App Store infested with zombie software, claims analytics startup Adeven

Apptrace beta

Zombies may provide a perennial source of material for mobile games, but no developer actually wants their app to be the walking dead. Nonetheless, according to new mobile analytics and ad verification firm Adeven, that’s what almost two-thirds of the iOS App Store constitutes.

The Berlin company’s Apptrace tool launches on Tuesday and as a result it’s showing off several stats as a way of strutting its stuff. The most interesting one is the revelation that around 400,000 App Store apps get no downloads, are invisible to users and have no ranking.

“The reality is there are only a couple of thousand apps that really make some kind of downloads,” Christian Henschel, Adeven CEO, told me. “This is based on Apple’s closed system — it’s tough to discover those kinds of apps. You don’t have proper search, so the only way to discover new apps is through the top listing.”

“If you’re not on those lists, it’s not sure that you’re being discovered by anyone else. The top 25 tend to be the same companies who spend millions of dollars to get to the top of those lists. If you’re an independent, small app publisher, then it’s really tough to be discovered.”

Apptrace finds itself in a busy market, with the likes of Keen.io, Count.ly and (to an extent) Flurry all trying to court developers with the sharpest insights.

But Apptrace takes a different angle. For a start, it’s a free resource that is initially providing something closer to AppData’s outside-view app rankings, only through a prettier interface and with a deeper segment view. Android analytics will come in the fourth quarter, but for now Apptrace collates iOS data from the 155 countries where the App Store is present.

And with a seven-figure Series A round from Target Partners in the bank since April, Adeven already has some key enhancements ready for the rest of this year. The big one will be the addition of in-app analytics: something that will take Apptrace squarely up against Keen.io et al, but Henschel says the combination of the internal and external perspective will be unique.

“We’re not only measuring success within the app, but also within the ecosystem,” he said. “We will also soon be launching a feature where you can compare apps against each other, which is something that’s not available at the moment.”

Apptrace also has a feature lined up for developers with an ad-funded model: at the moment, they need to integrate multiple SDKs into their apps to handle all the different ad brokers such as AdMob and InMobi, but Apptrace will soon come out with a unified SDK that can manage the analytics for all these disparate networks.

And as for making money out of all this?

“The main reason we founded Adeven is to bring transparency into this mobile ecosystem,” Henschel said. “We believe if we provide the transparency then a lot more app dollars will fly into this ecosystem and we will find ways to participate in these revenues. But first, we’re really focusing on getting app developers using our service.”

Which is where those attention-grabbing, suspicion-confirming stats come in. Did you know that the App Store has 1,899 flashlight apps? Madness.

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