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Fabio de Miranda's List: Sales figures, iPhone, etcimport from google notebook

  • 20 Jun 09

    Palm Pre App Catalog Makes a Slow Start

    * By Priya Ganapati Email Author
    * June 19, 2009 |
    * 2:44 pm |
    * Categories: Phones

    pre-app-storePalm may have wowed gadget geeks with its new Palm Pre phone but the company seems to be having a much tougher time convincing application developers to get on board.

    The Pre’s app store, known as the App Catalog, had just about 30 apps one week after the device’s June 6 launch. The number has remain unchanged since then, says Medialets, a mobile analytics and ad targeting company.

    “This number is a mere fraction on what we’ve seen at launch for other app stores,” says Rana Sobhany, vice president for Medialets.

    What’s kept developers away has been the fact that the software developers’ kit hasn’t been easy to get, and the low user base of the Palm Pre compared to rivals such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, say industry watchers.

    Palm released the Pre on June 6 exclusively on the Sprint network. But the company has not been saying much about the Pre’s app store to date.

    Since Apple first introduced the idea of an integrated store for third-party programs with the iPhone, other smartphone makers have been trying to catch up. The iPhone’s app store, which launched in July 2008, has become a hugely popular feature among its users, who have downloaded the store’s more than 50,000 apps over 1 billion times. It has also helped create a new generation of mobile developers, some of whom have struck it rich creating games and other applications for the phone. Since the iPhone’s launch, other companies including BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Nokia, and Google have launched their own stores for mobile software.

  • 17 Jun 09

    Epic Iphone App Stats Roundup – 1st half ‘09
    Iphone & Gaming

    For the Iphone app stat junkies in all of us, here are a few substantial stat sharing posts around the net. Hopefully, these will assist you in your market positioning, marketing plan, etc. Here be yer stats!

    —————————————

    Wobble ($1.99)
    sales: 165,000
    Rank 5-10 = 8,000 – 8,500 sales/day
    March 2009

    http://chillifresh.com/2009/03/11/stats-to-appstore-rank/


    Various NimbleBit apps
    Revenue(5 apps): $189,880

    http://www.nimblebit.com/2009/06/nimblebit-numbers/

    Brushes ($4.99)
    Sales: 40,000 copies
    Featured in “The New Yorker”
    May 2009

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/27/new-yorker-iphone-cover-boosts-sales-for-brushes-app/

    Locavore ($2.99)
    Sales: 5,681
    Gross sales: $16,986.19
    April 2009

    http://enjoymentland.com/2009/04/21/locavores-first-month-in-the-app-store/


    Scribattle ($2.99)
    May 2009

    http://www.nuthole.com/compute/programming/scribattle_lite_more_results.html


    Compounds ($1.99)
    1 month data
    April 2009

    http://www.theflyingjalapenolives.com/2009/04/app-store-sales-figures-for-our-iphone-app-compounds/


    Sudoku Grab ($1.99)
    Sales to date: 25,000 (as of june 15)
    March 2009

    http://sudokugrab.blogspot.com/2009/03/sales-stats-update-one-month-on-app.html

    Tangled ($0.99)
    Sales: 231
    April 2009

    http://billylavoie.blogspot.com/2009/04/sales-stats-for-week.html


    Zoo Sounds ($0.99)
    Sales: 928
    May 2009

    http://www.lawrenceingraham.com/the-macbreak-weekly-bump-iphone-app-sales-of-a-pick-of-the-week/


    Hit Tennis ($0.99)
    May 2009

    http://www.markj.net/category/app-store/


    ZombieVille USA ($1.99)
    June 2009

    and found in the unity3d forum Zombieville USA at #50 equals to 1,000 to 2,000 / day

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    This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 1:27 am and is filed under Iphone &

  • 17 Jun 09

    $99 iPhone 'kneecapping the mobile industry'
    If you wouldn't mind paying more, that'd be a big help
    Product: iPhone news
    Manufacturer: Apple
    by Spanner Spencer
    According to a new blog post by Nielsen, the unexpected price drop of the iPhone 3G to $99, now that it's to be superseded by the iPhone 3G S on Friday June 19th, could cause devastating repercussions for the mobile industry.

    The main reason most consumers haven't opted for the iPhone yet, according to the news service's survey, is price. But now that price might not be quite such an issue, it's been looking at the impact this affordable, highly sought after handset could have.

    While it seems a little dramatic to suggest the iPhone 3G is 'kneecapping the industry', it is easy to see how other manufacturers and carriers are going to have to adjust their plans, and adjust them quickly.

    Competing with the iPhone is hard enough, but should the large number of Android handsets appear on the market at a price point that makes them unjustifiable to the consumer in contrast to Apple's device, a lot of investment will have been flushed away.

    The report also suggests that the impact will hit carriers, who will be forced to further subsidise handset sales to make them competitive, which will ultimately knock on to the customer through call and data prices.

    But pinning the industry's troubles on the success of the iPhone is a cheap shot. Carriers and manufacturers take little interest in the fact that consumers are broke, too, and like so many huge, conglomerate-led industries have done in the past, it's trying to bend the market to its own will rather than adjust its tactics to meet changing consumer demands.

    The mistake that most mobile companies have made is to think that avaricious business practices were the norm, but apparently that only counts in a recession if you've got the hottest product on the market.

  • http://google.com/notebook/#b=BDUZD5goQiYSQ5Yck

  • 14 Jun 09

    My big fat failure
    I spent the last 6 months writing games for the iPhone, hoping to strike it rich, or at least earn enough to cover my costs.

    In that time I have released 4 games, plus lite versions, plus 1 quick free slide puzzle game.

    The results are now in, and it has been a complete and utter financial disaster.

    6 months after my first game was released, I have earned a grand total of $170 US from sales.

    This would work out to about 25 cents an hour, or it would if I hadn’t spent $200 US on sprites for my first game.

    So after 6 months I am $25 in the hole.

    With the way the App store is going, I think things are going to get even harder, as more and more games are released, with a lot more development, artwork, music and marketing put into them than I could ever hope to achieve on my own.

    I think the worst part has been logging onto the Apple developers website every day and seeing 1 or 2 sales across all 4 of my games. The statistics update at 10:30 am here, and it has been a daily compulsion of mine to log on and feel terrible about my lack of success.

    Still, things could be worse, I got to spend a few month doing something that I enjoy, and although I didn’t make any money, I also didn’t go into debt.

    The first part of my rehabilitation is admitting my failure, which I am doing in this post.

    The second part is to lower the price of my games to free. I will lose the  $1.40 or so a day that I was earning, but hopefully it will break my depressing habit of checking the daily sales and getting upset.

    Game development as a hobby is a lot more fun for me than game development as a failed business model.

    Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this endevour. Your support has meant a lot to me.

    • NimbleBit Numbers

      June 2, 2009

      Introduction
      Media coverage about iPhone development seems to be a bit bipolar. There is no shortage of stories covering the few big iPhone success stories - #1 apps that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for their developers. Lately there have also been a number of refreshing articles reminding everyone that the vast majority of iPhone developers don’t make enough to cover their costs. So who’s in the middle?

      From the beginning, my goal (shared by NimbleBit as a whole) has been to earn enough to keep making fantastic games - not to get rich quick. It became apparent from the start that betting all your chips on a single game or app was a risky (increasingly so) strategy. Luckily casual games are a perfect fit for the iPhone, and I’ve been able to develop a polished casual game every month or so (sometimes with Dave’s help). While we have been fortunate with the success of Scoops (which never made it into the Top 25 Paid Apps) we still think building an entire family of quality games has many advantages. By using cross promotion you can build a brand name and build up a larger fan base. Success of individual games can also be shared by all to a certain extent. You can bring in fans of a particular title who have the potential to grow into cheerleaders for all of the rest of your games. This is certainly NOT an argument for pumping out shovelware. We try to make sure that every one of our games (6 so far) stand on their own and don’t consider them just more lottery tickets.

      We’ve decided to release NimbleBit’s sales numbers as proof that it isn’t only rags or riches for small independent developers on the App Store. Hopefully it will give some hope to talented iPhone indies still struggling or waiting to take the plunge into iPhone development. It is my opinion that dedicated developers can survive on the App Store with minimal luck given the right approach and enough hard work.

      The Numbers
      We’ll start with a raw breakdown of each game. The “sales” numbers are total downloads of a game both free (during promotions) and paid. Most large figures are rounded to digestible whole amounts. The development time listed is a rough estimate and does not include time spent marketing, providing customer service, or developing updates. All revenue figures are after Apple’s cut, but before Uncle Sam’s. All figures are as of June 1st 2009.

      Hanoi Plus
      Hanoi Plus
      Developers: 1
      Development time: 3 weeks
      Age: 10 months
      Sales: 26,000
      Rev. (to date): $13,500
      Rev. (last month): $380


      Scoops
      Scoops
      Developers: 1
      Development time: 1 month
      Age: 8 months
      Sales: 170,000
      Rev. (to date): $140,000
      Rev. (last month): $19,000


      Textropolis
      Textropolis
      Developers: 1
      Development time: 1 month
      Age: 4.5 months
      Sales: 14,000
      Rev. (to date): $18,500
      Rev. (last month): $1,400


      Kyper
      Kyper
      Developers: 2
      Development time: 1 month
      Age: 2 months
      Sales: 14,000
      Rev. (to date): $880
      Rev. (last month): N/A (now free)


      Sky Burger
      Sky Burger
      Developers: 2
      Development time: 2 months
      Age: 1.5 months
      Sales: 56,500
      Rev. (to date): $17,000
      Rev. (last month): $11,400



      Graphs
      The resolution for some of these graphs gets pretty low in the earlier months, this is because I don’t have saved daily reports going back that far. Sharp dips are usually the result of setting a game to free for a short period.

      App Revenue

      App Revenue

      We started tracking game launches with a news ticker in Sky Burger, in the last month it has been integrated into each of our games. Unfortunately we don’t currently differentiate which game the news ticker is being loaded from. We use the unobtrusive news ticker (usually on the main menu) to provide links to promotions we’re running, new games that have just launched, or just a friendly little message. You can see a large spike during our last Freebie Friday promotion.

      NimbleBit game plays per day

      NimbleBit game plays per day

      Into each game we’ve also integrated a “NimbleStore” which allows players to browse all our games in a custom styled “App Store” launched in game (no kicking the player out to Safari). We track visitors to the NimbleStore using Google Analytics. You can see the same spike for the last Freebie Friday. Unfortunately we don’t currently track how many visitors follow links from the NimbleStore to the real App Store.

      NimbleStore visitors per day

      NimbleStore visitors per day


      NimbleStore front page

      NimbleStore front page


      NimbleStore game detail page

      NimbleStore game detail page

      Conclusion
      While we’ve had our moderate successes and failures alike, we still don’t have all the answers when it comes the the ever-evolving App Store. I’m certainly glad we kept going after our first game didn’t top the charts. Looking forward, the best advice we can give is to be passionate about what you’re creating, get involved in the iPhone community, and keep trying new things until you find something that works.

    • May Dev Of The Month: Noel Llopis (Snappy Touch)

      June 1, 2009

      All of our developers of the month thus far have been inclined with iPhone gaming. For this month, we chose to look across the pond to apps and ONE app stood out… Noel Llopis’/Snappy Touch’s Flower Garden!

      maydev

      Flower Garden is definitely one of those show off iPhone apps, but the app goes above and beyond that. The overall execution and thought process into creating the app is so obvious with its final product, check out our full review here. Flower Garden feels based on the fact of simple fun and enjoyment. You get to flower plants, cut them, arrange them into boquets and send them to different people!

      Anyway, enough chatter, let’s dig some dirt behind Flower Garden’s idea and execution.

      Why Flower Garden?

      If you ask us, the obvious first game for new iPhone developers is a simple match 3 game. However, Noel isn’t exactly a newbie when it comes to game development. He has done a lot of writing in various gaming shapes and form particularly “a monthly column in Game Developer Magazine, several chapters for the Game Programming Gems series, or the book I wrote a few years ago, C++ For Game Programmers.” But why would a ten year professional developer/author foray into iPhone game development and make some app focusing on growing flowers?

      Noel said he knew for a fact he wanted to stay away from a project with lots of art requirements and assets… or violent games.

      I knew I wanted to get away from violent games. I don’t really have a problem playing them (I enjoy a good FPS every so often), but after many years of making games based around violence in some form or another, I wanted to do something that was based around creating or caring for something.

      maydev_pot1 maydev_pot2

      And there stems Flower Garden’s biggest assets… the feeling of accomplishment and sharing this to other people. Some flower takes 24 hours to grow with some of the better looking flowers taking days to fully grow. That feeling of being able to share something you cautiously watered every single day and multiple times each day to the people you love is really something else.

      I wanted to make sure I had a solid idea. I wanted something that would make it stand out from the crowd. I didn’t want people to play my game, have fun with it, and put it back in their pocket without anyone knowing about it. I wanted something that could be shared with other people.

      Development and Submission

      Now that Noel has settled on an idea to carefully grow, let’s find out what it took to turn it into something more concrete. If you either have the app or have seen any video/images, you’ll know a LOT of work has been put into it. Not so surprisingly, development started October of last year. Instead of diving right away into iPhone coding, Noel decided he needed to finalize “flower morphology” first.

      The first three or four weeks were totally dedicated to learning about flower morphology (checked out every book I could from the library) and developing a prototype on the PC to answer the question “Can I create compelling procedural flowers that grow and react to the touch?” At the end of that time, things were looking good, so I “green lit” my project and jumped into full production.

      After that, it was all about getting a Mac (Noel says he’s “Linux (by choice) and Windows (by force) user” LOL) and getting an iPod Touch. Little changed in the flower-growing *technology* from the prototype, but everything else is totally new. The PC prototype was really a barebones flower-growing app. Overall, the app took six months in development with the first version submitted to the AppStore early April. So you think that’s long? So does Noel!

      That’s longer than the App Store had been around at that point. If I learned anything, it’s that I need to make shorter apps and plan on working on updates if they’re successful. Banking all that amount of time and effort on the App Store roulette is pretty crazy.

      Don’t worry Noel, everything sure paid off!

      Marketing

      Noel did realize one of the MOST missed things a friggin developer HAS to know: marketing!

      One thing I was fully aware going into it was the importance of PR and marketing after the submission, but I think that even so, I underestimated the amount of effort and time that needed to go into it. Shooting a good gameplay video, creating a press release, media press kit, contacting review sites, sending out promo codes… That’s more work than coding the app! :-)

      Hallelujah! We can’t say we’re surprised that Noel knew this going in (being involved with gaming in the past). We just thought we put it out there: MARKETING IS AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR GAME.

      Noel goes even further by implementing some magic online server download thinggy that lets him create new flowers WITHOUT having to submit new updates. He asked review sites if they want their own special flowers, he builds the flowers complete with the site logo, he gives you the code and VOILAH! a new flower totally unique to that review site. Who does this? Seriously! It’s just an amazing marketing scheme/app framework setup.

      Flower Garden: The Next Generation

      From the first time we’ve seen the app, it has seen numerous updates. Actually, the updates have been almost weekly and has delivered SIGNIFICANT updates that match that of March Dev of The Month’s Pocket God’s updates. Noel has successfully added background music, flower pot labellings, AND ability to save MULTIPLE unlock codes at once (our unlock code: theappera).

      There’s also been a lot of server work that had to be done to make delivery of bouquets more reliable and avoid having them marked as spam.

      maydev_label1 maydev_label2

      With the Facebook craze creeping up on iPhone gaming: “The big one cooking right now is Facebook and Twitter integration. You’ll be able to send flowers directly to the wall of your Facebook friends.” Noel also plans ahead and figuring which iPhone OS 3.0 features to implement (WWDC is next week, iPhone 3.0 is looming):

      In app email and purchases of downloadable content (maybe a package with a bunch of tropical seeds). Also, not far in the horizon, is a lite version of Flower Garden.

      CONGRATULATIONS DUDE

      Well there really is nothing more to say than congratulations on a well deserved feat! By the way, prepare for some almost weekly updates. This dude is one serious developer and continues to add content to the app.

      From the overall idea execution to his unique marketing style and to being an well rounded person and developer: Noel… congratulations, thanks and we expect more quality apps from you!

      • MITCHELL WAITE could think of only one reason that Apple’s legal department would leave a voice message last February asking him to call back: he was about to be sued. Mr. Waite has a tiny software company bearing his name — it has no full-time employees — whose principal product is a field guide to birds called iBird Explorer, which runs on the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

        Skip to next paragraph
        Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

        Mitchell Waite plays sounds from his iBird application for the iPhone to attract birds to feeders in his yard.

        Apple featured the app in a TV ad.

        He called back and discovered that his life was about to change no less than if the lottery authority had told him he’d won the big prize: Apple had decided to feature iBird in a television commercial.

        IBird was one of three applications that appeared in the spot, and while it got only about seven seconds, that was all it needed to become the No. 1 “reference” app in the iPhone App Store, a software star among the 35,000-plus applications now crowding the store’s shelf. The iBird Explorer is offered in different versions, priced from $4.99 to $29.99.

        “I look at it like Apple paid me $10 million to show my application on every single major network, every major television show — no, I can’t even put a figure on it,” Mr. Waite said.

        It’s a delightful story, not only because it does not involve a lawsuit, but also because it does not involve promotion fees. Apple does not accept money from companies whose products are placed in its commercials or in the other prime real estate, the “Featured” section of the App Store.

        This has earned Apple applause from software developers and backers. “Apple doesn’t want the money. It’s a level playing field,” said Matt Murphy, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. If Apple likes the app, he added, “it doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person or a 10,000-person company; they’ll put it in ‘New’ or ‘What’s Hot.’ ”

    • <h1>6 Months of iPhone App Sales Stats, Cause and Effect.</h1> <div> <p>Posted by <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/author/markj/" title="Posts by markj">markj</a> on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 · <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/iphone-hit-tennis-sales-stats-marketing/#comments">3 Comments</a> </p> </div> <p>My <a rel="nofollow" href="http://bit.ly/ykiHk">iPhone game Hit Tennis</a> is a simple iPhone tennis game, but with really fun engageing gameplay I designed specifically for playing tennis with the touch screen. You swing your finger across the screen to hit the ball, controlling strength and direction, so you get the feeling of real rallies as you play. The game has been out for 6 months, durring which I’ve been working on the consulting side of my business, but I’m planning Hit Tennis 2 (as an upgrade) with much deeper gameplay. I’m sharing six months of sales figures from this app in order to demonstrate effect on sales of various events, some under my control and some not. Here’s that 6 months of sales:</p><p><img alt="rev6m.psd" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Frev6m.jpg&amp;dhm=ea44fdb" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:122px"></p><p><b>Launch</b></p><p><b><span style="font-weight:normal">I launched in November 08 in a real hurry. Consequently I had a bunch of bugs which manifested as a lousy umpire who annoyed my players, so I had to do several quick updates. The reason for rushing was that I’d been developing Hit Tennis during a lull while Apple spent 101 days approving my app <a rel="nofollow" href="http://bit.ly/129DiD">Smart Caller</a>, which made me fearful of long waits for approval and I wanted Hit Tennis to be on sale in time for Christmas. My launch strategy was a simple online press campaign by emailing review sites with a YouTube demo vid, and starting off as a free app to ensure lots downloads. I quickly got small news stories and reviews on some good gaming and iPhone sites, and the first 2 days saw about 70,000 free downloads. On day 3 I switched to my planned price of $1.99. Why not 99c? I’d put a lot of effort into the basic gameplay, and I think I was too proud to price the same as all the 99c toy apps.</span></b></p><p><b>Christmas and TV Ad</b></p><p><b><span style="font-weight:normal">Christmas saw a huge sales spike 4x over normal and welcome extra revenue, and then through January sales came back down to pre Christmas levels. January through April I worked on other projects and did no promotion of Hit Tennis, but I got a little lucky. A competing Tennis app Touchsports Tennis was shown for a few seconds in Apple’s TV ad for the iPod touch in February. It got people looking for Tennis in the App Store, and as my basic SEO was OK of course they found my app and I got increased sales. I was not tracking app store rankings at the time, but this sales spike probably lifted my rank in the sports games category, leading to ongoing sales in March.</span></b></p><p><b>March Sales Decline</b></p><p>March saw no promotion or updates from me, and no external events. I took the sales data for March and plotted it with a linear trend line to describe the decline in easy to understand terms:</p><p><img alt="marchUnits.png" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Fmarchunits.png&amp;dhm=e2499c9a" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:144px"></p><p>The trend line has a gradient of -0.5, meaning that on average, every two days sales went down by 1 unit. Just using that trend line to ‘predict’ sales (by calculating the area under the line) we get 1021 units, which for a $1.99 app predicts $1,422 in revenue (after Apple’s 30%, and not accounting for currency differences). In fact my March financial report gave my earnings as $1,364. The point here though is that if sales keep declining by 1 unit every 2 days, then by now (May) Hit Tennis wouldn’t be selling much at all.</p><p><b>Tracking App Store Rank</b></p><p>I’d occasionally take a peak at Hit Tennis’ rank in the app store by using the Mobclix’s website, but in April I started using MajicRank to check my stats. (<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/sales-stats-tools-for-iphone-apps/">Check out my posting about these and other sales stats tools</a>). To begin with I’d misunderstood what MajicRank does, and I wasn’t sure it was reporting my rankings correctly because the numbers didn’t match Mobclix’s. However I finally figured out that Mobclix and MajicRank report on different ranking lists, they are both right, but MajicRank’s number are more important than Mobclix’s now that the App Store ranks paid and free apps in separate lists. (All the different ranking lists are explained in my posting <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/app-store-top-100-ranking/">Understanding App Store Top 100s</a>.) MajicRank showed that Hit Tennis was present in the sports games top 100 paid list in most countries, and in a few countries it was in the top 10. (I’m very happy to be ranked well in Croatia, but it only takes a couple of sales a week!) Finding out that Hit Tennis was not completely buried inspired me to see what I could do to increase sales, short of the big update I have planned for later.</p><p><b>Cut Price to 99c</b></p><p>On April 21st I cut the price from $1.99 to 99c. I did not publicize the price change as I wanted to see the elasticity of demand among app shoppers who happened across Hit Tennis by whatever means customers had been finding the app for the previous weeks. As you can see below in the graph of unit sales for March, sales climbed steadily for a few days. The increase in volume did offset the lower price, and as you can see in the revenue graph, revenue (at that time) held and then grew also. Due to the increase in volume my rankings went up somewhat. (I’m dumb for not recording them. MajicRank now records them for me :-)</p><p><img alt="unitsMarchWorld2.png" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Funitsmarchworld2.png&amp;dhm=873bf3dc" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:122px"></p><p><img alt="revMarchWorld2.png" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Frevmarchworld2.png&amp;dhm=80a5d370" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:122px"></p><p><b>Version Update and Release Date Trick</b></p><p>Mean time I’d been working on an update. Hit Tennis was my first time programming 3D graphics, so I did everything with simple billboarding 2D textures and alpha masks to create shapes. Pseudo 3D if you will. It worked for the simple game that Hit Tennis is, but several reviews in the app store had said ‘it should be more 3D’, and in fact due to the tennis racket’s 2D existence, it would disappear when you saw it side on. Saving gameplay enhancements for later, for this update I replaced the 2D tennis rackets with real 3D objects. A fun journey which had me learn to buy stock 3D models, edit them with Cheetah 3D (which I highly recommend), and load them into the game using <a rel="nofollow" href="http://iphonedevelopment.blogspot.com/">Jeff LaMarche’s</a> Obj File loader.</p><p>The update came out on the 28th. Apple had just stopped sending out ‘your app is approved’ emails, but I’d noticed that app approvals have been reliably taking 7-8 days so I knew when to expect it. On the 28th I changed the availability date in iTunes Connect to 28th April. This is the ‘release date trick’. It requires careful timing and a bit of luck to make it work, but when it works it gives a sales boost. As I explained in <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/app-store-top-100-ranking/">Understanding App Store Top 100s</a> an app’s release date is important in one place: the default view of a category in iTunes on the desktop. With the release date trick I got Hit Tennis near the top of that page, and it stayed there for a several days. This update almost doubled sales. There were two other effects with the update that may have been factors in the increased sales. The new version triggered several thousand updates per day (see below), proving that I still have a lot of people that play the game. Maybe Apple uses updates in the ranking algorithm and it helped raise my ranking? Secondly, stars are now reported in the app store by version, so the new version gave me a chance to shake off my two and a half stars and start over (I’m now much happier with three stars :-).</p><p><img alt="upgMarchWorld.psd" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Fupgmarchworld.jpg&amp;dhm=aa879a43" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:122px"></p><p><b>Translating App Store Copy to French and Top 100 Paid Games</b></p><p>I’d not localized any of my apps, but Hit Tennis was relatively popular in France and I wanted to see the effect on sales of translating the app store description into French (and I knew a French person who would translate it for me). It could only increase sales right? Right. MajicRank reported the next day that sales had gone up enough to get Hit Tennis ranked not just in the top 100 sports games in France, but Hit Tennis was now placed in the top 100 paid games in France. Pretty lucky! You can see below that this brought a huge boost, and in fact for a couple of days I made more from sales in France than I did in the USA. Revenue in France for the period shown was 7x revenue in France for the previous month.</p><p><img alt="revMarchFrance.psd" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2Frevmarchfrance.jpg&amp;dhm=955f84be" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:122px"></p><p><b>Sales Back in Decline</b></p><p>It’s been a few weeks now since my Hit Tennis update, and sales are back down to ‘normal’. I hope sharing these 6 months of data along with looking at cause and effect on sales is helpful for other app sellers.</p><p>…and just in case you were wondering, here is the geographic breakdown for the 6 months of revenue:</p><p><img alt="200905190226.jpg" src="http://www.google.com/base_media?hl=en&amp;fact=12e&amp;size=3&amp;q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2009%2F05%2F200905190226.jpg&amp;dhm=a81aeca4" style="border:1px dotted rgb(0, 0, 0);margin:4px;width:247px;height:243px"></p><p><span><a rel="nofollow" href="http://slashdot.org/bookmark.pl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fiphone-hit-tennis-sales-stats-marketing%2F&amp;title=6+Months+of+iPhone+App+Sales+Stats%2C+Cause+and+Effect." title="Slashdot It!"><img height="16" alt="[Slashdot]" width="16" src="http://slashdot.org/favicon.ico" style="width:16px;height:16px"></a><a rel="nofollow" href="http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fiphone-hit-tennis-sales-stats-marketing%2F&amp;title=6+Months+of+iPhone+App+Sales+Stats%2C+Cause+and+Effect." title="Digg This Story"><img height="16" alt="[Digg]" width="16" src="http://digg.com/favicon.ico" style="width:16px;height:16px"></a><a rel="nofollow" href="http://del.icio.us/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fiphone-hit-tennis-sales-stats-marketing%2F&amp;title=6+Months+of+iPhone+App+Sales+Stats%2C+Cause+and+Effect." title="Save to del.icio.us"><img height="16" alt="[del.icio.us]" width="16" src="http://images.del.icio.us/static/img/delicious.small.gif" style="width:16px;height:16px"></a><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markj.net%2Fiphone-hit-tennis-sales-stats-marketing%2F&amp;title=6+Months+of+iPhone+App+Sales+Stats%2C+Cause+and+Effect." title="Stumble it!"><img height="16" alt="[StumbleUpon]" width="16" src="http://www.stumbleupon.com/favicon.ico" style="width:16px;height:16px"></a></span> </p><div style="clear:both"> </div> <div> <p>Mark is an <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/iphone-development-consulting/">iPhone Consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area</a></p> <p>Filed under <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.markj.net/category/app-store/" rel="category tag" title="View all posts in App Store &amp; Sales">App Store &amp; Sales</a> · Tagged with </p></div>
    • A while back, TechCrunch covered yet another article complaining about the App Store being more of a Lotto than a marketplace. Setting aside the App Store’s numerous other issues, coverage of iPhone app developers has been divided into two extremes: reassuring yet unlikely success stories, or depressing yet much more likely failure stories.

      The general question in all of these articles is: “Can an average guy become a successful iPhone developer?”. The answer depends on how you define success, and on that topic I can speak from my own experience.

      If, to you, success means making a million bucks overnight you will most likely be unsuccessful. To me, success is defined as the return on my investment (both in time and money) on the project. In my previous article, I mentioned making somewhere around a hundred dollars a day on iLaugh. However, I didn’t mention how much I invested in the project.

      The first version of iLaugh and its subsequent revisions took me very little time to create. I estimate that I invested between ten to twenty hours of my time to create iLaugh 1.0. At my asking rate of $100 per hour, that represents a $1,000 to $2,000 investment. The server running the first iteration of the iLaugh API cost me about $100 per month to maintain.

      If you look at the numbers for iLaugh from previous months, I make over $3,000 monthly (for a total of over $8,000 so far). Thus, I consider it a success.

      Many people, in response to my previous article, said that I too, was one of the lucky ones, albeit on a smaller scale. And while that may be true, considering the low quality of that first iteration of iLaugh, a more carefully crafted app would likely have done better.

      I believe the potential for success is relative to the investment put into anything.

      If you look at the familiar success stories, many of them involve reinvestment and good marketing. For instance, Tapulous hit the jackpot with their Tap Tap games. Being good friends with one of their employees, I know exactly how much work goes into their production.

      Perhaps one of the most talked-about success stories is Trism. Its developer, Steve Demeter, made an insane $250,000 in just two months. What I believe is the key to Steve’s long-term success, is that instead of buying a fancy sports car, he reinvested his money into founding a sustainable business.

      Part of reinvesting, and a facet of development often ignored, are things that a typical developer can’t do. Most importantly: design, copywriting and marketing. These are things that will most likely have to be outsourced. Developers are reluctant to do that, because it’s very costly, but in the end, ignoring it is going to cost them the popularity of their application.

      I view iLaugh 1.x as a catalyst towards bigger and, hopefully, even more successful endeavors.

      In fact, I have already put a big part of my (in comparison to the numbers above, quite mediocre) earnings into the second iteration of iLaugh. I’ve hired a bunch of people much more talented than I am in their respective fields, and iLaugh 2.0 is coming along really nicely. It will be entirely different and nearly incomparable to the first iteration. There are some very cool things coming.

      So, responding to my initial question: “Can an average guy become a successful iPhone developer?”. Yes! An average developer can be successful in the App Store. But it takes hard work, a lot of time, money, and perseverance.

    • A while back, TechCrunch covered yet another article complaining about the App Store being more of a Lotto than a marketplace. Setting aside the App Store’s numerous other issues, coverage of iPhone app developers has been divided into two extremes: reassuring yet unlikely success stories, or depressing yet much more likely failure stories.

      The general question in all of these articles is: “Can an average guy become a successful iPhone developer?”. The answer depends on how you define success, and on that topic I can speak from my own experience.

      If, to you, success means making a million bucks overnight you will most likely be unsuccessful. To me, success is defined as the return on my investment (both in time and money) on the project. In my previous article, I mentioned making somewhere around a hundred dollars a day on iLaugh. However, I didn’t mention how much I invested in the project.

      The first version of iLaugh and its subsequent revisions took me very little time to create. I estimate that I invested between ten to twenty hours of my time to create iLaugh 1.0. At my asking rate of $100 per hour, that represents a $1,000 to $2,000 investment. The server running the first iteration of the iLaugh API cost me about $100 per month to maintain.

      If you look at the numbers for iLaugh from previous months, I make over $3,000 monthly (for a total of over $8,000 so far). Thus, I consider it a success.

      Many people, in response to my previous article, said that I too, was one of the lucky ones, albeit on a smaller scale. And while that may be true, considering the low quality of that first iteration of iLaugh, a more carefully crafted app would likely have done better.

      I believe the potential for success is relative to the investment put into anything.

      If you look at the familiar success stories, many of them involve reinvestment and good marketing. For instance, Tapulous hit the jackpot with their Tap Tap games. Being good friends with one of their employees, I know exactly how much work goes into their production.

      Perhaps one of the most talked-about success stories is Trism. Its developer, Steve Demeter, made an insane $250,000 in just two months. What I believe is the key to Steve’s long-term success, is that instead of buying a fancy sports car, he reinvested his money into founding a sustainable business.

      Part of reinvesting, and a facet of development often ignored, are things that a typical developer can’t do. Most importantly: design, copywriting and marketing. These are things that will most likely have to be outsourced. Developers are reluctant to do that, because it’s very costly, but in the end, ignoring it is going to cost them the popularity of their application.

      I view iLaugh 1.x as a catalyst towards bigger and, hopefully, even more successful endeavors.

      In fact, I have already put a big part of my (in comparison to the numbers above, quite mediocre) earnings into the second iteration of iLaugh. I’ve hired a bunch of people much more talented than I am in their respective fields, and iLaugh 2.0 is coming along really nicely. It will be entirely different and nearly incomparable to the first iteration. There are some very cool things coming.

      So, responding to my initial question: “Can an average guy become a successful iPhone developer?”. Yes! An average developer can be successful in the App Store. But it takes hard work, a lot of time, money, and perseverance.

    • Growing iPhone Development Into A Viable Business

      [NSBlog date:@"8 April 2009"].comments = 48;

      When one hears stories from iPhone developers, they’re either from the lucky ones who made insane amounts of money and laugh all the way to the bank, or rather from disappointed developers who consider their efforts a failure.

      The latter tend to blame the App Store for the failure of their application(s). Granted, the App Store is a harsh market which has both its advantages and its flaws. But, in my humble opinion, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

      The App Store has trends that can be analyzed, and if you’re going to be developing for the iPhone, you need to learn how to adapt. I have learnt this first-hand through experimentation, and have learnt many valuable lessons along the way.

      Last September, while working on a much bigger iPhone game, I thought it would be cool to create a quick one-trick application for viewing jokes. I never envisioned that iLaugh would become my most lucrative app that would keep me going while I develop the aforementioned game.

      The Y-Axis shows daily revenue in US dollars.

      Let’s leave the end of the graph (Feb-Apr) aside for a minute, we’ll get back to it.

      You can see the initial release spikes, typical of the App Store, and then a very depressing downwards trend right after release. For the second release, 1.1, I upped the price from $0.99 to $1.99. Which slightly lowered the initial spike revenue. But at that stage, I had a much more mature app which unfortunately, due to lack of effective marketing stagnated at a sub-$20 daily revenue.

      But in February, I made pretty much the best decision I have ever made. That, of course, was to release a Lite version. I initially thought it would be a nearly cost-free way to get some free advertising for the premium version. The main reason I put ads inside the Lite version was actually not to create revenue, but rather to give users a reason to upgrade. But, other than that, the Lite version was an identical, fully functional copy of the premium version.

      As you can see, it did a pretty decent job of advertising the premium version. Since the mid-Feb release of iLaugh Lite, daily revenue for iLaugh has been much higher than it previously was.

      Fortunately, iLaugh Lite became quite popular on the iTunes App Store, and while never entering the global top 100, it has charted as high as #29 on the Entertainment chart, and has been in the top 40 entertainment apps nearly since its release.

      While this did have some unexpected consequences, like bringing my entire server down due to excessive traffic which brought the iLaugh service down and forced me to upgrade to a better server, the benefits were pretty clear.

      This graph shows daily iLaugh Lite downloads.

      This equates to about 100,000 monthly downloads.

      Here’s a graph that shows the web-service traffic this generates (since each joke is fetched from my server, this gives me a pretty good overview of the actual usage of the app). Unfortunately, I only started using this particular analytics package on March 2nd, so that’s when the graph starts.

      To date, iLaugh has served over 6 million jokes, and it’s going at about one million per week.

      So far I left out one pretty important thing: ad revenue. But one always leaves the best for last, right? So here goes:

      As the installed user-base for iLaugh Lite grows, so does daily ad revenue. Currently, I’m seeing pretty good numbers. I have around 6 million monthly ad impressions, and as you can see in the above graph, I’m seeing around $100 daily ad revenue.

      While these aren’t mind-shattering numbers, I think they give a pretty good overview of what one can achieve as an average developer for the iPhone platform.

    • Growing iPhone Development Into A Viable Business

      [NSBlog date:@"8 April 2009"].comments = 48;

      When one hears stories from iPhone developers, they’re either from the lucky ones who made insane amounts of money and laugh all the way to the bank, or rather from disappointed developers who consider their efforts a failure.

      The latter tend to blame the App Store for the failure of their application(s). Granted, the App Store is a harsh market which has both its advantages and its flaws. But, in my humble opinion, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

      The App Store has trends that can be analyzed, and if you’re going to be developing for the iPhone, you need to learn how to adapt. I have learnt this first-hand through experimentation, and have learnt many valuable lessons along the way.

      Last September, while working on a much bigger iPhone game, I thought it would be cool to create a quick one-trick application for viewing jokes. I never envisioned that iLaugh would become my most lucrative app that would keep me going while I develop the aforementioned game.

      The Y-Axis shows daily revenue in US dollars.

      Let’s leave the end of the graph (Feb-Apr) aside for a minute, we’ll get back to it.

      You can see the initial release spikes, typical of the App Store, and then a very depressing downwards trend right after release. For the second release, 1.1, I upped the price from $0.99 to $1.99. Which slightly lowered the initial spike revenue. But at that stage, I had a much more mature app which unfortunately, due to lack of effective marketing stagnated at a sub-$20 daily revenue.

      But in February, I made pretty much the best decision I have ever made. That, of course, was to release a Lite version. I initially thought it would be a nearly cost-free way to get some free advertising for the premium version. The main reason I put ads inside the Lite version was actually not to create revenue, but rather to give users a reason to upgrade. But, other than that, the Lite version was an identical, fully functional copy of the premium version.

      As you can see, it did a pretty decent job of advertising the premium version. Since the mid-Feb release of iLaugh Lite, daily revenue for iLaugh has been much higher than it previously was.

      Fortunately, iLaugh Lite became quite popular on the iTunes App Store, and while never entering the global top 100, it has charted as high as #29 on the Entertainment chart, and has been in the top 40 entertainment apps nearly since its release.

      While this did have some unexpected consequences, like bringing my entire server down due to excessive traffic which brought the iLaugh service down and forced me to upgrade to a better server, the benefits were pretty clear.

      This graph shows daily iLaugh Lite downloads.

      This equates to about 100,000 monthly downloads.

      Here’s a graph that shows the web-service traffic this generates (since each joke is fetched from my server, this gives me a pretty good overview of the actual usage of the app). Unfortunately, I only started using this particular analytics package on March 2nd, so that’s when the graph starts.

      To date, iLaugh has served over 6 million jokes, and it’s going at about one million per week.

      So far I left out one pretty important thing: ad revenue. But one always leaves the best for last, right? So here goes:

      As the installed user-base for iLaugh Lite grows, so does daily ad revenue. Currently, I’m seeing pretty good numbers. I have around 6 million monthly ad impressions, and as you can see in the above graph, I’m seeing around $100 daily ad revenue.

      While these aren’t mind-shattering numbers, I think they give a pretty good overview of what one can achieve as an average developer for the iPhone platform.

    • New Yorker iPhone Cover Boosts Sales for Brushes App

      By Jenna Wortham

      Artist Jorge Colombo may have drawn the dreamy, nocturnal cityscape of Manhattan on the June 1 cover, using his iPhone, but a software engineer named Steve Sprang built Brushes, the iPhone application that transformed Mr. Columbo’s swipes into digital strokes.

      The novelty and popularity of the cover has provided a healthy boost in sales for the 32-year-old who works shifts in a coffee shop when he’s not developing applications for the iPhone and Mac.

      On Monday, Mr. Sprang said the application had its highest selling day since it was first released into Apple’s App Store in August, with 2,700 copies at $4.99 apiece flying off the virtual shelves.

      “That’s even bigger than when Apple featured the application on iTunes,” said Mr. Sprang, who estimated that on average the application sells roughly 60 to70 copies each day.

      To date, the application has sold around 40,000 copies, he said.

      The flurry of attention and sales was something of a surprise to Mr. Sprang, who said he first learned Mr. Colombo’s illustration would appear on the upcoming cover of the weekly magazine when he received a call from a newspaper interested in interviewing him about it.

      “Now, it’s everywhere,” he said.

      Before trying his hand at building iPhone applications, Mr. Sprang worked at Apple for seven years as a software engineer, developing presentation software such as Keynote.

      Last March, he decided he was ready for a different challenge. “I wanted to strike on my own,” he said. “The iPhone presented a good opportunity.”

      Always a fan of graphic design and early drawing programs for Mac computers such as MacArt, he decided to create a digital palette for artists.

      “A painting app for the iPhone seemed natural thing given the phone,” he said. “It’s very tactile and touching.”

      iLotto stories have fueled the exodus of some developers eager to try their hand on the platform. But in March 2008 when Mr. Sprang quit his job, Apple had just released the software developer’s kit to third-party developers. “There wasn’t really an iPhone developer community at that point,” he said. “No one knew what it was going to be like.”

      And although he has yet to rake in the six-figure sums that some developers have accumulated from their creations, Mr. Sprang says he’s thrilled to see an artistic community flourishing around his application.

      “Some developers are able to make hundreds of thousands dollars doing this,” he said. “I’m not at their level. But I am able to make a living and support myself doing this, which is what I wanted to do.”

    • Exibido em: 17/05/09

      Ganhando dinheiro na AppStore

      Número de desenvolvedores de aplicativos vem crescendo, e você também pode fazer parte do time

      Qualquer interessado em tecnologia pode desenvolver umaplicativo para iPhone e disponibilizar na AppStore. Até um garoto americano de9 anos criou um desses aplicativos. Confira nesta matéria como fazer o seupróprio material e disponibilizar para download na loja virtual da Apple. Se você querganhar uma grana e leva jeito com tecnologia, vale a pena se arriscar nessemundo, uma vez que a Apple repassa 70% do valor de cada download para osdesenvolvedores.

      Clique AQUI para baixar as ferramentas disponibilizadasgratuitamente pela Apple para você desenvolver seu próprio aplicativo.

      • Fabio de Miranda
        Fabio de Miranda on 2009-06-03

         A matéria original no site tem um vídeo do o pessoal da ChromaTick (que fez o Pikt Poker)<br />

      Add Sticky Note
    • For The Sake Of All That Is Good, Ignore The App Store Gold Rush

      May 21st, 2009 by Ian Hamilton

      contactSometimes hard work and dedication still doesn’t lead to riches, in fact for some people it can lead to financial failure, especially when it comes to making it in the the App Store. The story of financial failure is more common than you would expect. One developer, Monte Benaresh, creator of ContactGo, knows this better than anyone, but his story is one that is shared by thousands of struggling developers.

      In the 15 years since people began to find their way around the “information superhighway” en masse, billions upon billions of dollars have been made and lost on the Internet.

      Thousands of startups have come and gone simply with the hope that they can make it rich in the App Store. As a result, countless people have lost their life savings, and a select few have made ridiculous fortunes.

      Many companies continue to struggle trying to find a way to transform the power of the Internet and turn it into a reliable profit. The gold rush mentality didn’t start with the invent of the App Store, in fact it has been driven for years by the great success of companies like Ebay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Craigslist and so many others.

      It was only a little less than a year ago when Apple opened the App Store and bore a new gold rush. A gateway of developer hopefuls with new app ideas began to flood in. The ability to download an application that can do more for you than any computer ever could simply because it is on a device which goes with you everywhere, opened a door that was unforeseen.

      Suddenly huge numbers of developers that saw the potential for making money in the App Store started to get to work, and Monte Benaresh is one such developer.

      Benaresh spent around six months developing ContactGo, a simple but elegant app, which allows you to send contact information from your address book in an e-mail. It might not sound like much, but it’s one of those great little utilities that fills a hole left by Apple.

      The road for the app from brainchild to the App Store was a bumpy one. In short, coding was a nightmare because he had to reverse engineer the way the iPhone’s address book works. When it came time to submit, the names ContactShare and ContactMail were already taken despite no apps by those names being listed in the store. Then the app was rejected, twice. First, because it used Apple’s contacts app in the icon and second because Benaresh used the “Send” button provided by the SDK for a purpose other than the specific one Apple says it’s for. When the app was finally accepted it was labeled with a release date two weeks earlier than its actual release date, which means it may have missed some new app lists. In addition, if you do a search for “contact” or “email contact” the app doesn’t come up on the first page of results. Sales of ContactGo have also been dismal.

      So it’s no surprise that a useful app like ContactGo is only pulling down between 1 and 6 downloads per day, according to Benaresh. ”Far below my most pessimistic predictions,” he said.

      For Benaresh, ContactGo has been a learning experience but a financial failure.

      LIke most developers Benaresh had what he thought were realistic expectations:

      …I figured, with 15 million users as of the start of 2009, and about 20M now, if just 0.1% of users would get my wonderful little app, I would make $28,000. If I could get a full 1% penetration, $280,000! After that I could crank out all kinds of apps, which would be easy after getting over the hurdles of ContactShare, and in time start bringing in real money.

      Benaresh’s story, like so many others, goes completely unnoticed. Instead, the mainstream media picks up on the gold rush stories, like this one from the New York Times.
      ishoot
      The article profiles the developers behind iShoot, one of the best selling games on the iPhone. By paragraph 13 you get to the inevitable “I made so much money I quit my job” quote.

      What I find interesting is the similarity in thinking between Ethan Nicholas, developer of iShoot, and Mr. Benaresh. Nicholas had heard the developer of Trism made $250,000 and figured, “if I could even make a fraction of that, we’d be able to make ends meet,” he told the NY TImes.

      Both developers hoped for a fraction of true success just to make ends meet and both used almost the exact same figure to represent their wildest dreams. Nicholas succeeded and Benaresh failed.

      It is easy to try to point the blame at Apple in such a situation. As we report on and review iPhone apps we hear about how Apple has crippled many developers in the approval process. Heck, we’ve even had trouble with Apple.

      While the App Store is safer for the end user because Apple theoretically weeds out phishing and spam apps, it is also harder on the developer. Not only does every developer have to deal with an intensely competitive market but also with Apple’s software restrictions and their subjective and flawed approval process.

      However, the true problem here is not Apple. As corny as it might sound, the issue is the American Dream and it’s as old as America itself.

      In America, the mentality goes, a good idea will be rewarded. All you have to do is work hard and you’ll get paid. This line of thinking is even more prevalent in a recession or depression. Fantastic stories of overnight millionaires begin to fill the newspapers, air waves and now the Internet as millions of people flounder, lose their homes and their jobs.

      People latch onto these stories because they provide hope. We envision ourselves as the millionaires and all we have to do to become one is have a good idea and work hard at it.

      But, the truth is so much more depressing. Hard work goes unnoticed far more than it is appreciated. This reality is no different in the App Store. Benaresh is just one of many.

      So as the App Store and its look-alikes in Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile continue to gain an ever widening user base, I suggest a history lesson in the gold rushes of the past.

      Many fail, few succeed and hard work doesn’t always pay off.

    • by Robin Wauters on May 20, 2009

      Distimo, a young Dutch company that is entering the slowly but surely saturating market of mobile application distribution and monitoring services, has just released an interesting report about Apple’s App Store. It contains some noteworthy findings about iPhone app pricing and the significant influence prices have on ranking.

      Eventually, Distimo aims to release market-wide data on all application stores (Android, Blackberry, etc.) on a monthly basis, free of charge for broad reports on the U.S. and as a paid service for people who would like to get some insight into what’s happening in other countries or specific verticals. They’re starting with the grand daddy of all app stores, Apple’s, and deliver some interesting findings in a first report based on publicly available data for the month of April, 2009, which you can download here.

      We got a first look at it, and the key findings we took away from the report are the following:

      1) iPhone app prices are dropping

      Data for only one month may be insufficient to make any final conclusions, but Distimo has been comparing the pricing for the 100 most popular iPhone apps for a while and found prices are clearly going down. The startup expects that trend to continue in the near future, too. As for the numbers: in April, the total combined price of all apps in the Top 100 decreased from $265 to $244, or down 7.9%. The biggest driver for the average price drop was the increase of $0.99 apps, with 53 carrying that price at the end of the month compared to only 42 on April 1.

      2) Entertainment and Communication apps are most popular

      No real surprise there, although I still think the iPhone is an excellent device for business purposes too. What I thought was noteworthy was that the rankings for the top 100 applications, both free and paid, change every single day, which means it’s an extremely volatile marketplace. The categories Games, Social Networking and Entertainment were most popular in the free app section, with three, two, and two apps in the top 10 list, respectively. For the paid section, games were even more popular with 5 out of 10 apps in the Top 10 for that category.

      Top 5 free apps: Skype, Facebook, iFighter Lite, Pandora Radio, iHandy Level Free
      Top 5 paid apps: Flight Control, Pocket God, ParkingLot, Flick Fishing, MLB.com At Bat 2009

      3) Paid apps maintain higher ranking longer

      Distimo found it was hard for both free and paid apps to maintain a high ranking, but paid apps seemed to be more able to do so than free applications. The most popular paid app (Flight Control) maintained the number one ranking 22 days in a row, while the most popular free app (Skype) was only able to maintain the number one ranking 7 days in a row.

      4) Nearly a quarter of all apps got updated during the month of April

      From all the free and paid apps that have been in the Top 100 in April, 83 apps released an update during the same month. That represents 24% of all apps that were in the Top 100.

      5) lower price = higher ranking (and vice versa)

      Distimo analyzed the rankings and prices of the three most popular apps with price changes over time, giving insight into the price elasticity. The first app that was looked at was Zombieville USA (first graph). From the 1st of April, its rank decreased steadily, from No. 4 on April 1st to No. 8 on April 11th. On April 12th, the price of the app was lowered, from $1.99 to $0.99. This had an instant effect on the ranking; it increased from No 10 on April 12th to No. 5 on April 14th. The graph of Fieldrunners (second graph) shows a similar effect.

      Similar story for the Bowman app (third graph). The price of this app was raised, from $0.99 to $1.99 on April 22nd. The app lost its No. 5 ranking instantly, decreasing to ranking No. 49 in the Top 100 on the 30th of April.

        • App Sales Coorelation Between Demo and Paid Versions

          Posted: Sun, 10 May 2009 21:42:06 +0000

          David Frampton from Majic Jungle Software has shared an interesting graph that shows how sales of his game Chopper (iTunes Link) have been increased by the release of a free version, Chopper Lite (iTunes Link).

          It’s an interesting move. Chopper has been around for a while, it was first released in early September, 2008. Chopper has also spent quite a bit of time in the top 100 lists. It had even peaked at number 2 in all paid apps in the US, and spent 9 days as the number 2 paid game during the Christmas/New Year time frame. A great time to be on the top lists with all of the new devices and people with gift cards to spend.

          But, that was months ago. Sales, while never disappearing, had started to fall from their peak. So David decided to release a free demo version, Chopper Lite. A smart move if the example of some other games are any example. iShoot rode to number one on the games and all paid apps lists in the US, many believe, due to it’s demo version. Similarly, Fast Lane Racing also saw a boost in sales once they released a free version of their app.

          So, with that, releasing a demo version seems to make sense. It requires a minimal investment. You do risk the chance of diluting the sales of your app. But if a demo version of the app is done properly, it’s a kind of taste for the app and just whets the appetite of the customer for the main version. Deciding how much to put in your demo version is a tough topic, and one we’ll have to discuss at another time.

          The graph below shows a month of sales for both versions of Chopper starting out on the date the free version, Chopper Lite (yellow line) was released. At the time of release, you can see that the paid version of Chopper (green line) was selling around 300 copies / day and increased to a peak of just over 800/day during this month.

          greaphnew

          The graph shows that the release of the demo version had an immediate impact on the paid version, easily doubling sales in less than a week. The interesting thing is the direct correlation of the free version downloads to the paid version download. When one does better, so does the other. The spikes, mainly come on weekends. Which is interesting as I would have assumed that most of the sales would come during the week. That all, of course, depends on your demographic and who is actually buying the app.

          Also notice how the paid version sales slowly come down after a peak in the free version downloads. “Whenever I download a lite version it usually takes weeks before I then buy the full version. I’d say that is exactly what is going on here, the lite version is having a more long term effect, despite having peaked in downloads some time ago.”, theorized David on this trend. A theory that seems sound. It could also have to do with how long it takes a user to complete everything they have available to them in the demo version. Once they are done with the demo they will decide if they want to just replay the demo, delete it, or hopefully, purchase the full version.

          David also notes that Chopper and Chopper Lite have been far more popular in Germany than any other country.

          This, of course, is just an example. Releasing a demo version will not work for everyone but shows that having a demo version can be beneficial. In this specific case, David released a demo version at just the right time. Both for the sales level of his game, and for the market at the time. Thanks, David, for sharing this info.

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    • Sales Stats Tools for iPhone Apps

      Posted by markj on Friday, April 17, 2009 · 6 Comments

      AppViz charts all your app store sales reports for you, and for a huge time saving it logs in to iTunes Connect for you and downloads them automatically. An added bonus (assuming you can stomach reading them) is that AppViz will download all your app reviews too! AppViz charts new downloads, upgrade downloads, all downloads, and sales revenue. Graphs can be plotted by different date ranges and for different countries, and it converts everything to your own currency. AppViz doesn’t currently support multiple iTunes Connect accounts, but there are work-arounds and the feature will be added soon. I’d like to see it handle the financial reports a bit differently to make it easier to reconcile with payments from Apple. Highly recommended.

      appViz.png

      AppSales Mobile is similar to AppViz, but its for your iPhone! AppSales source code is in Google Code right now, download with SVN and pop it on your phone with a debug build. Great distribution model for us developers! It’s a fantastically designed app, squeezing lots of charts onto the phone without anything ever look squeezed. Charts and reports show daily or weekly sales revenue with drill down by product or country. AppSales does have one big drawback, it is oriented around revenue from paid apps. It will show download number for free apps mixed in with the overall report data, but it doesn’t include downloads in the line graphs, they are revenue only. (Back in the day I used to use AppSales for the mac, but it’s no longer being distributed or updated.)

      My App Sales is another sales stats checker for your iPhone, but unlike AppSales it reports and charts both free and paid apps. Reports are broken down by day and week, with your account totals and app by app too, showing new downloads, update downloads, refunds, and sales revenue for paid apps. From the reports screen you can drill down to see that data country by country. The app will chart your data by sales revenue or downloads by day or week. My App Sales is the work of Oliver Drobnik, and he’s still maintaining and actively marketing the app.

      myAppSales2.png myAppSales1.png

      MajicRank and AppRanking scan iTunes servers and figure out apps ranking in iTunes stores around the world. As well as top 100 free and top 100 paid, the app stores have top 100 free and paid for each app category and game sub category, all of which can be browsed on the app store available on the iPhone and Touch themselves. I was very surprised to learn that Hit Tennis is in the top 100 paid sports games even in many countries including the USA, and its even in the top 100 paid games in a few countries around the world. This is really encouraging, and moves up the next release of Hit Tennis in my priorities. MajicRank is the first of the sales stats tools to record ranking data over time and graph it. Graphing ranking data alongside sales data and your calendar of marketing actions is very powerful for understanding how to tune your marketing plans to make the most from your apps. If you’re not sure about what all the different ranking lists are, read: app store top 100 rankings explained.

      MajicRank

      Mobclix shows app rankings on their site, with graphs. They are charting top 100 popularity free and paid combined, for the USA app store (so their numbers won’t match MajicRank’s numbers). Go Imangi!

      CM Capture 18.png

      AppStore Clerk is a simple utility that parses daily and weekly download reports and shows you the data in an easy to read table, showing new downloads and updates.

      screen 1.png

      Heartbeat is a fully featured subscription website that features everything in all the tools above mixed with crash reporting, analytics, and a whole lot more. When I sell my millionth app I’ll try it :-).

      AppStatz is another online solution to check out, though it’s still in private beta. (thanks @shanev). AppStatz - let me in your beta :-)

      Drop me a line and tell me about the tools you use.

    • Best Books for iPhone Development

      Posted by markj on Thursday, January 15, 2009 · 6 Comments

      Some brilliant iPhone developer books are out now which are great for learning iPhone native app and web development, and handy references for existing Cocoa Touch experts. In this article I review several titles and give you my pick of the best for learning the native SDK and Objective-C programming:

      iPhone in Action

      iPhone in Action has very broad coverage of developing for the iPhone, and it introduces everything you need to know. The first third of the book covers web stuff - both how to revamp your existing website so it works great on both the desktop and iPhone, and also how to create iPhone specific web apps. Topics include design, CSS, iUI (the awesome library to make native looking web apps), graphics with webkit canvas, Dashcode, and debugging tips. The middle third of the book gets you started with native SDK development, starting with an overview of Objective-C and XCode, and then on to lots of good step by step tutorials for learning how to use Interface Builder and the different kinds of view controllers to create your GUI. The final third is an intro to important SDK programming topics including graphics, web interaction, SQLite databases, using the address book, etc. The book is invaluable for beginners because it shows you all the possibilities of both web and SDK and it introduces all the key topics - something no other single title does. Experts will want this title too for the detailed web development topics.

      Beginning iPhone Development - Exploring the iPhone SDK

      This fantastic book is an APress title, I don’t know how they do it but APress has great authors and every APress book I get is a home run. The book explains how to use the Cocoa SDK to write iPhone apps in very clear easy to digest steps. It has a lot more detail and an easier pace than ‘iPhone in Action’. View controllers are the most important part of the SDK to get to grips with, and they are the hardest to figure out. In this title we get 200 delicious pages devoted to them, compared to just 60 in ‘iPhone in Action’. ‘Beginning iPhone Development’ only covers the SDK and Interface Builder, so it has room for some useful SDK topics you won’t find written about elsewhere like UI’s that rotate to landscape mode and localization for different countries. This is the best book for learning native iPhone development.

      Learn Objective-C on the Mac

      Also on APress, this is _the_ book for learning and mastering Objective-C. Great writing, very easy to understand, and excellent as both a tutorial and reference. The authors assume you already know a little C syntax (from C, C++, Java, etc), so this is the key text for switchers. Still not figured out memory management retain counts and auto-release pools? Protocols, categories and inheritance a mystery? It’s all in this book. Recommended for all iPhone developers.

      The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook

      A great collection of recipes for using the SDK in the form ‘how to make my iPhone app do X’ format. These programming nuggets are lying on the page waiting for you to pinch ‘em and drop right into your own apps saving lots of time and giving you some great new ideas. Beginners and experts alike will learn many new tricks, everything is explained with clarity and brevity. For example after just 1 hour with this book I realized that my own app had buggy table views that I was able to easily fix using recipes from the book. Some of the recipes even mention undocumented APIs that allow neat UI details you’ve seen in Apple’s apps but otherwise couldn’t figure out how to do. This book should stay by any iPhone developers side.

    • Can Developers Still Make Money in the iPhone App Store?

      Posted by Simon Khalaf on Fri, Mar 20, 2009

      The App Store's unprecedented success has certainly created "poster-child" success stories like iShoot and Trism (for the record, we love and play the both of those games!). At the same time, Apple recently announced that over 25,000 applications are available in the iPhone App Store and that over 50,000 paid developers are in their SDK program. Given these figures, many wonder if increased competition has created an insurmountable barrier-to-entry for additional success stories.

      First, let's get the definition of "success" out of the way. For some - fame, recognition, or capturing lots of users is success enough. But let's focus on money. We asked: Are most apps we see in the App Store little more than fun distractions during a consumer's busy day, or is there a solid business behind them? Inquiring minds would like to know and we have an answer.

      Based on our data, there still remains a significant opportunity to make solid money with iPhone applications, especially for games. However, like traditional video game, movie and music industries, the iPhone App market is a "hit-driven industry" meaning that total market revenue is concentrated among a few big winners.

      That said, there appears to be more of a middle class in the App Store; that is, more companies bringing in respectable revenues. This is particularly true when comparing revenue distribution across iPhone Apps versus what games and apps earned on traditional carriers like Verizon and Sprint. This is due in large part to the free trial, better navigation, community ratings and superior discovery solved by Apple in their store. What this means for developers is that if they release a title with a strong concept and solid production values - even if it doesn't have a known brand associated with it -- and they market it well, they can have a hit and make money.

      But how much money? What is a hit worth? Well, how does $750,000 in three weeks sound?

      It doesn't yet beat U2's expected revenues from their new album, No Line on the Horizon, but it's getting close.

      To demonstrate this, we studied a puzzle game that was released with both free and paid versions. In this case, both versions made the Top 25, in their respective categories.

      App Store Installs for Game Title, 3 week period

      Within three weeks, the game had over two million installs and generated an estimated $750,000 USD in revenue. Not bad for a puzzle game. However, the bigger puzzle remains, how did that application make that much money while 25,000 others didn't?

      Studying the questions, the answer came down to a matter of basic execution: a great concept, a good user experience, tight marketing and a smart distribution plan. Those factors helped "thrust" the title into the "orbit" of the Top Sellers category. Then the real "booster" of superior merchandising placement kicked in.

      While we know that hits will continue to emerge in the App Store, the space is maturing quickly. To succeed, developers need to think about their total offering and how to market it effectively.

      The good news is that there is money to be made, but it's time to bring your A game. Stay tuned as we share more on this topic, including best practices and tips to succeed.

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