A new report indicates Apple is exploring the idea of paid search in its App Store. The new strategy could come as a part of other changes the Cupertino firm is said to be exploring for their online app marketplace.
Among the ideas being pursued, Apple is considering paid search, a Google-like model in which companies would pay to have their app shown at the top of search results based on what a customer is seeking. For instance, a game developer could pay to have its program shown when somebody looks for “football game,” “word puzzle” or “blackjack.”
Bloomberg’s sources are the usual “people familiar with the plans,” so this is all still shadows and mirrors, without any confirmation. However, Google has turned paid search into a lucrative cash cow, so it makes sense for Apple to at least be exploring a similar way to increase revenues from the App Store.
Around 100 employees are said to be working on the project, a number of those have moved over from Apple’s scaled-back iAd advertising group. Bloomberg’s sources, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private, say the effort is being led by Apple Vice President Todd Teresi, who headed up iAd.
Is paid search something that would genuinely aid users with their app discovery, or is it just another way for Apple to make money? Observers are already taking potshots at Apple, with Daring Fireball’s John Gruber calling it a “terrible idea.”
“It’s downright embarrassing that App Store search is still so bad,” Gruber wrote. “Google web search is better for searching Apple’s App Store than the App Store’s built-in search. That’s the problem Apple needs to address.”
The group is also reportedly looking at the way customers browse in the App Store. Bloomberg says the team hasn’t been together for very long, and it is unclear when any changes in the App Store’s search functions might take place.
Apple declined to comment.