Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

AT&T Double/Triple Dipping on Data on 3G Microcell

June 19, 2010

Femtocells are such a good idea. How come the adoption isn’t higher? I think the greedy phone companies are killing the product with their pricing plan.

Most of us already have broadband at home which we are paying $30-$80/month for that connection. We can layer other services  on top of the services we have already paid for. Femtocells bridges cellular voice traffic from your cellphone to your broadband network. This frees up the cellular carrier’s bandwidth or provide coverage where the normal cell towers cannot reach.

AT&T’s femtocell product (a.k.a. 3G Microcell) costs you $150 (and in some strange cases they won’t even sell one to you). You hook it up to your broadband network connection. When you use your cell phone near your 3G Microcell, the data network usage is counted against your allotment of limited data plan.

Am I Sexy or What?

April 21, 2010

What a messy little situation between Phones 4U, their PR Agency, and TechCrunch.  It’s pretty funny.  This hoopla is about a press release curiously titled “Men With iPhones Are More Atractive to Women” as reported by TechCrunch.

It’s a pretty interesting story and even Apple is involved somewhere along the lines.  I don’t see why Apple would be unhappy that more men now want to have an iPhone because it makes them sexier. The PR people and Phones 4U disavow of any knowledge or approval of conducting the research or issuing the press release. Is this just marketing? In the world of PR, there’s no such thing as bad PR.

I’ve been carrying my Android phone instead of my iPhone recently. Did I just unknowingly downgraded my sex appeal? 😉

Analytics. NAnalytics. Where Are the Alternatives?

April 12, 2010

I just picked up this article about the updated iPhone Developer Agreement indirectly through a friend’s posting on Facebook. Reading through the details and I all but fainted.  The reason why iPhone apps have been improving is that creative and diligent application developers have the tools to fine tune their iPhone applications through anonymous usage analysis, just like a webmaster can use web analytics such as Google Analytics to measure sure and figure out where users are lost or what parts of the application is not used often enough to warrant further development (or need a UI overhaul to expose that certain infrequently used functionality). I used Flurry in many of my apps and have examined the other platforms such as Mobclix, AdMob, and Motally, and found their service indispensable.

With this Developer Agreement update, at the very least, future updates to my applications will no longer be allowed to link to these analytics package. I don’t know if Apple will go so far as pulling the apps that are currently in the store. So, what’s a developer to do? Is Apple telling us developers to not worry about user experience? By making it “illegal” to use an analytics package, Apple is effectively saying that.

If Apple wants to protect the consumers’ right to privacy, I wouldn’t mind if Apple has an “approval” process for these third-party analytics vendors to “certify” their libraries because I, the developer, can link with the Apple-approved third-party analytics libraries and submit my apps. This is a burden on these analytics companies, at least it presents a path to preserve this functionality. May be Apple wants the analytics business on the iPhone for itself and wants to put these startup out of business by legislating their ability to exist.

There are other changes in the Developer Agreement about how GPS data can be used. If your application uses GPS data, please read the Developer Agreement.

A New App That Pushes the Envelope

October 30, 2009

In my previous life as a Mobile Podcast software/service provider, I get to know many podcasters very well.  One of them is Emily Morse.  She has been doing her podcast, Sex With Emily, since 2005.  The show covers the stuff that we think about but don’t talk about all the time: sex, relationships, dating, cheating, marriage, mistakes, lovers, and even love.  She is very passionate about her work.  Off and on, she took her show onto the public airwaves on radio stations in San Francisco including Free FM and Radio Alice.

About 3 months ago, during the summer, I took the idea of taking her research for her podcasts into a mobile format for the iPhone.  She was thrilled!  The rest is history.

Her iPhone application, 101 Sex Tips from Sex With Emily, is now available on iPhone App Store.  She wrote all the tips and hand picked the tasteful backgrounds on the screen.  It’s all her.  Take this iPhone application with you so you can review the tips wherever you are, at the restaurant, bus stop, on public transit, use your imagination.


You can mark tips as “favorites” or email some to your loved ones using the Share Tip feature.  It’s a great way to send a nudge-nudge-wink-wink.

The app was completed almost a month ago, but it took App Store Review team a lot longer than normal to approve this because this app really pushes the envelope on what’s possible in this new mobile format.  Given Emily’s background in broadcast radio, we have been very careful to keep the content racy enough for the audience, but tame enough to work within FCC (and Apple / mobile carrier) guidelines. As of this morning, the app has been approved by Apple.  I have to say that the process is not as transparent as one would hope, but the folks who work at Apple are professional and reasonable.

Here are two (slightly more PG rated) tips for you, free!  You’ll have to purchase the app to see the naughty ones.



Seven Themes for a Great iPhone App

October 30, 2009

Spent the day at Apple iPhone Tech Talk in Santa Clara.  The keynote is more like a motivational seminar.  Telling us why the iPhone App Store ecosystem is great. There are some useful nuggets such as what Apple considers to be the 7 themes for a great app:

  1. Delightful
  2. Innovative
  3. Designed
  4. Integrated
  5. Optimized
  6. Connected
  7. Localized

Then he proceeded to introduce some examples of “nice” apps in the App Store, or what I would call The World According to Apple:

iTunes 9: The Good and The Bad

September 12, 2009

Just downloaded and installed iTunes 9.  The iTunes Store has a new layout.

The Bad: From the App Store tab, if you just click on the tap, you see a big splash of the “featured” big name apps such as those from EA.  You have the New and Noteworthy above the fold.  The right hand side has the Top Charts starting with Paid Apps and Free Apps.  A new section named “Top Grossing” is after the Free Apps.  Wait…where are the categories.  It used to be very easy to click on a category on the left hand side sidebar.  Now that’s gone!

The Good: If you mouse over App Store tab, you’ll see a down arrow to get to a drop down menu.  Here you’ll find the categories.  Select Lifestyle.  You get back the good old Category page.  Click on Top Free Apps on the right side bar.  Now you get the list.  Wait…instead of the Top 100, you now see the Top 200!  That’s the good news because if a new app gets into the Top 200, you have a better chance of climbing up the charts because users will find you!

100,000 Apps in App Store by end of 2009?

August 14, 2009

Flurry is a mobile apps analytics company.  They provide the service for free, and a damn good one.  Their business plan appears to be get as many apps using their analytics package as possible and aggregate the apps usage data for analysis and “industry reports.”

Here’s an example. For applications using Flurry to track app usage, developer creates an App ID in Flurry.  Flurry considers this a “new construction starts” metric (similar to housing market).

Fact: Apple iPhone App Store grew from 25,000 apps in January 2009 to 65,000 apps in July 2009.

Flurry Estimates: The current month-to-month “new construction start” rate is at 30%. With some conservative adjustments, there can be more than 100,000 apps available in the App Store by the end of 2009.

What does it mean for developers? Don’t rely on serendipity discovery.  Marketing matters. Brand matters. Look at the Top 20 in many categories.

  • Lifestyle: Weber, Sports Illustrated, Zippo, eBay, Amazon, OpenTable, etc.
  • Finance: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, CNN Money, PayPal, Quicken, etc.

You either have a sizeable marketing budget, ingenious viral marketing plan, or have a well recognized brand that will catch the users attention to get the downloads.

News Flash! News Flash! appFigures Makes Pricing More Flexible

July 30, 2009

I want to claim credit, but I won’t.  I’ve been whining about appFigures being such a great service that I will consider subscribing to, but insisted on charging me a monthly fee for all apps in my iTunes Connect report regardless of which one(s) I really care about.  I’m sure that they have heard about it from other potential customers as well.

Well, they announced a few days ago that their wonderful engineering team has figured out how to let subscribers control while apps should be included.  Woohoo!  But you know what they say about software development, “Everything is possible, the Impossible just takes a little bit longer.”

What I like about appFigures

  1. Graphs with events – The sales/download graphs shows the “marketing” events you defined.  This is very useful.
  2. Automatically translate reviews into English – This is a convenience.  With one click, I can read the German and French review text in English instead.  I can use Google Translate for this, but it just a bunch of cut and paste.
  3. iTunes App Store Rank tracking – This is cool, way cool.  I cannot easily get this myself.  There may be other services out there that does this, but it is useful to have this in one place.  What would be even better if appFigures can overlay this on my sales/download graph as well.
  4. Sync with iTunes Connect – I don’t use this feature myself since I don’t trust anyone with my iTunes Connect user name and password.  However, for those who are less paranoid than I am, this is a great time saver.

Sex Professor, Day 4

July 27, 2009

Top100Sex Professor arrived at the Apple App Store last Friday.  By end of 4th day, it is at position 34 of Top-100 in Lifestyle Free Applications in US App Store.  It has even better ranking in the Canadian, German, French, Italian, and UK App Stores. How do I know this?  appFigures!  I’m still deciding if appFigures is worth the monthly fee versus the one-time payment for desktop applications.  Here are my assessment for the available options so far:

appFigures (monthly fee) – Very full features and nice graphs.  The monthly fee is based on total number of applications you have in iTunes.  Pricing plan starts from free for 2 applications to $4.99 for the first 2 apps and $1.49/app/month for over 2 apps. This is troubling for me.  It means that I’ll be paying for old applications that may no longer be generating revenue for me.

AppViz ($29.95) – By Ideaswarm. There’s a 30-day free trial so you can try it for yourself.  I’m starting to like it.  It collects Reviews from all the different countries’ App Store so you can view it in one place.  One of the missing features is Rank Tracking and Events like appFigures. It allows you to download directly from iTunes Connect web site or import from iTunes Connect report you have downloaded.

AppSales (free / open-source) – Can’t beat “free”, except you may have to do-it-yourself if you are expecting new features or if somehow iTunes Connect web page design changes and the web import interface breaks.  It has a mobile (iPhone) version that I use in the morning just to get an idea of the last few days of sales.  There’s a desktop version (no longer under active development) as well.  Overall, it is a good option but without a lot of bells and whistles (e.g. Rank Tracking, Review Tracking). It is also without a defined future unless you are willing to do some work down the road.

It feels great and encouraging to hit Top 100.  At the same time, it puts more pressure to get the new upgrade version out this week.  The new version will include additional viral features such as sending results to friends via email  or saving it for posting to Facebook, MySpace, etc. Back to work!

Exploring New Territories

July 23, 2009

Yesterday, we released a fun adult-theme application on App Store called Sex Professor. It’s rated 17+ because of “Mature and Suggestive” themes.  There’s no nudity…if you’ve seen our Sex Professor, you wouldn’t want to see him without clothes anyway 🙂

Check it out!