It’s….pretty quiet.  The release day for my app wound up being swamped by more than 40 other apps released in the same category – pushing PlusContact back to page 3.  A miserable position for what was my main hope for visibility on the App Store.  There is an important lesson to be learned from this experience: the Utilities category is a catch-all.  If it’s possible to place an app in a different category, use that as the primary.  Everyone uses Utilities.

Here are some other lessons learned the hard way from my first App Store experience:

/**Read the documentation!**/
I’m in that point in my career where I’ve been using computers for long enough that a lot of documentation is just empty words, and I can pull the meaning out of it a lot faster than it would take to read all the text.  Most dialog boxes I just infer their content from the context they pop up in and the buttons on them.  Well, in this case I missed an important part of the documentation that wasn’t as obvious as I expected, and it gave me all sorts of issues trying to make a beta build.  In future I’ll be more thorough as a skim the documentation :)

/**Reserve the name!**/
My original name for PlusContact was actually “Add Contact”.  A simple name for a simple purpose.  Something Apple doesn’t tell you – people can reserve the names for apps before they even begin working on the program.  This is a brilliant idea for most developers, but it’s been leading to people ‘squatting’ on good app names just in case they feel like developing them later.  The lesson learned: reserve the name on iTunes Connect before creating the project or any assets.

/**Seriously, don’t use the Utilities category!**/
Seriously, don’t use the Utilities category.

I hope this advice helps someone in the long run.  The App store has become much better for us serious developers now that Apple has ended the reign of “essentially the same gallery app with different pictures of girls in bikinis” – suddenly there’s a lot more room to move and be visible in the store – but there’s still a lot of work that developers have to put into getting their app visible and downloaded.

 

P.S. Thank you to all the people who gave my app such lovely reviews.  It was nice to know – even if I wasn’t visible on the front page of anything – that I was the highest rated app of the last 200 that had been released.  Some of you weren’t even my friends – but you can be now :)

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