Interesting Article on Developer Economics.

I found this article to be particularly interesting. Wonder what others think.

http://www.itworld.com/article/2957215/development/how-to-make-money-as-an-independent-developer.html

Is it just me… or did that article spout a ton of non-specific statistics but in the end say nothing?

To sell something (anything)…
You need a product… for developers that would be an “app”…
You need your product to be in some way better (or percieved to be better) than your competitor
You need to be visible (almost impossible for iOS, when you get lost in the other billion apps in the Apple store)
You could spend tons of money of external advertising, but wait we are INDEPENDENT developers, and to be honest, I cannot afford to game thousands of dollars for advertisement for an app that sells from 99c to $10… my App would have to be “freaking awesome”,and have ZERO competition… a bit more difficult unless you are Apple, Microsoft, Adobe etc.

I enjoyed it thanks for sharing.

In my own experience having an app in the app store early on I made a lot of money. Once advertising took over I didn’t see a huge decline. I think advertising works as so many freemium users come online but a healthy dose of users will pay if you solve a niche problem.

Ultimately the same mechanics are at play in the cloud services arena. For instance you can set up a business that does “blogs” but you have so many competitors. If you go more niche you will find people who will pay a premium for a very specific set of functionality. Most of all though customers will pay a premium to work with a company who understands their problem.

So its not like niches lock you in as conventional wisdom. You can have multiple brands and participate in multiple niches. See what sticks like Alphabet, Inc.

[quote=205851:@Richard Gorbutt]I found this article to be particularly interesting. Wonder what others think.

http://www.itworld.com/article/2957215/development/how-to-make-money-as-an-independent-developer.html[/quote]

This confirms my gut impressions. In-App-Adds are not really profitable for half those who do it. 50% less than $500 probably means MUCH less.

To me that is key. Visible is possible through several ways, but essentially, it is through word of mouth, derivative, and advertisement. For desktop apps, I will place MacUpdate and the numerous shareware repositories as word of mouth. Costs close to nothing, except time to place archives there. It has worked for me until now for the kind of niche products I have.

Derivative is also what I call synergetic. You got a popular product, and use its drive to sell a complementary product, or the mobile version. I have not been successful with that so far, but I believe the people who announce their iOS or Android version on their site or through direct mail probably make sales through that.

Advertisement is way over what I can afford. Heck, I even dropped Google Adwords a year ago and my sales did not drop. To be worth it would require piles of money I do not have.

iOS has been dismal for me. No derivative sales from my sites, and absolutely no visibility in the App Store. It is a definite show stopper. Neither iAD or iAP are feasible when an app simply is invisible. I may try listing it in CNet, but I frankly doubt that will make much difference.

Let us face it : iOS is much too mature (close to overripe) for indies, unless one has a killer app that did not exist. It was probably wonderful back in 2008. It must have remained vibrant back in 2010 with 300,000 apps. Today IMO it is way too late with 1,500,000 apps, unless you got some special gimmick to get the app seen. And don’t count of free to make a dent. According to Distimo, already back in 2010, 28% of apps were free. No reason to imagine it has improve, on the contrary.

Another aspect of iOS is the plunge in iPad sales. When it seemed still doable two years ago to port desktop apps to iPad, now it seems only phones and singularly large screen phones like the 6 Plus make the bulk of users.

Strange times for indies…

I am currently working on an app to sell in the Windows Store. At present, they have about 50,000 titles. I believe this is a chance to be seen that no longer the App Stores offer.

"
About 187,000 apps are available in the Windows Store, according to Microsoft, and the Windows Phone Store now has around 340,000 apps. The store passed the 300,000 app milestone in August. These numbers come at something of a turning point for Microsoft in terms of app development.
"
http://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-now-has-over-500000-apps-its-windows-phone-and-windows-stores

[quote=205968:@Alexei Vinidiktov]"
About 187,000 apps are available in the Windows Store, according to Microsoft, and the Windows Phone Store now has around 340,000 apps. The store passed the 300,000 app milestone in August. These numbers come at something of a turning point for Microsoft in terms of app development.
"
http://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-now-has-over-500000-apps-its-windows-phone-and-windows-stores[/quote]

OK. My numbers were outdated. Still, compared to 1,500,000, less than 200,000 looks a lot less cramped.

At the moment, I am not interested in Windows Phone at all.