Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Apple’s New Job: Marketing Apps Through Google

Google and Apple may be fighting each other on multiple fronts, but they’re deeply linked, too. Another example: Apple is flooding Google search results with the contents of its iTunes store.

That’s the result of a small but consequential move Apple (AAPL) made last fall when it began showing Web searchers full-fledged previews of the stuff it sells at its online stores instead of directing them immediately to the store itself.

The biggest impact appears to be on the 140,000 apps Apple sells, which seem to be getting increased visibility from Apple’s links. So says Weldon Dodd, who has put together an interesting study of apps and search results over at The Apple Blog.

For most of Apple’s best-selling apps, Dodd found, Apple’s preview links are likely to turn up on the first page of Google (GOOG) results, and usually much higher up than the developers’ own pages.

So Apple, in effect, is performing search engine optimization on behalf of its developers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that developers don’t have control over or insight into the process. Which means it’s that much harder for them to direct traffic in a retail environment that’s already tightly policed by Apple.

[Image credit: Stig Nygaard]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik