Location matters ... for luxury goods and smartphone apps

Location matters … for luxury goods & smartphone apps

Location is important when it comes to getting a fashionable wristwatch … and an app for your smartphone.

It’s not easy to choose the right store.

At the top of every shoppers’ must-visit list is the branded store. Where else can you try on that timepiece in such a beautiful place, under the attentive and appreciative glance of a sales clerk? From the store image, the decor, even the lighting, everything is just right. Never a doubt that that watch or handbag is genuine. As an IT geek would say, the UX is just right.  The only negative could be the price, as branded stores have a reputation of being relatively expensive.

Second down the list is a department store; Good selection, less exclusive surroundings, and a less enveloping experience. That timepiece has to share the stage with other brands and products, each with its own image and presence. With so many items available, it can get confusing. But yes, the price might be a bit less.

A distant third is the guy with the large trench coat, hawking a selection of wristwatches pinned to the inside of his coat. While his selection might be extensive and prices negotiable, you should have some serious questions about the providence of the watches. And a warrantee? Forget about it.

 

Then there are the apps for a smartphone. Unlike timepieces or handbags – code is code. What could possibly be the difference between one outlet or another?

A free app is a free app, right?

The official stores, whether Apple, Google Play, or Amazon, all have their reputation and their brand image to protect. Some apps might be free, others have a price —  take it or leave it. The good news is that they want customers to come back multiple times, on a regular basis, so they now take a hard look at app quality.

At the second level are many of the major review places. Some host the app APKs directly on their sites, taking responsibility that their site visitors get the latest variant and that the code is clean. Many others simply link to the official stores: While they get a smaller cut of any advertising revenue or a future sale, this frees them from having to look after the app quality.

Then there are fringe sites. These are the small sites that have the free and the paid apps – and have that second category at a lower cost … even for free. They can even be as free as a torrent download.

Let’s talk about the total costs, not just the purchase costs.

Like the man selling watches from trench coat, it’s not always clear what is the business model: Is he simply selling discounted hardware … or is he setting up clients for a robbery. With off-market app outlets and torrent offers, it’s a question what the business is. Are they really providing apps on the cheap … or are they setting up users to download adware or worse that can steal their private data, incur additional phone charges, or even damage the phone?

Statistically speaking, the chances of getting a bad deal from Mr. Trench coat is much, much higher than from either the official outlet or a department store. Similarly, a smartphone user’s chances of getting dangerous goods are much, much higher if they pick up the app in the gray market – even if the purchase cost is zero.

Studies show that the biggest risks come from apps downloaded from secondary markets – and also those directed via ads in other apps and through social media.

TL;DR

The easiest way to stay safe? Check the box on your smartphone to allow apps only from official markets – and don’t let popup adds persuade you otherwise. Don’t want to read the whole blog article? Then watch our latest video and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

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As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.