In the Spotlight :: George Karavias of Anlock and App Friday

When I first started out in the app industry I was told by several developers to join the Moms With Apps group.  Moms With Apps was created by four moms who were developing family-friendly apps and connected over Twitter in November of 2009. What started as a small brainstorming session on cross-marketing soon grew into a much larger and more diverse collaboration of developers. Original founders included Alesha Bishop and Jill Seman from MomMaps, Lynette Mattke from PicPocket Books, and Lorraine Akemann from My Busy Kit. (Source:
Moms With Apps has gone on to be one of the go-to resource leaders in the app industry, especially for indie developers, though you will find large developers members as well.  Their weekly App Friday is always very popular and if a developer joins in, they are almost guaranteed a large boost to their sales and/or downloads. App Friday is a weekly promotion to highlight educational apps across the kids’ educational app community. As of November 2012, a new site was built to support the promotion:  The last time we participated in App Friday we had over 13,000 downloads for Penelope the Purple Pirate and reached the #4 spot in Books on iTunes! So if you are looking to get more exposure for your app to an audience very much interested in storybook and educational apps – you just might want to check out what they have going on over at Moms With Apps and App Friday!  I had a chance to speak to George Karavias, head of Anlock company, who is now in charge of running the App Friday.  He tells us more about his company and the changes he has seen since he started in this industry.
Could you tell me a bit more about your apps and how you became involved in App Friday?
At Anlock we love what we do, developing fun and educational applications for children. We started three years ago and we now have more than 50 educational apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, Windows Store and App Store. Our apps have been featured by Apple and Microsoft and one of them has even been installed on Jessica Alba’s phone airing across all major US TV networks. Currently our apps have been played 7 million times, by 500 thousand users and are ranked in over 100 countries, having received more than 700 reviews with an average rating of 4.5.  I became involved with Moms with Apps over two years ago and my first active involvement with App Friday came a year ago as administrator of the App Friday Facebook page. Last November Lorraine, the brain behind Moms with Apps and App Friday decided to step down from App Friday and she passed the torch to me. I have been fortunate to be heading a fantastic team that is actively working in advancing App Friday to bring more value to parents, educators, developers and reviewers alike.
What changes have you seen in the industry since you first came on the scene.
Truth be told everything was simpler when we started off. The applications market is changing at warp speed and the learning curve is getting steeper and steeper. We now feel that we have our feet firmly on the ground and we have an idea more or less of what we are doing. But we have to work hard to keep up, as children are becoming more and more savvy and more demanding. Furthermore COPPA is greatly impacting how we are currently designing our apps. And of course discoverability is not getting any better by any means. I personally feel that  developing apps has become easier over time but marketing has become extremely more significant and the chances of failing have increased considerably.
If a new developer is looking to market their new apps – what are some steps you would recommend?
The best piece of advice that comes to mind is never ever be afraid to experiment. If something doesn’t seem to be working, it probably isn’t, so revisit and try again. There is no right or wrong, just a set of do’s and don’ts that may come handy over time.
Any news you want to share with Penelope’s mates?
We are currently working hard to greatly upgrade the App Friday program so we hope to have great news soon!
Thanks George for all your hard work at keeping the App Friday program going and great work on all your apps!  We do have some exciting news from Moms With Apps C0-Founder Lorraine Ackerman.  She sent me the link and exciting news about a new program called “Know What’s Inside” that developers can join in and be a part of.

Lorraine says “In partnership with the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), an industry association in Washington DC, we are creating a membership class specifically for kids’ app developers. Developers will have the option to join a new Moms With Apps program based on the principle of disclosing to parents how their apps work. This program is called “Know What’s Inside”. It is a call to action to tell consumers about the features inside their apps, and it is a reminder to parents to read the ingredients of an app before they download it.
Here is an excerpt from the Moms With App website about the Know What’s Inside program:

What does it mean for an app to have the KNOW what’s inside logo?

When you see the KNOW what’s inside logo, it is a signal to parents that the app maker takes your privacy seriously. Their apps are designed especially for children, with special attention to online privacy. By committing to tell you how their apps work with clearly written privacy policies and descriptions, you know what to expect – no unwanted surprises or tricks.

You can read more about The Know What’s Inside program and the background of the initiative is here
George.headshot.securedownloadYou can read more about Anlock and App Friday at:

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