Canalys, an independent analyst firm, released their research into the state of the App Store marketplace. It paints a picture of a top-heavy marketplace where a few developers are monopolizing the revenue.
As they admit, this is just an estimate. Far more money could be flowing into the pockets of developers not on the list of those on easy street. Admittedly, the Apple App Store is incredibly poor at discoverability. Those that have made the land grab for the top in any category have a incredible advantage over those that haven't made it on there. What this result is indicating that more people see the catalog of a top ranking app developer than look past the first couple of apps in a category.
This is a phenomenon that website owners know all too well. Rank first on a Google search result and your page is pulling in eyeballs like Katy Perry. Drop down to spot 4 and your page might as well be chopped whale liver at a combined meeting of Vegans and Sea Shepherds. Apple claims there are 600,000 applications in their App Store. If you're not at the top of a category then good luck fishing for downloaders.
With that number of apps, just showing up is no longer enough. Apple deserves quite a bit of blame for not spreading the joy around better. On the other hand, they get paid regardless of what gets bought and what they place in front of users is raking in the money. So, the enterprising developer is stuck marketing their app outside the store to get noticed by users.
Well, that's a depressing conclusion. I was hoping for Apple to make it rain profit if I submitted an app to their store. Shucks.