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Will Crap Apps Have Legs?



I  was reading a very interesting article at TUAW that discusses how well “crap apps” are selling — you know, fart apps, belch apps, and the like.   The main thrust of the article was that there are so many of those apps because they sell so well — indeed, much better than useful, needed applications — presumably so that we have something of novelty to show our friends.   But will this category of apps have legs?

I was one of the “iPhone naysayers” who stuck to my Treo while laughing at the crazies who were waiting in line all night outside Apple stores.   Then, someone showed me their iPhone and I fell in love with the Google Maps application.   Once I got my iPhone, I began showing it off to others as well – and always had some neat feature to show them.   I recall the jailbreak app “Tickle Me Elmo” that entertained my kids (and more than one teenager) fondly (or, at least, they do).   My kids love “Smack Talk” now, and even my one year old will request it.   These are fun apps – mindless, humorous, entertainment to be sure.

But consider the “crap app” — whose purpose in life is to play the sound of a fart, a burp, or vomiting; emulate urinating; or simulate kicking someone in the balls.  Track your bowel movements?  There’s a “crapp” for that.    

But these all beg the question: Junior high school kids aside, who could possibly use these apps more than a handful of times?  Either I’m getting too old to appreciate the crapp-ier things in life, or the iPhone’s sales demographics are much younger than I thought.   Or there’s the other possibility — once the iPhone reaches critical mass and everyone’s seen a fart app or two, will there still be a call for crapps?   Will they still outsell office suites, SSH apps, and games?  I have to believe that once the extended novelty wears off, that the purchases of (and thereafter the supply of) crapps will subside.    One has to wonder if Apple has a plan to rid itself of the thousands of apps that will eventually be found sitting there, clogging the app store, with zero sales.   If they don’t, now’s the time — I think a lot of crapp will be waiting for it.  Eventually.

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  • aflorence

    Sadly, the world seems to be going the way of “Reverse Darwinism”, presented in the movie “Idiocracy”. My university's library is full of students constantly viewing YouTube prank videos and posting the links to their MySpace or FaceBook. The Jerry Springer show; Judge Joe Brown – all were steps toward this movement. Fart, belch, and vomit apps – I fear there is not many more steps for society's apparent goal of becoming more tasteless and stupid as time progresses.

  • I think part of the answer lies in another post on JAIB. When kids can save their change, get a giftcard from the Coinstar machine and have their way with the app store, a whole lot of stupid impulse purchases happen.

    There is also a relatively low cost of entry into developing apps for the iPhone. The SDK is accessible and a hundred bucks gets you in the App store, unless you “compete” with Apple, are a minor recordig artist or let Twitter trends display in your app. Fart apps, it seems, are easily built and easily built and easily approved for distribution in the App store.

    I don't understand it, particularly in the variety of fart apps to be had on the App store. Is there really that much innovation to be had in the gross out market?

    But the apps are there, and they clearly sell, much to my chagrin.

    I think the real need is better classification of apps in the store. If we could corral all the crapps into a category of their own, those of us interested in real applications could find them. And the crapp seekers wouldn't have to sort through all the annoying productivity apps to find the perfect vomitirium.