Developers: How Much Money...

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Jomskylark, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Jomskylark macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    #1
    Hey,

    I have a quick question to developers. Please note that I am not trying to be rude, I am just curious to see some statistics.

    Developers: About how much money (USD please) have you made off of your apps? You don't have to be exact, so it's OK to round, but $16 does not equal $50, for example.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020

    Jeremy1026

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #2
    The average dev doesn't make the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you are always reading about. If you are looking to get rich quick, don't waste your time. If you are looking for some spare change (couple hundred a month) then go ahead and jump into the dev scene.
     
  3. johnqh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #3
    You can calculate the average sales based on public data - about $20/day.
     
  4. Jomskylark thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for the replies, but I was more or less looking for actual results from actual developers.
     
  5. johnqh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #5
    Dude, that is the actual result from actual developer. You can ask on iphonedevsdk.com and everyone will tell you that's the norm.
     
  6. detz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #6
    It depends, as with real life 10% of the people make 90% of the money. I would guess* that the average is $20-50 for the first week it's on the store and then it drops to $1-$8 depending on a bunch of factors. Any one developers number are going to be different based on what apps they have, how many they have and if they've been featured or written about.

    My super pig app made me $5.23 yesterday but it's been on the store for almost three months. To give you a range I've made anywhere from $2 to $1200 in one day.
     
  7. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020

    Jeremy1026

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #7
    I also am an actual developer. And the numbers I provided are quite accurate.
     
  8. darkpaw macrumors 6502

    darkpaw

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    In the last six months - since my first app went live on August 1st 2008 - $800 off two paid apps (Colony & Linx) and two free ones (Squares and & Linx Free). About $4/day give or take; 31st Jan and 2nd Feb I made $0 (yes, zero).

    Subtract the $100 I've spent on advertising so far, and you get an idea of how much you make.

    If you want to spend hundreds of hours developing and maintaining apps, go ahead, but don't expect to make any money out of it.

    If you want to spend 20 minutes making a simple app that plays one sound (maybe just a fart sound, hell, why not?), go ahead, and expect to make shedloads out of it.
     
  9. jmccullough108 macrumors 6502a

    jmccullough108

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #9
    Not mentioning the particular developer, but here are some stats..

    .99 cent app -

    Last Month: around 500


    1.99 app -

    Last Month: around 300

    Free app -

    Around 15,000 DL's.
     
  10. marksman macrumors 603

    marksman

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    #10
    I would suggest if your thought process for becoming an iphone developer starts with how much money can you potentially make, instead of an actual idea or looking for an idea, that you should just not bother.

    The App Store is full of people who just wanted to make a bit of money. We need more developers who have a good idea to make a good app and understand that if they deliver the money will follow.
     
  11. MacToddB macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #11
    Let me say that we've been very lucky, and we know it.

    100sounds has been in the paid Top 100 (and even reached #33 at its peak) since just before Christmas (the app was released 12/12/2008). As one developer said in USA Today:

    "People fight really hard to make the list," says British developer Mark Terry, whose Band music application has been at the top of the charts since its July debut. "If you're No. 102, you don't exist."

    Being in the Top 25 is key because your app is viewable within the AppStore app, and to a lesser degree the Top 50. Top 100 for viewing in iTunes' on your PC or Mac. Re sales figures, Top 100 would probably average 500/day and Top 50 probably twice that. Our best days were just over 2,000 (Christmas, Dec 26th, and one other day).

    We realize our success is the exception, and we owe a lot to the MacRumors community, where we first posted promo codes (we have more... just post telling us how you'd use the app) and earned our first reviews, etc. That's why we're giving back with our $1,000 iTunes Giveaway!

    I will be writing about our experience in iPhone Life Magazine (I'm a Contributing Editor), from the makers of Smartphone Magazine. I will probably included more specific sales figures there, but I can tell you the trends have been quite interesting. For example, weekends are busier than weekdays. Christmas and the next day were huge. Inauguration day was very slow (everyone watching TV, etc.).

    Lately, we're slipping (#85 or so) so any plans to quit the day job are being revisited! It's been a great run, but as new apps are released, it's inevitable that they'll displace you. We've enhanced the app based on requests (more sounds, better quality, shake-to-play) but new apps, especially if Apple chooses to feature them, get all the buzz and that's powerful stuff.

    We've done advertising (over $1,000/month) and a $1,000 iTunes giveaway ($10 just for sending us a video showing how you use the app for practical use or practical jokes, plus a chance at some cool cases from OtterBox, Speck, or headphones and earbuds from ZAGG and iFrogz).

    My recommendation, unless you can do it MUCH better, do NOT bother copying an app that's already out there. Odds are, twenty other developers are already doing that. As soon as iFart got some buzz, twenty more came out and did nothing remarkable in sales. I'm sure fifty Mafia apps are being writting now. You're better off coming up with something creative that can get some buzz, either from Apple or one of the various news sites/blogs.

    I'd be happy to share more thoughts, and again I plan to write a regular column on the topic, in the printed version of iPhone Life.
     
  12. herbs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #12
    So far we've earned less than 1$ per hour we've invested.
    I guess our problem is that
    1.) our Apps are for entertainment only - and the entertainment/lifestyle section is a hot place for spammers. ("call Martha", ("call Bill"), "fart&burp" ...)
    2.) we thought by focusing on quality we can get some attention and people would buy our apps but we were wrong. (i guess this is especially a problem of the entertainment genre as most of the apps out there can be built within one day or less)
    3.) there had been a snowglobe in the AppStore before we started developing ours, and during development ~30 snowglobes had come out before we were available in the store.
    3.) we sell them all at 99cents. unless you are lucky and get into the top100
    your sales won't cover your expenses.

    so my tip for you:
    1.) (as MacToddB already said) don't work on a copy of an app even when the other app isn't implemented well.
    2.) don't go into the entertainment genre unless you have an original idea that can be developed within a few days. (even then, a lot of people will rip off your idea. i really don't like all the farting apps out there but it's a good example... PullMyFinger was the first one, compare its popularity with iFart, and count the current number of all the farting apps)
     
  13. MooCowMusic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    Can I just say that I was slightly mis-quoted in that article, which makes me sound very mercenary. Worrying about your Top100 position and cutting prices to influence sales was soooo "Sept 2008". :)
     
  14. darkpaw macrumors 6502

    darkpaw

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    #14
    Exactly. Linx is only $0.99 and hasn't seen anywhere near as many sales as I expected. At this price I can't even put it on sale in order to generate interest.

    When my advertising for this month runs out, I'll up the price to $1.99. You can hardly say I'm going to lose sales when I'm selling one or two a day worldwide at the lowest price I can sell it for.

    I guess there's a bigger problem with the App Store at the moment. So many copycat apps are being put on the store that genuine, original apps lose placement very quickly.
     
  15. vettori macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Italy, near Venice
    #15
    My Shopping List app is on the store from the first day. Now it's selling 5-6 copies/day, 10 copies on the weekend days. ABContacts is selling a bit more. Hard Awakening is at 30-40 copies/day.
    These are U.S. store numbers.

    Shopping List was featured on "Staff favorites" for four weeks in October '08 and sells were about 150-180 copies/day for the first week going to 30-40 copies for the fourth week.

    Rest of the world as a whole is about the same size of the U.S., some days less.
    In Italy where I have my apps reviewed by a couple iPhone blogs I noticed a burst for about a week (Hard Awakening reached the 6th place on top 100 and ABContacts is still 2nd place in Business). But the numbers are still very low due to the limited market of Italy.

    So the big problem is, you can have good and nice apps but they probably will not be found by the majority of your potential users.
     
  16. MacToddB macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #16
    Hey! Neat! You're famous!!! I didn't take it that way.. it was straight and to the point. Tough love.

    You might be better off bumping it to TEN DOLLARS, for a day. Then, $1.99 and it will show up as 80% off in Appsniper and other sites that track discounts. Then back to $.99. Or straight to $0.99 from $9.99 for 90% off. Just a theory worth a try... let us know how it works. I can't do it because we advertise $0.99, and one day without sales would take us out of the Top 100 immediately, never to return!

    It's like Hockey. You need to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is. If you had worked on a fart app when they were big, you'd have missed the Mafia phenomenon. I guarantee there will be a dozen mafia apps in a few weeks.
     
  17. synagence macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #17
    My thinking is that the AppStore is in a very strange place right now ...
    Opening up the fart-flood gates has obviously tainted the market powers.
    It will take a while (hopefully not too long) for those that realise the fart-bubble has come and gone and is not sustainable ... mostly not even likely covering the cost of entry ... hopefully then the market will settle down and a true market will evolve and will get a more realistic pricing / demand model.

    There is still this manic rush to the bottom for many genres and thats distorting and spoiling the advertising and reach capabilities of TRUE apps

    Appstore is still in its infancy at 7 months old .... its just a gold-rush right now.
     
  18. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #18
    IMHO, only a gold-rush for those with interesting/good apps. :)

    Well, except for the fad (fart type) apps. :D
     
  19. return7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #19
    just curious. where are the best places to advertise your apps? so far it's been word of mouth for us.
     
  20. MacToddB macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #20
    As someone once said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted... I just don't know which half!"

    So, while some of these sites give statistics on impressions and clickthru's, it's hard to quantify which resulted in sales.

    I don't want to get banned for linking to external sites, as happened with KRAPPS, so PM or email me for recommendations. It also might depend on your app and price. For example, I do NOT advertise on gaming sites because my app is more of a utility. I also don't advertising on sites that promote jailbreaking. And since my app is only $0.99, I don't advertise on sites that might have a high cost-per-click, where I'd actually lose money on a sale!
     
  21. johnqh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #21
    So, my "$10 to $20" number seems to be optimistic.

    Actually, the App Store has gotten harder. In Nov 2008, your app can stay on the first page in the category (sorted by release data) for about 4 days. Now, you have 2 days. It is bad for both good apps and junk.

    The rush to top 100 is no longer feasible. It is better to start with a higher price. When/if you are lucky enough to get featured, lower the price to 99 cents for a push into the top 100.

    Even then, the long term effect is almost zero. After 2 months, you will get back to where you started.
     
  22. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #22
    I don't have anything on the app store yet. I'm hoping to have my first app finished by the end of Feb and it on the store by the end of March. Of course everybody thinks their idea is "good" or they wouldn't make it but I think mine is okay. To me the money was a side desire. Of course it'd be nice to make a ton of money but for me the $99 investment is fairly small. I am doing this to learn, to add to my resume, and get feedback on my first published app. At about 143 sales of $0.99 over a year I'll make my $99 investment back. If my idea isn't worth 143 sales over a year then that's my fault either for a poor idea or poor implementation. Any money made past that is just a bonus.

    So if you're in it purely for the money it's probably not a wise idea but keep in mind that it can enhance your resume if you are in the IT field which in turn might get you a job you otherwise may not have gotten. Your app could also be used in a portfolio that you would send to companies to apply for employment.

    I do agree though that if you don't hit the top 100 it's kind of a wash monetarily. Even though I know this I have a habit of only browsing the top 100 myself. I need to make a point to explore the newer apps.
     
  23. johnqh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #23
    You don't count your time as investment?

    Reality check - I can do an iPhone app on rentacoder for about $250. That's about 1 week's of code.

    Given that even good apps won't make much money at App Store, the job market for iPhone developers is very small. Really, don't expect it to boost your resume.

    Personally, I am moving toward Android and Windows Mobile.
     
  24. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #24
    I don't count my time as an investment except in myself. I am coding outside of work as a hobby and because I want to. While I may be able to make money contracting myself out after work I actually consider my coding at home for fun an enjoyable experience much like a normal person would consider watching TV one.

    As for rentacoder.com... I'd rather code my own ideas on my time... Work gives me enough of their ideas to code. That and I make way more than $250 a week at work.

    I don't think I'd be able to get a job coding for the iPhone but you would be able to show finished products to companies. In that matter it can boost your resume as a portfolio of work.
     
  25. MooCowMusic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #25
    You know, when I started writing iPhone apps, we used to give them away for free. I wrote and gave away four major apps before the SDK was released, let alone the App Store, had about 1 million downloads and rave user reviews, and received for my trouble only about £200 in PayPal donations.

    Of course nowadays being properly paid for your work is great, and I love the fact that I can afford for this to be my day job now rather than something I used to do between the hours of 10pm and 1am each night. So clearly I wouldn't wish the App Store and associated commercialism away, as I've done quite well out of it. But sometimes I wish that some of the old spirit of just making software because it was fun to do so had survived and everyone wasn't somewhat blinded by the Bottom Line.

    So really my advice on this whole matter would be to put aside all thoughts of fame and fortune, and write that app because you think it will be cool, and then maybe a few other people will think it's cool too and you'll get a kick out of them telling you that. And then if you get to that point you can look for the next goalpost, whatever that might be. But even if you don't, surely being able to say that you have created something from scratch that is available for sale worldwide via iTunes is, in itself, amazing?
     

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