On Drupal Stores (and apps) and the lack thereof
Others are far more qualified to expand on the merits of this with some actual experience and hard data. My contribution will limit itself to recounting an episode that illustrates what challenges Drupal can face regarding its uptake by a larger number of people because we do not have professionally marketed apps.
This happened while trying to convince someone to build their site with Drupal rather than Wordpress.
Yes - I am talking about my Dad once more! Check out the beginnings of that story here.
In the discussions we've had about the merits of using Drupal for his website he brought up the issue of forms quite a few times. Now, his form needs are not complicated so I just said "Don't worry - there is this module called Webform that will take care of everything".
However, the question didn't go away. He kept mentioning this great Wordpress module - GravityForms - that was only $39. The fact that Webform was free or my guarantee that it could cover his needs didn't seem to clinch the deal. Up to the very last minute he suggested we could do everything else in Drupal but do the form with Gravity Forms and Wordpress! Mind you this is a plugin he has not used before.
So then I visited the Gravity Forms site that had my Dad excited.
And here is the Webform page I had sent him to to convince him that Webform was more than enough.
You see the problem, right? After visiting the Gravity Forms site the path from requirement to conclusion is clear. There is $39 to pay on the way but that is nothing compared to the gains.
The Webform page is just a lot of text about a lot of things that a non-seasoned Drupalist has no idea about! How can you ever be convinced by that.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is not an attack on Webform (which I love and which my Dad WILL be using). It is just stating the facts. Webform was just the example I came across - any other module would have the same fate. If someone starts out with no preconceptions and needs to make a decision in a limited time and it all comes down to that one extra bit of functionality that is crucial to their business a professionally marketed product will quite often win (especially if the two products are similar).
That is where an App Store can create problems or create opportunities (by promoting worse products better or good products better, respectively) and this is something else we need to be considering before shooting down anyone wanting to sell their Drupal module or set up a store.