Haoyu Wang, Zhe Liu, Yao Guo, Xiangqun Chen, Miao Zhang, Guoai Xu, and Jason Hong


International Conference on World Wide Web (WWW)


April 2017


With the prevalence of smartphones, app markets such as Apple App Store and Google Play has become the center stage in the mobile app ecosystem, with millions of apps developed by tens of thousands of app developers in each major market. This paper presents a study of the mobile app ecosystem from the perspective of app developers. Based on over one million Android apps and 320,000 developers from Google Play, we analyzed the Android app ecosystem from different aspects. Our analysis shows that while over half of the developers have released only one app in the market, many of them have released hundreds of apps. We classified developers into different groups based on the number of apps they have released, and compared their characteristics. Specially, we have analyzed the group of aggressive developers who have released more than 50 apps, trying to understand how and why they create so many apps. We also investigated the privacy behaviors of app developers, showing that some developers have a habit of producing apps with low privacy ratings. Our study shows that understanding the behavior of mobile developers can be helpful to not only other app developers, but also to app markets and mobile users.

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