The iPhone’s apps have been a marketing problem for Apple pretty much since they debuted. The problem is really that Apple wants to approve of all apps before they go on the store. This would be fine, if there was a consistent or even coherent policy guiding what goes in and what doesn’t.
SOMEONE APPROVED THIS? Are they hiring from the Westboro Baptist Church? Possible explanation: There is either a very stupid algorithm or person responsible for vetting these apps. And Apple takes the hit for it because they make it clear they are control freaks who get final OK. Google, however, says we will take something down if we get told about it: “While Google does not intend, and does not undertake, to monitor the Products or their content, if Google is notified …” Because Apple’s guidelines for what is acceptable in an app are basically, “It depends,” they are guaranteed to continue to run into this problem.
You’d think the formula would be self-evident but … noooo. Last year Spain’s Popular Party put up a game that let players bomb illegal immigrants. This year we have Smuggle Truck a game for iPod and iPad from Boston’s own Owlchemy Labs.The aim of the game is to keep immigrants in the bed of a truck as they speed through the border lands. Hit a bump or jump a canyon and men, women or kids fall off.
No sooner was the game announced then controversial hijinks ensued. No surprise that many immigrant rights groups found it offensive. Well, no surprise to you and me. Owlchemy said in a post on its website:
In a recruitment effort, Microsoft is giving out decks of cards with the phrase “Hey Genius” emblazoned on their backs. The fronts are a standard deck of cards but each describes different MS products or initiative the putative genius could work on. Now where I come from you only say “Hey genius” when someone has truly, truly proved they are anything but. My favorite card, from an irony standpoint, are the jokers both of which tell people that they might be forced to work on Zune, the company’s not-yet-closed attempt to compete with the iPod.
Further proof of Redmond’s tin ear for irony can be found in the following:
I mean, they’ve got to be kidding, right? I certainly hope MSN users in the rest of world have the option of using that symbol of the red circle with the line through it.
How much do the official sponsors of the Munich Beijing Olympic games wish they could remove their names from being used on any ads outside of The Middle Kingdom. For once I am going to tune in to watch the coverage of the games, not the games themselves. It will be a fascinating moment to watch all these sports reporters have to cover the ongoing political insanity.
Speaking of which, here’s one story that hasn’t hit the press here in the West yet. Seems the China is doing a major effort to remove gays and lesbians from Beijing.
The idea that Beijing is removing gays and lesbians and then having thousands of Olympic athletes come to town shows that the Chinese have a very … um … closeted view of what goes on in the Olympic village. It has also been reported that prostitutes are being “cleaned out” of Beijing, showing that the Chinese really don’t understand how to get on the media’s good side.
The alleged ipso facto is that the iPod and other expensive electronic gewgaws are highly desired, easy to steal and easy to re-sell. The Institute — certainly not fishing for some free PR — has dubbed this phenomenon “The iCrime Wave.”
Thankfully the reporter pokes a few holes in this theory:
While iPod thefts on subways and other crowded urban settings provide the best anecdotal evidence, the 2005-06 crime increases were highest in small and midsized cities _ places with less-dense pedestrian traffic, let alone teeming subways.
Some stolen iPods might fall into the category of larceny _ a theft without force, such as when something is filched from a backpack _ and larcenies dropped in ’05 and ’06.
Marketing tip to the Urban Institute — naming anything the iSomething is beyond over.