Watching the rankings of free applications in the iTunes store (measured by download volume) over the past week, I’ve seen lots of ups and downs.
In local apps, Yellowpages.com’s local search application went from 21 yesterday to 26 today, while WHERE went from 19 to 21, and Loopt went from 40 to 50. UrbanSpoon has meanwhile climbed into the top 15.
Though these are somewhat big shifts for a 24-hour period, this volatility is to be expected in the first week of download activity, where relatively small volumes of early adopters are exhibiting erratic behavior in the aggregate.
The rankings will even out over time as more users download them and even more apps are introduced. As this works out, we’ll get closer to an answer to the question posed yesterday about IYPs’ place in the puzzle. Yellowpages.com has been an early mover.
Of course this doesn’t look at the roughly 75 percent of the iPhone Apps that are in the paid section of the App Store. I’m only paying attention to the “free section” for the purposes of this post, because that’s where the majority of local apps are and will continue to exist. The paid section is mostly populated with games, utilities and reference apps.
As it has worked out online, the thinking goes that local search is more conducive to directional advertising than it is to subscription or paid service (not to mention that the existence of popular free apps will drive the market toward free). The directional advertising part is where there will need to be lots of development over the coming months, in addition to consumer-centric app development.
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