Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Two Years In And 50,000+ Applications Sold!


That was quick!  It still feels like only yesterday I sat down to write a post similar to this one this time last year.

So as the title implies, I have now been tinkering with Android applications for a little over 2 years, and in that time I have managed to convince people that those tinkerings were worth parting with cash for over 50,000 times.  Well, that's from the Android Market alone ... with sales from the Amazon Appstore, AndroidPIT and SlideME, that number is a tad bit higher (although not much higher as the Android Market still contributes by far the most sales).

This time last year I was writing about selling 10,000 applications in my first year, and so to sell over 40,000 in my second year indicates a fairly impressive amount of growth from a developer that just does this in his spare time.  But does that mean I expect it to keep growing at that rate?  The answer is probably not.  I don't do much real analytical research, I just tend to keep an eye on the trends and get a feel for the figures (I hit refresh A LOT), but the general feeling I have been getting over the last few months is that my own applications may very well have peaked in terms of daily download numbers.  Now, that peak seems to have remained very flat for my paid applications, but seems to be tailing off for the free demo applications.  Unpredictable events could of course change that trend at any time (just look what happened to WiFi File Explorer PRO when it took off), but based on my hunch and the pure amount of competition there is now, I get the feeling that sales of my applications will remain flat for a while longer and eventually tail off over the next couple of years.  However, I also have a habit of thinking it's "all about to end" if I see the slightest drop in sales ... around Christmas 2010 there was a sudden jump in sales; so who knows, it might just be the calm before the storm and all the new Ice Cream Sandwich devices that everyone gets in the next few months may take it all to another level again!

But that "tailing off" would kind of suit me.  All my applications are brimming with functionality now, and especially with the recent major updates to WiFi File Explorer and addition of full live streaming from SECuRET LiveStream to SECuRET SpyCam (and BabyCam Monitor to BabyCam Receiver) you could consider them all to be "complete".  Of course a programmer's job is never done though and I still have plenty more tweaks to make here and there, but I can only see new "feature-ettes" coming in updates from now on ... I just can't think of many new major features to add - I've already added them all!  So I like the idea of gradually winding things down; I'll still provide support of course and keep making little updates here and there, but after 2 years of spending nearly all my free time working on Android stuff, it would be nice to start spending more time with my family (which grew by one member since last year) and to enjoy the fruits of my labour.  I'm also fond of the idea that by slowly phasing out having to provide support to so many users, that I will no longer be sat at my computer screen at some ungodly hour having to answer an email from some cretinous little speck giving me abuse because my application "just doesn't work" ... er, yeah, because a 4.5 star application with hundreds of thousands users "just doesn't work", does it!?!?  I shouldn't let it effect me  because it's such a small minority really, but it's tough not to take it personally sometimes.

So, what other Android-based highlights have there been for me over the last year?  Well, having WiFi File Explorer PRO as Free App of the Day on the Amazon Appstore was certainly an experience!  It managed to get over 160,000 downloads in the one day (if only they paid just a few pennies each!) and it maintained it's 4.5 star rating (most applications lose a star or so after going on Free App of the Day as some of the Amazon reviewers are borderline retarded - "1 star - I didn't even want this app, don't know why I downloaded it").  But with lots of new users come lots of new support emails!  I was actually expecting even more emails, but it was still enough to make me think I wouldn't put another of my applications into that promotion.  As I said, it "was certainly an experience", but after getting a few additional sales the day after the promotion, it went back to the normal (disappointing) amount after that.  WiFi File Explorer PRO has been bouncing up and down in the Top 100 Paid Apps on the Amazon Appstore since it launched back in March 2011, so you'd expect it to get some good sales ... well, I'll tell you now that the daily downloads of WiFi File Explorer PRO on the Amazon Appstore tends to be around the number of downloads in just 1 hour on the Android Market!!  I know it hasn't launched anywhere outside the US yet (although it briefly did yesterday for a few hours, weirdly, before being switched off again) and the potential is certainly there for more downloads when Amazon release their Android Kindle Tablet ... but the numbers so far are simply disappointing (everyone only uses it for Free App of the Day anyway, huh?)

There's also a few interesting new opportunities coming up.  GetJar want to add some of my applications into their Free Paid App promotion, where they give away applications for free that would usually cost money on other app stores.  The developer gets a small fee paid to them by GetJar per download ($0.20) and the increase in downloads due the the premium application being free, has the potential to generate a decent amount of additional revenue ... or, it will cannibalise sales on the other app stores, and as GetJar aren't offering any DRM as part of this distribution, it makes pirating applications downloaded from there a whole lot easier!  Now the people I am in negotiations with at GetJar have suggested that this promotion will actually "elimnate piracy" (yep, that's in quotes) and it's that naivety on their behalf that makes me hesitant of entering any agreement with them.  Of course piracy is impossible to tackle anyway, and this promotion has the potential to compliment the revenue from other app stores and maybe even drive additional sales on those app stores ... it's just a risk I have to decide whether to take a punt on - any developers have any thoughts on this?

So that was one very busy, successful and productive year.  Hopefully, after all the hard work I have put in so far, then next one will be just as successful and productive, but not so busy!

Yeah right ... !

4 comments:

  1. The reason you have had such phenomenal with your apps is because they were always so revolutionary, fresh and useful! And above all, they worked seamlessly!

    Things may have quietened down for the time being, but I'm sure you'll come up with some fantastic new idea soon that will kick start it all over again! Much congrats on your successes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Chris!!

    They have more sort of evened out rather than quietened down, but hopefully around Christmas it will see another jump like it did last year :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The greatest thing was the fact that you tapped an area where there were no apps (thinking about WiFi Explorer). Lots of people needed something like that and there was no solution. Heck, I bumped into it on a forum while looking for a fix for a CyanogenMod problem where I couldn`t connect my phone as a mass Storage device. Enter WIFi explorer, that was my fix.

    Anyway, congratulation, keep up the good work and hope to see more great apps from you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "elimnate piracy"

    Nice... though it would be better if they could "eliminate" it instead :)

    ReplyDelete