AppsFire started out life as an iPhone app that used discovery algorithms to populate a list of the most popular apps, but butted heads with Apple when re-submitted to the App Store. Since its first approach doesn’t seem to be working out, the company is taking another, rather unique, approach.
The company has launched AppTrends, a new service that scans Twitter and identifies the top 20 apps and serves up a Top 20 chart by looking for iPhone apps based on their iTunes URL (even if it has been shrunk). The logic is that since many people tweet about the apps (and their URLs), they have a good idea of the Twitter sentiment. The company ranks top 100, but only displays the top 20 for now.
Ranking is based on the number of mentions of an app and the influence of the tweet, and are updated in real-time like trending topics. To help scour through all the noise, AppTrends filters noisebots, repeat tweets and fake accounts. Former venture capitalist and co-founder of AppsFire, Ouriel Ohayon, pointed out that despite the diversity of iPhone apps, “top hot apps stay hot in Twitter for up to 30-40 hours and only very exceptional apps stay hot for several days” (such as the vuvuzela apps). The company can’t rely on just focusing on iPhone apps, however, as it needs to quickly diversify to other mobile platforms — Android and Ovi, to be specific. It would help it become a more in-depth ranking system and at the same allow it to build an e-commerce operation around this list.
It’s an interesting concept and integration, though I’m not sure how it will catch on with users since it’s a third-party site and not easily integrated with the iPhone itself. Something like this would be great as an extension of the App Store itself, which is probably why Apple had a problem with AppsFire from the start. If things go well, you can bet Apple will be building something similar.