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Segan: “Headlines about ‘zombies’ mislead and cloud the issue”

August 1, 2013

PC Mag: “I Am an Apple App Store Zombie” by Sascha Segan responds to a study by Adeven that made a lot of news earlier this month by using the word “zombie” to describe apps in the App store that don’t rank on Apple’s lists. From July 10 see reporting in CNBC: “Apple’s ‘Zombie Apps’ Cloud App Store’s Birthday” by Matt Clinch and BBCNews: “App Store ‘full of zombies’ claim on Apple anniversary” by Dave Lee.

Segan says this Adeven study is a “weird methodology” or worse merely “self-serving” to promote Adeven’s marketing services. Segan is “happy to be” one of these kind of zombies with his useful app amongst “the long tail that satisfies every niche”, concluding:

Headlines about “zombies” mislead and cloud the issue.

Still, the zombie word sticks here because definitely some of those apps are nothing to count. So when Apple touts it’s numbers of apps available, surely some of these numbers are like when “Seth Stevenson bought 27,000 zombie twitter followers“. It’s like when Facebook counts its users or any website counts its hit traffic – it’s not that the metrics are wrong, it’s that they just don’t mean what we think they mean.

But Segan makes a deeper point because the Adeven clumping of successful niche apps with spam apps as if all these are just “zombie” is sort of similar to problems of discrimination and identity politics.

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