Howard Stern helps push Ugly Meter up the App Store charts

May 2, 2012
Tech

The latest app to catch fire in the iTunes App Store is one that analyzes your face and judges just how ugly you really are. Dubbed, appropriately, Ugly Meter, the app isn’t exactly new. But it has received some attention over the last few weeks, as CNET reports, and because of that, it has climbed […]

The latest app to catch fire in the iTunes App Store is one that analyzes your face and judges just how ugly you really are.

Dubbed, appropriately, Ugly Meter, the app isn’t exactly new. But it has received some attention over the last few weeks, as CNET reports, and because of that, it has climbed the App Store Top Paid Apps chart, even displacing Angry Birds from the top spot as of this writing. According to The Daily Mail, the app has placed well in China’s App Store, too, spending three weeks at the top of the charts.

The app’s developers claim Ugly Meter now has more than 5 million users. It works by allowing users to snap a photo of their faces and then analyzes the structural elements in what seems like a fairly scientific way, determining the symmetry of your face and looking for things like contours. When it’s finished, it issues you a 1-10 scale representation of how ugly you are, with 10 being the ugliest. The app also includes a snarky quip about the face it just scanned depending on the score. Ugly Meter isn’t perfect, of course – the position of the face in question is important, with faces turned or titled ranking as ugly likely because the app expects elements like eyes to be in a certain place and doesn’t find them there.

Ugly Meter has been around in the App Store since 2010, so it’s hardly a new app. But recently, media coverage has picked up surrounding it, and that seems to have led to its overnight success. Howard Stern talked about the app on his Sirius XM radio show, and TV personalities such as Jay Leno and Kellie Rippa have also mentioned the app on-air. That exposure has caused Ugly Meter to blow up, with The Daily Mail noting that the developers have generated some $500,000 in revenue. That number is likely much, much higher today than it was when the app was sitting in the 25 slot of top paid apps when the story was written.

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There are three versions of Ugly Meter in the App Store: a $0.99 version and a $4.99 Pro version for iPhone, and an iPad version. The Pro version does a more detailed analysis and helps users to take straighter photos for better results, and ranks photos on a 100-point scale, rather than 10. There’s also an Ugly Meter – Baby Edition.

CNET reports that one of Ugly Meter’s developers, Joe Overline, appeared on Stern’s show and said his company is using the money earned from Ugly Meter’s sudden success to hire an additional programmer as it moves forward with new app ideas.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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