Archive for November, 2012

Selector – A Case Study in Paid Vs. Free

Friday, November 30th, 2012

A couple months ago, I released Selector, a simple iPhone app that helps you select between multiple people. In the first week, I garnered an encouraging 12 sales before doing any promotion. So in the second week, I made a demo video, posted on some forums, and handed out free promo codes. But I only got 5 sales the first day and nothing for the rest of the week.

I was feeling pretty discouraged but I figured that if I wasn’t making any money, I might as well try an experiment. So I decided to make it free for a week. Suddenly, my downloads jumped up, a couple web sites mentioned it, and I started getting reviews and ratings on iTunes. And at the end of the week, a total of 13,920 people had downloaded it!

Of course, I didn’t make any money off those 13,920 people, but the nice thing is that people kept on downloading it even after I started charging $0.99. Sure, it was only a few downloads a day instead of hundreds, but it was certainly more than the 0 per day I was getting before.

I’m not exactly sure what made the difference. It might have been word-of-mouth from those people who got it for free. Or it might have been that the increased number of reviews and downloads bumped up the app’s ranking in the iTunes store. In any case, for an indie developer like me, obscurity is a much greater problem than the potential lost revenue. So it was definitely worth making it free for a week.


Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

This year has been a tough one. But even (or perhaps especially) in tough times, it’s important to be thankful.

And I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a good job, a loving family, and even a productive hobby that I get to work on in my ever dwindling free time (yay, Photo Dice and Selector!). But most of all, I’m thankful for my son.

Dyson is now 2, which is a challenging age. He’s started talking more and forming concepts about the world, which has been incredible to behold. Of course, he gets very upset when those concepts (like, I believe I will flood the bathroom sink now) get thwarted. But it’s also been amazing to watch him starting to actually get things, now. It makes me look at the world a little differently.

Part of it is that I want to protect him from the bad. The world can be very harsh; it’s easy to become cynical or dejected and I want to keep him from that. But the other part is that I want him to know that there is always hope and beauty to be found, like a rainbow sprinkle cupcake.