It's a fact of modern life that people expect to get free stuff online, thanks in no small part to the likes of GetJar, which describes itself as "the world's largest free app store".
The third-party app portal is trying out a bright idea to try to increase the downloads of premium (i.e. paid for) apps while still ensuring developers get compensated. It's called GetJar Gold and, on first impression, there seem to be no catches - GetJar pays developers each time one of these premium apps is downloaded and, in turn, gets extra traffic to sell ads against.
GetJar is available for Android, Blackberry and the mobile web, but CEO Ilja Laurs couldn't resist a dig at Apple in making the announcement. "We are able to develop programs like GetJar Gold because of our open and free business model," said Laurs.
"We regret that at this time we cannot extend our program to iPhone users, as Apple runs a closed ecosystem that does not allow for competing app distributors like GetJar. Unfortunately, iPhone users will have to continue paying for the very same apps that their Android counterparts enjoy for free."
How strong his foundation is for such sanctimony, however, is debatable. Back in March the Opera browser was banned from GetJar because it had developed an app store of its own. So much for open.
While GetJar is justifiably proud to have passed the two billion download mark, massive total traffic doesn't necessarily translate to a lot of downloads for each app - it depends how many apps in total are on offer. Thus the app stores on platforms that have fewer apps on offer generate a greater number of downloads per app.
Have a look at the table below from research2guidance. It shows the number of downloads per app on the major platforms and 3rd party stores, with Apple's store as the basis for comparison. As you can see GetJar generates almost half as many downloads per app than Apple, but Nokia's Ovi store manages more than double that of its more heralded rival.