With the entire tech word endlessly buzzing about the latest new smartphone, it’s easy to forget that around 75% of handsets sold are basic feature phones – often lovingly referred to as “dumb phones”. With these phones generally lacking an official “App Store” of their own, users turn to the web to find new applications. One of the most popular resources for this purpose is GetJar, a repository of over 20,000 free applications. While GetJar offers a number of applications for smartphones, their primary game seems to be J2ME-based applications for phones with a bit less muscle.
Of GetJar’s free offerings, 3 out of 5 of the most downloaded applications are IM clients. Later this morning, one of of these IM clients, eBuddy Mobile Messenger, will be announcing that they have surpassed 10 million downloads on GetJar’s app store.
eBuddy is easily the most heavily downloaded application in GetJar’s catalog, pulling in roughly 375,000 downloads each week. In the 72 weeks since their November ’07 launch, eBuddy has claimed the #1 download spot for 34 of them. At the time of announcement, they’re already well on their way to 11 million (Currently at 10,783,054).
According to eBuddy, much of their success is due to GetJar’s in-house advertising system, which they call “Get Traffic”. Through this system, developers bid for above-the-fold placement in GetJar’s search and browse pages, only paying when a user downloads their application after clicking through the advertisement. While they aren’t sharing exactly how eBuddy’s download numbers have improved since they began advertising, GetJar does tell us that the ad system generally improves an app’s download rate by roughly 200%, with eBuddy CEO Jan-Joost Rueb saying they’ve grown “exponentially”. No word on how much eBuddy’s campaign has cost them, but we do know that bids begin at $.01 and occasionally go upwards of $.50 per download.
While this Pay-per-download model seems quite beneficial for developers, some of the ads do seem a bit misleading to us. Partnered applications are often placed within a box labeled “Selected”, which our consumer-side would have assumed meant “Apps we’ve manually chosen to highlight”, not “Apps that pay us money to be here”. As far as we can tell, the user is not told that the application is being highlighted due to a paid partnership.