The Small Business Web Summit – Lots of Talk on App Stores…

Kevin O'Brien at Small Business Web SummitIf there were still any doubt that open APIs and integrated business apps were going to reach small businesses, then I’d say they are now put to rest.  More than 150 business and technology leaders in the SMB space descended on the eBay campus last month for the Small Business Web Summit 2013, in what I would categorize as an enlightening, educational, and rewarding day of networking and  discovery.

There were great session tracks related to API design, analytics, partnering for success, and reaching small businesses.  Some of the more lively and interesting discussions occurred around the topic of app stores and SMB marketplaces.  It is becoming clear that many software companies feel that existing app store models favor the developers who joined first.  For example, if you were to be in the AppExchange from the start in 2007, your ability to have a combination of both high number of installs and good reviews would be much greater than someone joining today.  With 1700 listings, you want to understand how you get found, so you can justify developing for the platform.  We hear the same questions about the Constant Contact MarketPlace.

The good news that I learned at the summit is that it appears that companies with successful app stores are starting to take notice by changing the algorithm for their default sorting in an effort to spread the wealth to all who build for the platform.  New algorithms are taking into account things like “value to the ecosystem.”

This is a much more subjective point than installs or reviews, but it appears to be necessary to continue to attract new development on the platform. Creating a robust and discoverable app store is no easy task, and it’s helpful to leverage the collective lessons learned by other marketplaces.  We continue to adjust the app discoverability algorithm in the Constant Contact MarketPlace as we look for the best way to serve both our app partners and our customers.

What do you think?  Are the advancements in app store discoverability keeping up with your expectations?

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