American Idol of iPhone Apps

Ronstadt and Associates helped technology start-up veteran Dan Sullivan launch several successful companies so when it was time for his next venture, he gave us a call. He was several weeks away from launching the crowd-sourcing iPhone app Appswell, which he dubbed the “American Idol” of iPhone apps.

The Challenge

On a start-up budget, Ronstadt & Associates agreed to launch Appswell and its free iPhone app. In addition, the company needed to build buzz about the new concept of crowdsourcing since that term was not yet widely known. All of this had to be completed with utmost secrecy in order to prevent copycat apps from stealing Sullivan’s great idea.

The Strategy

In order to create excitement and leverage the secret nature of this project, Ronstadt & Associates supplied the press with embargoed materials and phone briefings the week prior to the launch date. The company drew on Sullivan’s past start up successes to lend credibility to this project. On launch day, in addition to the pre-scheduled news generated by the under embargo interviews, Ronstadt & Associates distributed the press release to a wider press audience and aggressively followed up to secure more coverage.


Ronstadt & Associates created the desired buzz for Appswell. With their long-lasting relationships with technology media, Ronstadt & Associates was able to secure a huge consumer technology homerun with an online story in Gadgetwise, New York Times’ personal technology blog. The company also secured an online story on Macworld that was resourced elsewhere including InfoWorld, TechWorld and The Industry Standard. Targeted blogs that also ran stories on Appswell included The Gadgeteer, Apple iPhone Geek, iPhone 3G apps, GamePress and WebNewser.