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iPhone Apps Review Standards, Our Approach & Why We’re Glad We’ve Got OATS

GOTOats

A little overview of our ethical standards and approach to iPhone app reviews, and why we ‘re very happy to be members of O.A.T.S “ the Organization for App Testing Standards.

The iPhone App Store is a huge success.  Despite all its still numerous flaws, it ‘s the best thing to happen to mobile software since,well, ever “ and we ‘re continually seeing the crazy big numbers it ‘s producing “ hundreds of thousands of apps, billions of downloads, and so on.  The latest insane sounding number I recall seeing is that 10,000 new or updated apps are submitted for approval each week.

As a natural off-shoot of that huge App Store success, there are a very large number of sites that cover iPhone apps, and review them.  Lots of app publishers find it very tough to get attention for their apps and that places these sites “ including ours “ in a powerful position of sorts, in terms of the decisions we make on which apps to cover and review, and which we pass on. 

Different sites take very different approaches to how they handle their choices on which apps to cover.  Quite a few “ including some that are very large and well-known “ accept and in fact require payment for coverage. 

At Just Another iPhone Blog we take the opposite approach.  We never accept payment for any level of coverage.  In fact, we have one very simple criteria for reviewing an app:

One of us finds it interesting. 

Even just to cover an app (launch news etc) we apply the same principle “ it is either of interest to one of us, or is likely to be of great interest to our readers.

We also have app publishers who advertise with us on the site, or others who make inquiries about advertising.  Some of these publishers expect that if they run an ad then we will give their app coverage in return.  Again, that is something we do not do at all.  All potential advertisers are told from the word go that payment for running an ad gets them one thing “ their ad appearing in the space they pay for.  No coverage, no ‘moving up the queue ‘ if we consider the their app for review, no treatment that is any different at all to any other publisher who has never advertised here.

We lose some potential advertisers because of our approach on these subjects.  That ‘s fine by us “ as what we keep is our editorial integrity.  For us, that is far more important.

Our goals here are mostly quite simple.  We strive to provide good quality content, thorough and fair reviews, and a good mix of iPhone related news and stories that keep you all informed and entertained and all that jazz.  We also want you to feel as if you can trust our reviews and coverage.  We may make mistakes now and then “ but they ‘ll be honest, human slipups on a feature we thought was missing but hadn ‘t discovered properly, or similar. 

What we want you to be able to take as a given is that our coverage is always based on only our very simple criteria of what ‘s interesting for us and for you “ nothing else.

Several months back, Brandon (one of our site contributors and also an iPhone app developer) had first hand experience of iPhone review sites demanding money in return for reviews of his first iPhone app.  As a result of his rant/post about his experience, we found out about a group of sites that had banded together to promote a much higher set of standards in this area “ and we immediately applied to join the group.

That group of sites makes up O.A.T.S “ the Organization for App Testing Standards.  Here is just the very initial portion of the Got OATS Intro page:

O.A.T.S. is a group of sites that were brought together with the goal of improving the editorial ethics and standards in the emerging world if iPhone application and game review sites. It’s a new industry, with a lot of people without any editorial experience doing some great work. We want foster that, but for this area to succeed, we need to have proper editorial standards upheld by this new segment of review journalists.

To see more details on the organization, and the oath that all of its member sites have taken, go to:

http://www.gotoats.org/

This month, several of the OATS sites will be making efforts to promote our ethical standards and approach to app reviews.  This post is our little contribution to that effort. It ‘s one that I ‘m very happy to write “ as it ‘s a subject I feel strongly about and it ‘s an approach we have always embraced.

I ‘d like to say a big thanks to Jeff Scott, of the excellent 148apps.com site, for making us aware of O.A.T.S, and for being heavily involved in running the organization. And also to the many other great site owners and principals from the member sites, for their wisdom and opinions they share via the group. 

Members

I ‘m very proud to say We ‘ve Got OATS “ and I hope that as readers you can see the benefit of our approach.

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