To kick things off, let's review some of the most common terms and phrases used to describe apps, app marketplaces, and their surrounding ecosystems — under a few main categories:
Basic terminology related to app marketplaces.
App – a broad term used to describe a piece of functionality that is complementary to a product or platform.
App marketplace – a directory that allows users to discover and activate apps that have been created by first- and/or third-party developers. Also known as an add-on, plugin, or extension marketplace, store, or directory.
App ecosystem – the bringing together of third-party app developers and users for their mutual benefit on top of a core product or platform, where both parties benefit.
Platform – a system, product, or collection of products and services around which an app marketplace and ecosystem is built. Alternatively:
“A “Platform” is a system that can be programmed and therefore customized by outside developers — users — and in that way, adapted to countless needs and niches that the platform's original developers could not have possibly contemplated, much less had time to accommodate."
Common classifications for apps.
Add-on/Extension – a piece of functionality which is complementary to a product or platform.
Plugin – the smallest piece of functionality which is complementary to a product or platform, often functioning within the core product or platform's user interface.
Integration – a piece of functionality which connects a product or platform to a separate system.
Paid app – an app which users must pay to use
Featured app – an app which is promoted or placed prominently on the app marketplace.
Sponsored app – an app which is promoted or placed prominently on the app marketplace, paid for by the developer organization.
For the various software implementations of an app, see App Types.
Parties integral to the functioning of app marketplaces.
Platform owner – the organization that is responsible for and makes all decisions related to the app marketplace and ecosystem.
Marketplace administrator – an individual responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of an app marketplace, such as reviewing app submissions, approving user reviews, and monitoring performance.
User – an individual that uses the app marketplace and surrounding product or platform.
User organization – the company or entity that a user belongs to.
User administrator – an individual that can be responsible for activating apps on behalf of users.
Developer – a third party that develops apps for an app marketplace.
Developer organization – the company or entity that a developer belongs to.
Locations within an app marketplace.
App page – a page or modal containing information about a specific app.
Marketplace administrator dashboard – an interface where marketplace administrators can review app submissions, approve user reviews, and monitor marketplace performance.
Developer dashboard – an interface where developers can submit, manage, and track apps; also used to manage account settings such as payment information.
Other frequently used terms.
App activation – the process of enabling users to access and use an app. Also known as installation or integration.
Revenue sharing – a business arrangement where the revenue from app sales is divided between the platform owner and developer organization.
Developer payout – the percentage of revenue developers receive from their app sales in a revenue sharing arrangement.
Marketplace revenue – the total dollar amount of apps sales on the app marketplace.
We've looked at some of the key terms used to describe app marketplaces and their surrounding ecosystems. On the next page — App Marketplaces — we'll explain what an app marketplace is and what it includes.