the moment, but if Android keeps growing quickly Cupertino may have to consider making its device available in the United States on more than one network. Advantage: Android.” [PC World]

Apple’s iPhone has one operating system across a few devices, whereas Android has many versions of its OS platform for many phones — making it confusing for the end-user to determine whether their phone receives an update

“Apple has just one operating system available for sale at a time, and until recently it made iOS updates available to almost all of its older hardware… [Android] suffers from a multiplicity of available devices with new and old versions of the hardware, including Android 1.6, 2.1 and the upcoming 2.2. That can get to be confusing for users, since you have to figure out which operating system you’re phone has, whether it’s going to get upgrades, and which features you may be missing.” [PC World]

Motorola Droid X will debut a mere 24 hours after the iPhone 4 in-store release — making it a newer, shiner and likely more popular phone on the block.

“July 19th is the release date of the Motorola Droid X that has been floating around the Internet.  At that time, the X will become the supreme king Android based phone, and one can’t help but wonder what will happen to yesterday’s ‘Incredible’ phone… All we do know is this – Droid X mustn’t get too comfortable on his throne.  In a few short weeks some other phone manufacturer will come out with something newer, faster, and ‘better’ at which point it will be forgotten.” [CNM News]

Life as a Game – The Visions of Dennis Crowley and Jesse Schell

Now that foursquare is cracking down on “cheating,” it won’t let me officially check in at the fruit stand outside my apartment. Instead, my iPhone informs me that I am too far away from the cart. Is it possible that I created the venue from inside my apartment? I don’t believe so. Unfortunately, the functionality of foursquare is limited by the GPS and other geo-location capabilities of the handheld devices.

On a related note, the founders of foursquare suspect that Dodgeball, their first geolocation game, was ahead of its time. When it was created, the means of checking in was text messaging.

I am now foursquare friends with one of its founders, which means that I can see how he personally utilizes it. Thus far, he seems to check-in predominantly at social venues or when doing something social or interesting with the 4Sq team. When Dodgeball was created, the initial purpose – I am told by a woman I met at Lower East Side birthday gathering – was to invite others to join you at a location. It has now become, she feels, about announcing where you are. And, she sadly mused, the initial function will become less useful as the base gets broader.

When Dennis spoke the other night, he said that he was greatly inspired by Nike Plus in developing foursquare and by the idea of (a) making life a game and (b) providing virtual rewards for real actions. What is the value of getting a badge… well, really nothing except that “I did and you didn’t.” And the impact of creating a badge is that the foursquare game influences the real life actions of its players. As I observed personally in my first blog about using foursquare, the Gym Rat badge can be earned by working out 10 times. That motivates people to work out. The pizza badge is earned by checking in to a certain number of pizza venues.

In addition, foursquare can be programmed to provide badges or rewards or recognition for the shout-outs that accompany your check-in. For example, if a sports fan made a Celtics comment in his or her shout-out, she earned a Celtics badge. So many possibilities…

By the by, Dennis’ comments about making life a game and influencing real life behavior via these kinds of rewards systems have a lot in common with Carnegie Mellon Professor Jesse Schell’s “Beyond Facebook” talk at G4 Dice 2010 about a world of game development which will emerge from the popular “Facebook Games” era.

Games, says Schell, are invading the real world — and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning. The future, he predicts, will be one in which 1-ups and experience points break out of the box, as it were, and into every part of our daily lives.  His talk definitely worth viewing.