Geographical targeting—allowing developers to choose where their apps are available—puts the developer in the driver’s seat, and Mozilla believes that’s the right road to take.
It’s the developers’ content, and they should be able to choose what they want to do with it. The circumstance of political, legal, and geographic boundaries and of monetary exchange complexities is the reality today and in the foreseeable future. Developers have to work within this context, and we believe in supporting the often unique and nuanced needs of regional developers everywhere.
Today, about 15 to 20 percent of Firefox OS app developers take advantage of geo-targeting. That’s not a large percentage, but it’s significant enough for us to want to address their concerns.
Here are just some of the reasons developers prefer to control the geographic availability of their apps:
- Licensing or geographical restrictions limit a developer’s rights to distribute content within an app (e.g., videos or characters in a game), and thus she is unable to list her app on the Firefox Marketplace unless she can limit distribution to specific countries.
- An app is a paid app. (The Firefox Marketplace currently only facilitates payments in certain regions.)
- An app is relevant only to certain regions, and the developer doesn’t wish to provide language and/or other support for customers elsewhere.
- A developer is concerned about legal matters, such as liability for copyright infringement, for user-generated content within the app.
- A developer is concerned about political, censorship, and/or privacy issues within certain countries and doesn’t wish to distribute to those areas.
- A developer may have maps for different regions in different languages, and due to the size, it’s preferable to divide them up and target certain regions.
A few intriguing hyper-local apps you’ll find on Firefox Marketplace include:
- SurfTime: Surf information for Spanish coastal areas
- Beoprevoz: Belgrade public transport
- eBankomaty: ATM locations in Poland
- Guía Desastres: Prevention of/response to disasters (Peru)
- Planine Srbije: The geography, history, and natural beauty of the Serbian countryside
On a related note: We also plan to give hyper-local communities a voice in choosing “Featured Apps” that are best suited for their region. (Stay tuned for more on this.)
Speaking of the driver’s seat, if you’re going to Mobile World Congress (24-27 February in Barcelona), cruise on over to Mozilla’s booth to see some of the hyper-local apps we’ll be featuring.