Zombies are all the rage these days, so it’s only fitting that new research shows that two-thirds of programs in Apple’s App Store are undead beings that were once alive but now roam aimlessly, groaning through the cyber market. That goes against the company’s claim that 90% of all its apps in the marketplace are downloaded at least once a month.
The BBC points to figures from tracking service Adeven that seem to show that big chunk of apps are barely ever installed by consumers.
Of the 888,856 apps, the analytics firm says 579,001 in its database are “zombies.”
So what’s an app zombie, if it’s not a shambling, moaning bit of deceased manflesh? The company defines zombie apps as those that never make an appearance in any of the thousands of charts published by Apple which are tracked on a daily basis. The charts track things like categories, price and criteria for various countries’ stores.
“We call the apps that hold no position anywhere in the world zombies because they do not generate a significant amount of downloads to sustain their further development,” explained Paul Muller from Adeven. “We can’t say exactly how many downloads they have – Apple doesn’t reveal this – but it is very small.”
Even if they get a few downloads every day, or up to 100, it’s not enough for a developer to make much of his or her product, or provide any impetus for the app to stay alive.
This could be due to the app user’s version of an impulse buy — especially when there are so many free apps. You might think, “Ooh, I really need to get the app that makes me look like a zombie,” use it once and then get bored with it.
There are also plenty of promotional apps that are only intended to be popular for a certain amount of time, say, during a TV show’s season, leaving them to languish in undead limbo forevermore once the program is no longer running.