Name-squatters Targeting the App Store
In recent months, it's seemed that Apple has finally started getting its act together in fixing little App Store annoyances and making it a better marketplace for developers. We've been hearing fewer complaints about arbitrarily rejected applications and, aside from the brouhaha over Google Voice, there has been almost no major news about the App Store recently--and all too often no news is good news.
One issue that has surfaced, however, is the App Store's cavalier attitude towards the registration of application names. It's
The issue is that the App Store requires all applications to have unique names, which means that if the name you'd picked for your application is already taken, you'll have to modify it in some way before it can be allowed into the store.
But a developer doesn't need to actually go through the entire process of developing an application in order to register a name.
And worse, because these half submissions have no app in the store, there's no way to find out that a name is taken without attempting to register a name.
The fix, to me, seems rather simple: Apple could have iTunes Connect (the backend of iTunes, which allows developers to interface with the App Store and submit their apps) only allow developers to register application names once they've submitted the binary for it. This would put a stop to the squatters who're actually doing it with malicious intent and would let the good names remain on the market until the first deserving candidate comes along.
I do not think, however, that allowing applications with duplicate names to exist on the store is the right solution. The App Store is already a pain to browse as it is, what with the plethora of near identical applications flooding the store, many of them including each others' names in their descriptions to get more search traffic. Throwing in different applications that sport exactly identical names will only add to the chaos.