While millions of users feel pity for the removal of Flappy Bird, many Flappy Bird copycats are flowing into the mobile app stores and even rocket up the top rank charts. In the highly competitive mobile app stores, imitating the names of “superstar” apps is a tactic shared by developers. In this paper, we examine the effects of this strategy – how and to what extent it influences the imitator apps’ downloads. To achieve a better understanding, we also investigate the imitation-related factors that affect the imitators’ downloads. With a dataset from Google Play, we evaluate the research questions with propensity score matching and linear regression. The results suggest that, on average, imitating the names of “superstar” apps brings imitators an improvement in downloads. This positive effect is influenced by the number of “superstar” apps that the imitator’s name looks like, the name similarity level, functional similarity and price difference between the imitator and “superstar” apps. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Li, Mei; Goh, Khim-Yong; and Cavusoglu, Huseyin, "WHAT IS IT IN A NAME? AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF BRAND IMITATION IN MOBILE APP MARKET" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 143.