December 10, 2013 Last Updated 8:25 am

Subcategories live again in the Apple App Store

Subcategory pages in the Newsstand and iBooks Store again filled with titles, but store remains a disorganized mess as developers and publishers voice their frustration

A week after Apple’s App Store suffered a meltdown, the tech giant has finally flipped the switch and subcategories within the store filled up once again with apps and publications. Since early last week the App Store has displayed blank pages in its subcategories – for instance, in the Newsstand the front page looked as normal, but any subcategory search would reveal a blank page. The outage effected the entire store including the iBooks Store.

Photography-subcategory-featureDevelopers resorted to commenting on the App Store Facebook page, voicing their frustration with Apple’s lack of action, and their failure to publicly acknowledge the issue. “You are affecting thousands of people’s ability to make a living,” wrote one Facebook commenter.

Calls to the Apple press team, including their developer and App Store press person, went unanswered.

More and more, publishers are finding Apple to be an untrustworthy partner in digital publishing. The App Store, and the Newsstand in particular, continues to be filled with bogus apps from quick-buck developers. All attempts to clean up the mess by identifying scams goes unresolved, and a number of funded digital media start-ups have blamed the Apple App Store as the reason their efforts did not succeed.

The App Store is still not fully restored. While the subcategories are again live, the top carousels remain empty. But now that the store appears alive again it is possible the App Store team will now once again begin to promote titles and common themed publications and apps.

The biggest complaint about the store, prior to the outage, was that new apps and publications, especially from start-ups, are not given a fighting chance. While Apple continually promotes the same small number of publications from major publishers. Because of this, smaller publishers have complained about the small number of downloads they are experiencing, forcing many to abandon their iOS-first policies.

(An example of how this effects TNM: our own Tablet Publishing magazine app is inside the Business category. Because the category, in the US store, has no way to find “All” apps, one would need to search by the exact name of the app in order to find it. Apple’s search is so bad that an error with the name will not pull up apps with a name similar to what you searched for. Further, Apple is currently promoting “Business Magazines” inside the Business category. But many of the titles are not even business magazines as titles such as Newsweek and others are being promoted. It is so bad that the NYT is included. Apparently Apple is not aware that the NYT is a newspapers, not a magazine.)

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