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What's in a name... on the App Store?


As with the Highlander, ultimately you can only have one iFart app in the store. Oh sure, you can have 60+ fart apps total (scientists estimate by 2025 there will be over 2 million fart apps available), but you can't have two apps with the same name. Even tacking on "the" or similar prefixes won't help (suffixes like MK-II may work, but we haven't tried). The question I'm asking is: what's in a name? Would a fart app by any other name sell as well? And should developers worry their app name will be taken by the time they submit their app?

Ultimately I wonder if there will be issues surrounding app names. But wait -- isn't that two apps named Sudoku in the pic above? Way back in August 2008 Macworld noticed several apps named Sudoku, but on a search today I could only find two apps named exactly the same and one was from EA. Of course, that doesn't mean they will appear in your app list as such, and they can appear under yet another name on your iPhone. Every other app I found with Sudoku had some modifier word before or after the name: platinum, color, dojo, expert, etc. But then, there really can be only one iSudoku, or one Sudoku Pro... and who determines which "pro" app really deserves the name? (Short answer: Apple)

This isn't a huge issue, since I doubt some random person could come along and name their app IBM or Kodak or Netflix. Apple would likely nip that in the bud. But as the App Store grows, we may see a bit of a land grab, if we aren't already. The good names, the ones that are easy to search and make logical sense, will probably go first. You probably don't want to be the guy who has to name his to-do list app something really wacky, do you? I'm not sure what a solution would be, as Apple can't arbitrate every IP dispute, not can it police the business practices of every developer. In the end, it's just like domain registration -- first come, first served.

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