The iPhone App Store is a blessing and a curse. It’s one of the best things about the mobile platform, but it’s so popular that finding great new apps to download can be a real challenge. Where there’s a monetizable pain-point, services will flower! Enter a variety of new iPhone app recommendation services that aim to point you toward your next download and pocket the affiliate fees for paid apps.

Below we’ve posted a chart comparing the features of 5 new services for iPhone app discovery: Apple’s own App Genius, a new social app discovery service called Chorus that launched to great press coverage this morning, a simple mobile sharing service called AppsFire, a remarkably similar service called Yappler and Appolicious, a website like Delicious for iPhone apps.

Comparing 5 iPhone App Recommendation Services

Different people will want to use different apps in this matrix to suit their different needs. The boxes in yellow are my personal favorite implementations of each feature in question. Here’s why.

  • Best mobile interface: App Genius, Apple’s own service inside the app store. It’s simple, it works quickly, gives fun recommendations on the phone and has easy access to app reviews. No one else has beat it, yet.
  • Best web interface: Appolicious is awesome. There’s a lot of things it doesn’t do well, but it’s web interface is fun to read, feature rich and solid. It’s not a sharing service, it’s a discovery service – and for that it does a good job. Yappler’s is pretty good, too. No one is doing a great job of tying web and mobile together.
  • Best sharing: Appsfire. Sharing apps is so easy with Appsfire I regularly fire it up just to share a link to Appsfire itself, then I add on a couple of other recommendations. Launch the app, click some of your apps you want to share with someone, then the share button opens an email with Appsfire links to all the selected apps. It’s a fast, easy way to point someone to apps you think they’d like. The fact that you can do it from your phone to someone you’re having a conversation with is key.
  • Best recommendations: None. No one is doing a terribly good job at this, the most important feature. Chorus, the much-hyped new social recommendation service, appears promising but so far only offers an activityfeed view of a cold-start friends network with vague friend import options and a completely impersonal looking “recommended” section. Did we mention the spammy Twitter messages the company says it’s going to soon stop sending through your account? The fake-looking testimonials from users on the company’s home page? Ugh.
    It’s disappointing that no one has nailed this yet, but it’s very early days.
  • Autodiscovery of the apps you already have: Everyone does it, Yappler has the best user experience in doing it.
  • Discussion: Applocious is the best place to learn a lot about an app before downloading it. Yappler is a close second. Inclusion of video, screenshots, local and App Store reviews and other features are what make these two services stand out.

So…which of these should you try? That depends on what you’re looking for, but I’d personally recommend checking out Appsfire and Appolicious right away. All of the services are worth checking out, though. Someone’s going to knock this out of the park and become the Yellow Pages of iPhone apps. We’re not there yet, though.

marshall kirkpatrick