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New AppDev Alliance Launches: The App Economy's 'Connective Tissue'

Last month, the CEO network at Technet.org published a study, titled "Where the Jobs Are: The App Economy," that puts the number of jobs generated in the U.S. by the so-called app economy in the last four years somewhere near the half million mark. The organization, which bills itself as a bipartisan political network of senior executives focused on promoting the growth of "technology-led innovation," concluded the following: "The incredibly rapid rise of smartphones, tablets and social media, and the applications -- 'apps' -- that run on them, is perhaps the biggest economic and technological phenomenon today."

That conclusion came as no surprise to Jake Ward, head of communications for the newly formed Application Developers Alliance. His nascent organization is only a few weeks old, but it has been under development for a couple of years.

"That work involved a lot of research -- a lot of focus groups, surveys and conversations with individual developers and the companies that care about them," Ward told me. "One thing that was prevalent in all of their answers, and the overarching theme of every conversation was, Wow, there are a lot of apps out there!"

The Washington, DC-based Apps Alliance, as its growing membership calls the organization, is a nonprofit support, education, and advocacy group "committed to helping developers test and ship great ideas," the Web site says. Launched earlier this year, the Alliance membership currently comprises both individual developers (about 55 percent) and corporate members (about 45 percent). Developers of every stripe are welcome, Ward says.

"We are as agnostic as we can possibly be," he says. "If you are a developer -- whether you're an independent app builder or an enterprise programmer -- and you see value in the organization and want to participate, we want you," Ward says. "If you're an enterprise software developer by day, you might be a Python coder by night. It only matters to us that that's what you want to do. The next great way to build an app can come from anywhere."

The cornerstone of the org's member benefits is its Alliance Network, which is a social network for members only. It's designed to allow developers to collaborate, to find each other, to have discussions on message boards and to engage with corporate members through dedicated landing pages to which they can subscribe (it looks something like Facebook Fan Pages meets LinkedIn Groups).

The Alliance plans to deliver the rest of its member services through that network. Among those are an education platform, a certification platform and a worldwide events aggregator. The group is also putting together a value-added program that includes things like discounts on services, access to events, scheduling of events, the network itself and the educational programs. As of this writing, the Services page lists a discount on Mobile App Tracking from HasOffers; $10 off registration with Digitalmusic.org's Music Startup Academy; free app privacy policy from PrivacyChoice; 10,000 free impressions from Swappit; and a 10 percent discount on services from cloud hoster Rackspace.

The Alliance is the brain child of attorney Jonathan Potter, who also founded the Digital Media Association, where he served as executive director for about 12 years.

Individuals can join for free by registering on the Alliance Web site. Ward says individual memberships will be free for the foreseeable future. The Alliance will be funded by the annual dues of corporate memberships, but Ward vows that the developers are going to "drive the bus."

There's a lot to like about the Apps Alliance, but let's face it, there are a lot of developer-focused organizations out there. Do we really need another one?

"We believe that the formation of the Apps Alliance is an essential step toward normalizing the apps industry so that it's trajectory continues upward, with no slowing, no plateauing, just a continuous driver of innovation and standardization and the rising tide of the ecosystems," Ward says.

"The mission of this organization," he adds, "is to be the connective tissue of the industry." 

More information on the Application Developers Alliance is available on the organization's Web site. Stop by and watch the intro video, and then let us know what you think.


Posted by John K. Waters on March 22, 2012