Promo codes for nothing, apps for free

David Winograd
D. Winograd|07.27.09

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Promo codes for nothing, apps for free

The floodgate of new iPhone apps is open and enlarging all the time. Hundreds of new entries hit the App Store every week. This is a wonderful thing, but it does cause a good deal of consternation.

If you are an iPhone owner, how can you keep up with what's out there? After all, according to Macworld, there are now nearly 500 fart apps available for your pleasure out of the 65,000 (and climbing) apps in the store. Cutting through the static is nearly impossible.

If you are a developer, how can you get the word out about your wonderful new creation? Well, there are number of ways, and since you're reading TUAW, you found one. We get many more app review requests than we can ever handle and I'm sure all the Mac and iPhone oriented sites are in the same position. Regardless of the quality of your new baby, it's hit or miss as to whether a blog or other news outlet will ever get around to reviewing it.

Apple runs a program where developers can generate a number of free promotional codes for publicity purposes. When a code is redeemed either in iTunes or right in the App store on the iPhone, the free app is installed just as if it was bought. Traditionally, the bulk of these promo codes go to sites like ours that provide publicity and hence sell apps. While Apple was briefly blocking any apps with a 17+ rating from getting promo codes, as Michael reports that policy has shifted again. The developer of Eucalyptus, an e-book reader, was surprised to find that Apple is now allowing him codes for his 17+ rated app.

[To give you an idea of how involved the app approval process can be, we earlier reported that Eucalyptus was first denied approval because they were using the Project Gutenberg catalog of public-domain books where you could download a totally non-illustrated version of the Kama Sutra. No one seems to know why the plethora of other Project Gutenberg powered e-readers had no trouble being approved, or why these apps' ratings varied.]

In late May a new site called AppGiveaway opened and partnered with developers to get paid apps into users hands for free. Sites have always had the occasional contest to win something, and that's always been good for sales, since whether you win or lose, if you entered, at least you were introduced to the product.

AppGiveaway does it differently. It provides an incentive to both buyer and seller. Developers contribute promo codes to be given away; each contest contains a full description of the app and a number of screen shots. Contests, plus a small number of Apple related stories, are all AppGiveaway does. In the month of June, AppGiveaway awarded over 130 apps and so far over 100 have been given out in the month of July. Checking the site now, there are currently 20 apps that you can enter and win.

Check it out. You'll be helping yourself and in turn, helping the developer community to get the word out. Then come right back and tell us what you found.
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