Valentine’s bouquet to often-attacked Apple app reviewers

Feb 4, 2011
Finance

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So Marco Arment’s ode to the App Review team seems timely. Arment is the founder of Instapaper and former lead developer of Tumblr. When people take the trouble to stop to talk about the App Review team, it’s usually to bash them as secretive and unfair. Notes Arment: […]

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

So Marco Arment’s ode to the App Review team seems timely.

Arment is the founder of Instapaper and former lead developer of Tumblr.

When people take the trouble to stop to talk about the App Review team, it’s usually to bash them as secretive and unfair. Notes Arment: “I wasn’t always a fan of Apple’s requirement that all App Store submissions be reviewed by a fairly opaque process before release, which often led to confusing or unfair rejections.”

But the developer has changed his mind and presents in his blog a thoughtful, measured, contrarian view.

The argument here is in favor of quality control.

“First and foremost, the review process has created a level of consumer confidence and risk-taking that has enabled the entire iOS app market to be far bigger and healthier than anyone expected,” Arment said.

The 10 billionth download mark attained by Apple (AAPL) last month is a testament to this success. Arment said “average people” in confidence can impulsively download” large quantities of inexpensive” apps without fear of damage to their expensive iPhones and iPads thanks to this crew of review.

Arment said the system is good for app developers: “For software makers and trademark owners, Apple’s review process significantly cuts down on name squatters, illegal clones, piracy apps, legally risky apps (for better and for worse), and trademark infringers.”

Other app marketplaces could learn some lessons. Arment said that running searches on Google’s (GOOG) Android or Chrome storefronts demonstrates how much bad stuff Apple spares its customers.

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Some describe the reviewers as a pain. But Arment said in his paean: “Think of what that job must be like: plowing through an endless barrage of mostly terrible app submissions, many of which are unsuitable…, trying to evaluate people’s work against a very long list of often-subjective criteria, with the ever-present threat that an inconsistent or wrong decision might result in a shitstorm of bad press.”

In the end, the developer said the process may have its downsides, but overall is serves everyone well.

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