Many of the get-rich-quick iPhone stories we’ve seen involve small development efforts — one or two people — selling enough apps for $1 each that they can quit their day jobs and work on iPhone stuff all the time. But some companies are also making a nice amount of revenue from in-app ads, according to one iPhone ad firm.
In a report (embedded below), AdWhirl says that top apps can make $400 to $5,000 per day on ads, averaging an effective CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) near $2. (That sounds terrible compared to a good Web site, but it’s better than Facebook or MySpace apps.)
The problem: These are some of the top, most-popular apps we’re talking about. The vast majority of apps are not anywhere near the top 100, and will have the same problem making money from ads as they do charging for their apps. “Crack the top 100… and developers can earn more than $400 a day,” AdWhirl boasts. But if most apps are making far less than $400 a day (~$150,000 a year), that’s not going to be enough to sustain a real business.