sinking kitty

20,000 apps don’t mean a thing when the majority are crap

Look this isn’t a problem just faced by the Windows Phone Marketplace as it is a systemic problem faced by all the app stores, marketplaces, galleries or whatever you want to call them. However my point today is with the one that means the most to me and that is the Windows Phone Marketplace with its increase flood of crap apps.

This is something that has been irritating me long before I got my Windows Phone. It goes back to when desktop widgets were all the rage and we had to suffer through things like the Desktop Gadgets Gallery; which still exists, and the vast majority of useless gadgets which made going to the gallery an exercise in self-abuse.

Again this wasn’t just a Windows problems as the same thing could be seen at any of the other gadget galleries, much like the one for Yahoo Gadgets (previously Konfabulator) but this hair pulling experience of trying to find good useful widgets has now reached a whole new high with the Windows Phone Marketplace.

I had been wanting to write about this before but a post over at WPCentral by Richard Edmonds stoked the fire in the belly once more to the point I had to say something. In his post Richard points to one example that he feels is nothing more than spam

There’s one better though. Check these absolute beauties out, which were developed by Eric_Rulz (I know what you’re thinking, L337 right?). SPAM apps. No, not for the meat, they’re not a spam history related app, nor can you order cans of the stuff to your doorstep. I’m talking about useless crap, that type of spam. This guy is trolling via apps. Microsoft is actually allowing someone (probably a competitive fanboy, who knows?) to clog up our marketplace with ridiculous content.

Then there is the one other obvious example of this flooding of the marketplace with crap, which Richard also mentions. It is a never ending flow of real estate apps from a company called Smarter Agent and they have been polluting the marketplace with this crap for over a week now to the point your real estate search results look something like this (searching from Zune Desktop):

Yes those are all from the same developer and is only a portion of what is in the marketplace, with no slowdown it seems as new cut and paste versions of the app are showing up daily.

So what does the app consist of you ask?

Well they all looks like this with just the name and location information change – which probably takes all of 5 minutes (or less) with cut and pasting of code.

Granted the apps are free and probably marginally useful but here’s the thing – the same thing could have been achieved with one well coded app and we wouldn’t be inundated with what seems more like someone trying to game the marketplace with a bunch of the “do the same thing” apps.

I get the need for Microsoft to be able to be able to let everyone know that the marketplace is growing in number of apps; after all that is the attraction to both consumers and developers both of which Microsoft needs badly.

However this kind of garbage, and the other example given by Richard Edmonds at WPCentral, isn’t doing Microsoft or the marketplace any favors. If anything this kind of thing will only turn off the consumer and make the marketplace look like some leftover from a junk sale.

Brandon Watson, lead for Windows Phone and head evangelist for the platform, once said, and I’ paraphrasing here, that there is nothing wrong with having too many fart apps. Well I totally disagree I think that you can have too much crap and I think Microsoft should reconsider it curation policy for the marketplace; and, the sooner the better.

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