Cameron Bonde wants the App Store to take a page from YouTube and Twitter, allowing users to subscribe to app developers:
Subscriptions could show up the same way updates do now and in the same list. Much like ‘updates’ and ‘installed’ apps are separated now, just add ‘your subscriptions’ (i.e. you get a notification about a new app, or simply be able to display all new subs like YouTube does now).
This is a non-trivial amount of work, because it would require Apple to keep track of a new set of relationships betweens customers and developers.
But the upside might be worth it:
Rarely-released quality apps from indie devs won’t get forgotten in the 6 months it takes to make another one.
Getting new apps from devs you already approve of will lower the crap ratio.
The dev will know how much of a following they have and be more reluctant to release crap due to the risk of unsubscribing. Encouraging QUALITY over quantity.
Other people will know the general quality of a dev from the ratio of subs vs blocks which should be publicly visible.
The block-to-sub ratio could be used by Google/Apple to semi-automatically detect devs who should be kicked off the market.
Bonde’s post is from 2011, but it’s a better idea than many I’ve seen.
Would customers even bother subscribing? Would app developers pester them to subscribe the same way they nag for App Store reviews? Any system can be gamed. I’m sure this would be as well.
Still, I think some sort of following/subscription model would help connect users with developers. For good reason, Apple doesn’t want developers to have email addresses. But without an ongoing relationship, there’s no long-term accountability or reputation.