If you’ve been reading this blog much at all lately, you’ll have noticed that points-for apps services seem to keep on rolling in. You may have also noticed that these mobile websites will only work for users who are in the US or otherwise able to operate off of US-based iTunes accounts. Enter AppBounty. Not only does it add yet another points generating website for those of us in the USA, but it also opens the door to all of you fine folks in other countries as well! But with the competition rising, how does AppBounty stack up? Read on to find out!
UPDATE: AppBounty is now available on Android as a free app from the Google Play Store. As of the time of this writing it is still in the testing phase though, so anticipate your user experience accordingly.
In case you’re new around here and haven’t yet heard of websites like FreeMyApps, FreeAppSlots, and FeaturePoints, what these services all have in common is that mobile app developers pay to have their apps featured on the above websites, and then users of the websites try out the apps in exchange for a number of points. Once enough points have been accumulated, they can be redeemed for rewards, most often taking the form of iTunes or Amazon gift cards. Developers get their apps noticed, the company hosting the sponsored apps makes a decent profit, and users trying out the apps share in those profits a bit. Not a bad system! Ah, the power of advertising…
However, these services have had their share of differences, too. FeaturePoints has a terrific interface, but does not reward users as generously as FreeAppSlots, whose interface is slow and not so attractive. FreeMyApps resides somewhere in the middle with a decent UI and fair rewards. (FreeMyApps and FeaturePoints are also the only of these services to support Android–the others are iOS only)
A New Kid on the Block
So in this growing new market, where does AppBounty fit in? Does it best the UI of FeaturePoints, outdo the generosity of FreeAppSlots, or manage the balance more evenly than FreeMyApps?
Well, depending on where you live, it may not have to do any of those things. One (currently) unique feature about AppBounty.net that is definitely worth mentioning is that the service is international. Meaning, you don’t need to have a US-based iTunes account to redeem your points for iTunes gift cards, as is the case with other apps-for-points websites. Seeing as a significant portion of visitors to this blog are not located in the US, I’m sure this will come as very welcome news to many of you! Furthermore, international support is integrated completely transparently, meaning that the website automatically determines your country of residence and adjusts itself accordingly. You won’t have to sort through a list of rewards by country–it’s tailored to your location quite nicely.
But what of those of us that have access to other services? Should we use one of them instead, or go with AppBounty? Well, as always, I’d recommend you use all of them in order to generate the greatest return. But all the same, will AppBounty be a place you actually frequent, or will it get left by the wayside in favor of other options? Let’s take a look.
The User Interface
AppBounty has a fair UI. No, I really mean it–it has a fair UI. The bright color palette, striped backgrounds, and treasure chest icon make me think of a sideshow like what we as kids all used to see at theme parks or fairs and desperately wanted to play because we all just knew that we could snag the grand prize. Yes, the UI is attractive, catchy, well-designed, and runs smooth as silk on a wide range of hardware. No need to worry about lag from an outdated OS or older Apple devices. Web app integration is also flawless. Add the website to your home screen, and it will feel like a true app.
Thankfully, while the UI of AppBounty may remind me of a sideshow (which is a good thing), it is not rigged like one (which is also a good thing). The rewards here are definitely real, and come in the form of iTunes and Amazon gift cards.
One big problem with FeaturePoints is how frequently the majority of prizes are marked as being sold out. Similar websites have been known to occasionally pull one or two prizes temporarily, but they always restock quickly. AppBounty does well here, and so far has been keeping its range of rewards available as consistently as possible.
As far as what is required to obtain them goes, however, you might find yourself a bit hard-pressed to rack up sufficient points to actually claim one of these gift cards for yourself. Seeing as AppBounty has also done well so far with keeping plenty of apps available to try out, it’s far from impossible to reach the reward you seek, but it will take some time. For comparison, I’d place AppBounty somewhere in between FeaturePoints and FreeMyApps. (But keep reading for a referral code that will boost your AppBounty earnings a bit!) In other words, AppBounty is on the lower end of the generosity scale, but just barely. Rewards cost a fair amount of points, but several available apps will also generate a fair amount of points, too.
The amount of points earned for each download is not the most generous we’ve ever seen, but is a vast improvement over FeaturePoints. The great interface design also compares nicely to the same. AppBounty looks good, runs well, and offers sufficient points for the effort of trying out an app. Overall, if anything, I’d say FeaturePoints is in danger of being left behind now that AppBounty is here–I don’t think it will have any trouble pushing its way into the market.
There is one minor catch involved with AppBounty that I don’t believe is present in similar websites, though. As noted in the fine print on the ‘Rewards’ tab of the website, any points you earn through AppBounty will be purged after 60 days of inactivity. That may sound a bit harsh at first, but in the end it is only a minor annoyance and not really a significant issue. To keep your points, all you have to do is download at least one app (or refer a friend to do so) once every two months. That’s a very little effort in a very long time period. All the same, it is something to be aware of going in, so you aren’t caught off-guard losing your hard-earned points right before you intended to make good use of them.
In the end, AppBounty is a solid service well worth checking out if you have enjoyed similar websites I’ve reviewed here. To check it out for yourself (no sign-up is required–the website keeps track of points via an iOS profile) visit AppBounty.net on Mobile Safari (not your PC or another mobile browser) and enroll your device.
…and Don’t Forget Your Bonus!
When trying out AppBounty for the first time on a particular device, be sure to visit the website via the following link (specifically on Mobile Safari) to receive 50 vCredits free!