350,000 apps in the iTunes Store and 200,000 in the Google Market show developers are building apps.  Who is paying for these apps?  Who is making money on these apps?

Businesses view apps as advertising and are paying to build them.  They are likely to hire contract developers.  iPhone and Android development is still a specialized skill.  IT outsourcing continues.  Of course to a developer, contracting is not scalable, has no assets and is a fragile business with income-replacement only.

With so many apps available, the era of the “crap app” is over.  Successful apps favor beauty over substance.  App beauty promotes word of mouth.  Social networking using sites like Facebook and Twitter can also create buzz around an app.  App review websites don’t have many page views.  Most people buy apps from seeing one on another person’s phone.

Having a website for your app is not that powerful, but visitors to that site are prepared to spend more money since they’re doing research.  A video and brochure is all you need on that site for a potential user to make a decision.

If you plan on giving your app away, but asking for money, choose your words carefully.  “Donate” is like pity, use the word “support”.  “Buy” is a nag.

As a developer the odds are pretty overwhelming you won’t make back the money that you invest in app development.  However as a consultant there is money on the table from the businesses looking to advertise through apps.

One Response to “The Business of Apps”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Roberts and John Roberts, John Roberts. John Roberts said: How is the business of mobile app development going? Read the developer's perspective at http://www.pdxmobile.com/?p=23 #iphone #android [...]

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