Platform and application 'marketplaces' (app stores) serve an important function for the consumer. The 'marketplace' serves a single point of choice for applications that will be downloaded, and used, on either the apple or android cell phone. Over time, consumers have been reliant- almost dependent on these marketplaces. One can easily imagine, consumers trust the host, they trust the marketplace, they trust the ongoing updates and other technology 'fixes' when their applications begin to fail- one is undoubtedly aware of the loyalty that exists to these brands and marketplace hosts. Exercising full control, app stores engender extreme loyalty and high trust.
The application marketplace is interesting in many dimensions when examined as a closed universe environment. For example, such a marketplace has barriers to entry for developers, and strong rules for participation, including technical specifications and specific limitations to price, and use of data. In addition, the users have barriers to entry as well. They must have accounts and would likely only enter if they have a compatible device. Despite this incredibly closed, highly regulated, marketplace the main authority/host/owner of the marketplace has demonstrated time and time again that they do not monitor marketplace developers, nor do they generally remove big player developers for violating the terms of entry.
Situations such as this are a violation of consumer trust, trust that is misplaced, because the reliance upon information should be viewed as unreasonable based on the limited and misleading information that is available. Thus, this area is ripe for regulation as consumers are being misled and, in the process, are subject to manipulation.
In this paper we explain the more impactful issues that arise when a consumer decides to enter- and remains captured- in an application marketplace. The paper explores online marketplaces, both in general and specific. The paper then briefly explores the marketplace from the view of regulatory failures and asserts that these failures are essential business choices in design and behavior that leads to consumer lack of understanding. Suggesting that the marketplace gatekeepers should be held to these promises. The authors build the case for both trust and trustworthiness as essential in these marketplaces. Thus, the absence of monitoring and enforcement of rules does nothing but further erode consumer trust. The paper concludes by suggesting regulatory additions that are first steps in rebuilding a consumer's trust in digital application marketplaces.
Misplaced Trust, Failure of Contract, and the Need to Create Robust Options for Consumers,
Loy. Consumer L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/lclr/vol34/iss3/9