What started as so called “solution to Apple’s App Store” and later turned into piracy portal, Appulous (or AppDB) is now shutdown for good.
The idea of the developer was to build a full-fledged iPhone application database that is fully searchable and lets it’s users try the applications before they buy. Slowly, the idea gained popularity but as one would expect, it was more to do with Piracy than anything else. Traffic jumped like madness and made it among the Top 2,000 most popular sites on the Internet (as per Alexa).
The developer, Kyek, claims that what he had thought as the “solution” for App Store had become “Problem” for the iPhone developers.
The vision was not piracy. Not even close. People’s frustration over Apple’s terrible App Store was what sparked our community. We were all elated when Apple finally allowed third-party applications, but fell intensely annoyed after we bought app after app that made itself out to be incredible in its description, but was worthless after purchase. So many people think that my mini-tirade about this on Appulous’ old “About” page was a load of BS to somehow justify piracy.
The hardcore pirates had moved in and started taking the apps for free, with no intention to purchase them if they liked them. It was inevitable and no one was so naive as to think it wouldn’t happen. This alone wasn’t what turned things sour for me. It was intensely frustrating to see our community overrun by people interested in piracy alone, who thought they were somehow entitled to free iPhone apps.
So, in the end, my decision to pull AppDB was based on a few things. The rampant piracy that was so against the original idea behind the site. Supporting a team whose focus wasn’t as much on the community than it was their own products. But mostly because this isn’t who I am. Before all this, I was an upbeat person who jumped at the chance to teach people what I’ve learned. And if stepping away from the drama of this scene brings me back to that, so much the better. Maybe that’s selfish, but I think those of you who have been following our community since the beginning will understand.
But, before it all goes down to zero, Kyek has Open Sourced the project for people to learn and not create clones. (Download). The app is programmed with latest in PHP/environment runtimes that practically no hosting provider would offer. So this is a good news for Apple and developers, it won’t encourage piracy, and Kyek justifies this with more solid arguments.
In the end, he thrashes on Apple for creating a new Paradigm of closed systems:
I was a little disappointed when the App Store was released. Not just because of the lack of trials. Like every other geek, the idea that programs could not be written and installed independently of Apple’s stronghold was more than a little concerning. And rightfully so, as we’ve seen with applications like Google Talk. But cell phones in general were riddled with DRM and the iPhone was no worse, so it was still the better option.
You know what isn’t so riddled with DRM? Personal computers. Laptops, netbooks, desktops, tablets, regardless of their operating system, can all be customized. Anyone can write any application and distribute it on any website, and any user is free to install it. That’s how it’s always been, and how it always will be– oh wait.
You, the Apple employee reading this, are responsible. No tech designer or programmer with self-respect and standards would stand for this hugely damaging blow to the computing market.
The man has a point, but this iPhone piracy is already known to be as Big as Music, film Industry. There are already several Appulous alternatives floating around, I see it hard that piracy would come down until Apple does something about it.