Why One Cannot Be a One-Trick-Pony in iTunes App Store

There are articles about $800,000 paychecks from a few months of labor on a hit iPhone game or how some developers are quitting their day jobs. There are articles about how iTunes App Store is not a get-rich-quick scheme.  Or how hard it is to get noticed in the 50,000+ applications in the App Store with new apps hitting the virtual shelves every day. The above are all true, but no one seems to be talking about why you cannot just make one hit title and retire to Cayman Islands.

First, you have the half-life of application downloads. You get a bit of buzz on the first days or weeks of release.  You get tens, hundreds, or may be even thousands of downloads.  That’s because your application is listed on the home page of the category.  This download rate is not sustainable unless you constantly market and re-market your application (i.e. your product). Without marketing, the download rate half-life is in unit of days.  You need more apps to keep the sales flow going with the new application when the earlier applications reach saturation.

Second, more applications in the store means cross marketing. Users who downloaded one application and like it may decide to try out your other applications.  It’s so easy to find your other applications because of the “All Applications by 21Gingerman” link in iTunes.  Having more apps listed in iTunes App Store is also a brand / reputation builder.  Users don’t think of you as a fly-by-night operation who decided that it would fun to do an iPhone app, did one, and never continue.

Last, but not least, is actually collecting money from Apple. While your sales accrue in the App Stores, you are not going to be paid by Apple until you accrued $250 in sales in an App Store.  Since App Stores in each region treated independently, you are not going to be paid anything from the Turkish App Store, as an example, until you accrued $250 in sales there.  This is huge.  While it has been reported that you may be able to ask Apple to pay you your balance at the end of the year, it is by no means guaranteed. Suppose 1% of my total sales is in Turkey, 1% in Slovenia, 2% in Uraquay, etc.  The long tail can easily add up to 50% of my total sales.  It’s likely that I will collect the sales from the major countries (US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, etc.), but in order to collect the sales proceeds from each of the long tail countries, I will need to get $25,000+ in total revenue in order for the 1%-country to pass the $250 dollar limit.  The more applications you have, the more likely that you will hit the $250 in the 1%-countries so you can cash-out your accrued sales.  There’s nothing wrong with Apple having a minimum dollar amount before they will cut you a check.  Amazon Associates and Google AdSense for Publishers all have similar minimums so they don’t end up cutting thousands of checks of $2.79.   As developers and publishers, we just need to play the game the intelligently knowing what the rules of the game are.

One Response to “Why One Cannot Be a One-Trick-Pony in iTunes App Store”

  1. links for 2009-07-10 | manicwave.com Says:

    […] Why One Cannot Be a One-Trick-Pony in iTunes App Store « 21Gingerman Blog (tags: iphone marketing) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: