Interview: Tiernan Quinn of appPicker on App Discovery and Promotion


An Irishman living in Kiev. Tiernan Quinn bought AppPicker 2 years ago based on the desire to improve the ability to discover new and interesting apps.  He had been frustrated at the lack of relevance the search function had in iTunes and wished to be involved in creating the future of app discovery.

tiernan quinn

What services appPicker offer developers and app marketers? 

Our primary goal is to offer our half a million readers per month as much quality and varied content as possible, and try to balance our content with both popular and unknown, yet interesting apps. Our editorial policy is to allow for 40% of our reviews to be of apps from independent developers. We don’t charge for staff reviews, to give us editorial independence, yet we also have many features on the site for other types of app promotion. Our daily lists of apps gone free, is naturally our most popular section and inclusion on these is relatively cheap, ranging from $25 to $100 for the top slot. With an average of 5,000 reads of each list and 1,000 already subscribed to our new mailing list, we feel this provides good value to developers.

As many of the review requests are for version 1.0 apps, we added a developer announcement section on our site for launch promotion. Because nobody gets it right 1st time with their app, and really, we don’t expect them to, we approve a lower percentage of version 1.0 apps for staff review than for older apps with some feedback on iTunes. This section allows the developer to kick start their marketing campaigns and to also make announcements to our readers when there are upgrades to their apps.

Our video app is doing quite well and just needs some minor improvements before we begin a major marketing campaign. It’s free to post your video on the app and our site and videos generate a higher conversion rate for developers.

We added a reader review section for developers as because get over 100 review requests a day, we can’t possibly cover them all. Basically, developers can get feedback from our readers and this will get them some exposure even if we have rejected their review request.

Our promo code section is another option for developers to gain some free exposure. We built it however to get the most exposure as possible for the apps:- a member can only take 1 app a day from the offerings and must post the promotion on their facebook page to receive their code. The app details remain on the page for a few days after the codes have all gone to extend the value to the developer. It’s free to post promo codes. As many of our staff review requests are made through marketing agencies, we added a feature to our membership section which allows an agency manage several clients through the one profile.

How are you positioned compared with other app discovery services such as App Gratis or Freemyapps?

We consider AppPicker to be a discovery site that provides readers with a varied set of sections and not limited to apps gone free. Our readers are hugely repeat visitors and we hope that is a vote of confidence in what we do. However, everyone loves a bargain so we scour the store for app deals and also have an automated discovery program that picks up when a top app goes free at 00:01 PST. We wouldn’t compare ourselves to them.

What type of apps succeed when promoted via appPicker?

In answering this, one has to ask the motivation behind getting a review. If it’s just for the satisfaction of getting a review then those types of apps won’t succeed. On the other side, I have seen developers get a review, tweet it around the world, and market it extensively. Our developer members fall in to 2 distinct categories, those that pick up the ball and leverage the benefits of our and similar sites and those that don’t. We have some reviews going back over 12 months that still get hundreds of reads a month because the developers link the reviews on their websites. Not only do visitors to their site come to the review but Google sends them to the review as well. Do you have any plans to expand onto Android or other platforms?

Yes, in a few months we will cover Android and later Google play. Is it still possible for independent app developer to succeed do you think? Most definitely but it will be those that are truly creative. Although there are more than a million apps in iTunes, there is plenty of room to develop apps that are interesting and solve a problem. What are your tips for developers seeking to succeed in the appstore?

App development is a business and should be treated as such. Building the app is only 50% of the work. This must be followed by marketing and as much promotion as possible. I am surprised daily by the inactivity of developers who have got reviews on our site. We publish 150 reviews a month of our members apps yet 90% of those reviews don’t get “Liked” on our site or posted on facebook. It’s also apparent on the iTunes store. “Not enough ratings to get an average” is something that just should not appear on your app details page. Get friends, family and anyone they know to download your app and leave an honest review. Giving false reviews is a waste of everyone’s time.

What are the main trends you see in the app market right now?

The business model is changing constantly and free apps with in app purchases is becoming the accepted norm. Not only does it allow a user the chance to try before they buy, but it allows the developer continue to make money from the app as long as he continues to develop and improve it.

What handsets and tablet devices do you use?

I use an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2. The office naturally has 1 or 2 of all the Apple devices for testing purposes. We have to ensure the site and app work and look good on them.

What’s your favorite app and mobile game?

Apart from our own AppPicker video app of course, I love foursquare and the psychological element of doing something for an award. I am also a football fan and Score alarm by scorealarm is really cool. I found that by them submitting their app for review.

Thanks Tiernan – great to see some new app discovery and distribution channels emerging like this and best of luck – you can start working with appPicker by signing up here for a developer account