The Ned Stark argument goes that since the customer was searching for my app by name, I deserve that sale. I did whatever work I did to get my name out there enough for someone to search for me, so that customer is mine by right.
Sorry. Doesn’t work that way.
The ad placed above me is a competing app. One of three things will happen when potential customers see it:
They will ignore the ad, as many people have been trained to do.
They will look at the ad, investigate the other app, then find that they want my app after all, because that’s the one they heard was best.
They will look at the competing app, decide it’s better, and buy it instead of mine.
Joe couldn't be more right here. I think the heartburn most indies have is that the game is becoming a more pay to play system. The golden app store days of putting out a great product solo and drumming up some traffic with some free marketing are slowly going away. But that's the natural progression of any maturing market. The classic example is the gold rush. The more people that came, the less gold there was and the more expensive/difficult it became to find gold.
If I were opening a hamburger restaurant in my town, you’d better believe I’d be placing billboards in the vicinity of every McDonald’s, letting those potential customers know there are better burgers a few blocks away. If not, I’m passing on a prime opportunity to reach my target audience.
I want one of those Cieplinski Burgers. But seriously, the good news is that with app store ads, you can now pay to get your superior product noticed by people searching for the massive apps. Being successful in most businesses is half about the quality of trade or industry you are in and the other half about business. This is a great opportunity for indie developers to reach a larger audience that was not there before. And a even better opportunity to show you can truly build a finely crafted higher quality app than your competitors.
In the end, Apple will make a ton of money off of this so it's here to stay. Better to see how you can play your cards then complaining about them.