Google’s Retail Problem – TRUST.

Google is still best known for it’s search engine. They are good at it. It’s one thing they know and do well. When a new page or new site starts on the internet, Google indexes it and places it somewhere near the bottom in rankings. Google doesn’t trust it. As more people click on links to the site, Google starts trusting it a little more and the ranking goes up slowly. Google spends a lot of effort demoting bad sites. But, almost none promoting good ones. Good ones should bubble up, except they don’t, not without a lot of marketing dollars spent on SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – most of which ends up with Google.

Google is applying the search philosophy to their app store. Any new app published on the store is placed somewhere near the bottom in rankings. Google doesn’t trust it – as they probably shouldn’t – they don’t know what it contains. They rely almost entirely on download and active download numbers over a long period of time – months if not years – to determine ranking of apps. App developers often have trouble getting their apps discovered. So, Google gives them the option to spend money marketing their app by paying Google. Google does not help promote apps, not unless they are paid for it. Google doesn’t trust it’s sellers, and it’s obvious to the buyers. The buyers in turn don’t trust Google Play – as they shouldn’t. There is far too many apps on it that steal private information, and/or distribute madware (mobile adware viruses) on Google Play.

Contrast that with Amazon’s app store. Amazon tests the apps before publishing them on their market. They are fairly lenient in their testing, and don’t question the creative aspects, but, reject apps that don’t work, or have privacy, piracy or malware concerns. The app is not placed highly when it is released on Amazon’s store either, but as it gets more downloads, it is promoted more rapidly. With the seedy elements already weeded out, Amazon behaves more like a partner to the honest seller – they even wrote short descriptions for some of our apps in the beginning. Since they already tested the apps, they can trust their sellers. After the app has a few reviews, Amazon will even provide a summary of the reviews for the app. They help promote good apps. The buyers also trust Amazon more, resulting in more sales on Amazon.

With only two devices, and a significantly smaller market share than Google Play, Amazon is still beating Google since the start of the year in total sales for our apps. I believe that’s primarily because of TRUST – between sellers and the marketplace, and between the marketplace and the buyer.


Update on 4/7

Google took a step forward in creating trust with the buyers by hiding the buyer emails from the publishers. Before they did this, I could see buyer name, email. Now, I cannot. Google is taking a positive step in protecting the buyers.

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