Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How I Didn't Get Rich Via my iPhone App

I think we've all seen the stories about some guy in New Zealand making $6K a day for a Choplifter clone, or another fellow making $250K in two months reimagining Tetris. What you don't hear about are the flops. And I have a flop on my hands. My application to monitor over the air digital television signal quality, Signal GH has sold 10 copies. I had had no illusions that it would be a big seller; the target market is small at the intersection of iPhone owners and HDHomerun users; I just assumed there were a few thousand such people and they would all want my app.

Apparently not.

Unlike a lot of apps getting shoveled onto the App Store, Signal is competently coded; performs a useful service, launches quickly, doesn't leak, doesn't crash, and has only a smattering of bugs. Maybe prospective buyers would like to know this, but I have had no reviews so far.

Part of the problem was that Apple mistakenly lists its release date as the day I submitted it to them for testing, instead of the day they actually released it to the public, so I got no time on the front page of the Utilities page. And part is probably too high a price point, maybe $5 is just too much even for niche market apps. Again, I'm flying in the dark here because I've gotten zero feedback.

I also don't know where HDHomerun users hang out. The forums on Silicon Dust seem fairly low volume. Maybe if the HDHomerun were buggier, people would be filling their forums but dang it if the HDHomerun isn't the most reliable gadget on my network. And, I don't want to make commercial announcements on public forums anyway; nobody likes that sort of thing. I'm not a marketing wiz, I am a fairly good Mac coder.

Oh well, I only wasted a couple weeks of spare coding time. I've learned my lessons about targeting larger markets. I learned a thing or two about iPhone development, and hopefully my next post on the subject will be "How I Did Get Rich Via My iPhone App."