CEO Interview: App Store HQ's Chris DeVore Builds on the Buzz Around iPhone Apps
According to InStat, the number of smartphone users tapping into mobile-application stores is expected to reach 100 million in 2013. As the number of applications for smartphone increases along with the number of smartphone users, individual consumers will rely more heavily on the recommendations of friends and trusted sources to discover games, utilities, and mobile solutions that they’ll enjoy.
That’s the premise of Seattle start-up App Store HQ, a company founded on the premise that you can’t easily discover apps on your iPhone just by using the search tools and customer reviews on the device. App Store HQ is a website that uses the current memes about applications – from Twitter, technology bloggers and reviewers – to promote those apps that are the most “talked about” on the social web.
Chris DeVore, co-founder and CEO of App Store HQ, believes shopping for an app on your phone is not a great user experience, primarily because it focuses on promoting just a select number of “Top” apps, which makes it hard for developers and consumers to find each other in the crowded bunch below the home page of the iPhone App Store.
“We’re essentially a vertical search engine, that is, we specialize in application discovery and monetization,” said DeVore. He is a fan of the Amazon shopping experience and has adopted some of the e-commerce giant’s playbook to aid users in browsing and discovering products they might be interested in downloading to their iPhone.
AppStore HQ, DeVore points out, is targeted at “active” users, those iPhone customers who have downloaded enough apps they have to scroll through three or four pages to see all their downloads. Typically, that’s ten or more apps. DeVore notes that this customer is also likely to be a tech influencer within their social circle, making them a desirable target for application developers.
Because individuals who tweet about an iPhone app experience can serve as a Sherpa to help other consumers find great apps to download, App Store HQ uses the content from those Tweets to recommend apps using App Store HQ’s collaborative filtering tools. These compare your preferences to other consumers in the Twitterverse to give you a result that promotes products that people who are supposedly like you are talking about. Aggregating related content from the Internet at large, DeVore says, helps App Store HQ provide a richer perspective before a user downloads an app. Consumers who create an account with App Store HQ can get personalized recommendations by tagging their tweets, too.