July 30, 2013

Appricorn Shelved

I have decided to put the Appricorn project on hold, despite having both content, concept, and the technical solution ready to go. What’s left is the actual design, launch procedure, marketing, and possibly signing up some additional writers outside the small crew I have.

And yet, the project’s shelved for now.

The Behind Appricorn blog logo
The Behind Appricorn blog logo

I’m not blaming time for once, but rather a growing flaw in the basic premise. Appricorn was to be monetized by affiliate links, and since the only apps covered would be good-to-great apps, there would be no issue of trust. The idea was that every app covered would be a great deal.

The problem is, the App Store is changing, and that change is affecting the Appricorn concept. More apps are using freemium business models, or in some fashion relying on in-app purchases. I think this is good for a lot of apps, but it puts a serious dent in the Appricorn model.

Trust is key for a project such as Appricorn. Since there would be both paid and free apps covered, I’m afraid that trust might be questioned. There’s just no way to make affiliate money on free apps, no way to get a cut on in-app purchases, and thus it could be questioned why a paid alternative would get featured, rather than a free(mium) one. That’s the immediate concern, lack of affiliate revenue is another one, especially if apps continue to rely on in-app purchases on an even larger scale.

In-app purchases and freemium business models isn’t new, and I had these thoughts before embarking on this project. The model is growing at an incredible pace. I foresee more apps lowering or even removing their price altogether, instead relying on in-app purchases to monetize, and that puts Appricorn in question. The speed of this development is astounding, and since there are so many unknowns, I’d rather wait patiently, and/or rethink the concept altogether.

It’s a shame. I really do believe there was something potentially great in Appricorn. Hopefully I can either solve this problem by reworking the business model, or figure out a way to otherwise put the best ideas to good use.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.