There have been a few get-rich-quick success stories in Apple’s (AAPL) three-month-old iPhone app platform, like the guys who made $30,000 for a day of work selling an app that looks like a rotary phone. But for many developers, there’s a bleaker reality: Either get some really good promotion — from Apple, word of mouth, from the press, from advertising, etc. — or don’t quit your day job.
Example: Former I’minlikewithyou developer E.J. Mablekos, who’s created Aqua Hoops, a simple, fun, good-looking game with the right price tag — 99 cents. (See video demo below.) Exactly the kind of app we’d pay a buck to waste a few minutes of time with now and again. (We did buy it, and it is fun.)
So how are sales? They started out strong, when Aqua Hoops appeared on the “most recent” page in iTunes, and when the game got some buzz from iPhone blogs and G4TV, a cable network for tech/gamer-types (and us!). That day, Mablekos sold 350 copies of Aqua Hoops — $245 net revenue after Apple’s 30% cut. If he could do that for a year, he’d take home $89,000.
But after hitting no. 91 on Apple’s “top paid apps” board, Aqua Hoops is down to a more modest sales rate: about 60 sales a day, or $42 daily net revenue — $15,000 a year. All told, he’s made about $1,400 so far. “Can’t quit job at pizza place yet,” Mablekos joked at last night’s New York Tech Meetup.
What’s next? More iterations of Aqua Hoops — like football-themed Aqua Punt — and some features that could make the games more viral — like a real-time high score list that gives people something to play for. Both smart moves that could increase sales.
But for now, Aqua Hoops is a reminder that Apple’s iPhone app store is a hit-based business, and far from a Gold Rush for everyone — even if you have a good app.
Aqua Hoops Promo from playtoniq on Vimeo.See Also:
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