app reskinning, reskin an app tutorials

Tutorial 2 – Register Your Devices and Test Accounts

Here’s the second video in our series on reskinning an app from start to finish!

This covers:
Registering Your Devices (you only need to do this once per device)
Registering a Test Account (you only need to do this once)

Comment any questions you have and we’ll do our best to help you out.

See you in the next video,
Justin

app reskinning

App Store Rejection for Too Many Ads

You know, I’ve seen some apps that spam ads like crazy. But sometimes Apple just leaves me shaking my head.

We got the Mustache Bash source code from Austin. After lots of enjoyable work of reskinning the app myself, I was proud to submit it a week ago. Lee and I were just talking about how we were pumped to see the results of this newest acquisition, when I got the infamous rejection email. I hurried over to the Resolution Center and saw this:

App Store Rejection

Seriously?

First of all, this is a source code that’s been approved before, so that just goes to show how random Apple can be, and how gray the area is when it comes to approving apps. Someone having a bad day and feel like rejecting an app?

Second, that’s the worst reason to reject an app because most ads can be turned off without changing the code. So you can just trick the reviewer and turn them on after (s)he approves it.
In RevMob, if you set up your ads through placements, you can pause them. In PlayHaven, you can pause them. In Vungle, you can make them inactive. Chartboost? Yep, you can turn them off. AppLovin? Yep. I read somewhere that you can’t, but I just checked and it’s in the Manage Apps section.

So that begs the question that you might be thinking: why didn’t you turn them off to begin with? Well, that’s the lesson of the day and why I’m writing about it. I didn’t realize they would seriously reject us for that. So if you’re running ads, which I hope you are, turn them off after sending it in for review and more importantly, remember to turn them back on once the app is approved.

app reskinning, app results

“Animal Wheel” results from 20 Line Slot Machine Source Code

 

Carter Thomas - BlueCloudSolutions.com
Carter Thomas – BlueCloudSolutions.com

Update:  We recommend looking into the Bingo source code.

Want to create tons of versions of this app for yourself? Learn here.

Today, we’ll be talking about the “20 Line Slot Machine” source code. Carter has been an inspiration for us with a very positive attitude and huge drive and Alex has been great with support for this code. Carter’s results were pretty astonishing for this slot machine app, and he set the price to reflect that: $750, which is probably his most expensive code. He seems like a great guy that wouldn’t make the numbers up, so we had to test it out for ourselves.

Here are the results for the first reskin we made:

Animal Wheel Icon

Title: “Animal Wheel – Slot Machine with Bonus Games”

Released: August 16, 2013 (exactly 2 months ago when this was written)

Keywords:

  • gamble, slots, spin, win, coins, video, play, poker, chip, casino, money, cash, vegas, jackpot, contest, bet, pets
  • Think we’re crazy for telling you this? SensorTower is like 95% accurate, anyway, so you could’ve just looked it up yourself

Expenses: $947

  • Code: $750
  • Stock Graphics: $60
  • Development: $0
  • Marketing: $137

Income: $698.44

  • Revmob: $34.76
  • Chartboost: $184.10
  • PlayHaven: $54.58
  • AppLovin: $410.34
  • In-App Purchases: $14.66

Net after 2 months: -$248.56

# of Downloads: 4,440

Lessons

1. We really can do the graphic and development work ourselves. It’s not that difficult. In fact, we are planning to release a video tutorial explaining how to reskin this app from start to finish.

2. AppLovin dominates eCPMs compared to other ad networks in this genre. So how can we exploit that? If I remember correctly, the original source code uses Chartboost for ads while spinning. What if we show AppLovin during spins instead? Where else can we add more AppLovin and take out the ads that don’t perform as well?

Animal Wheel - AppLovin Income

3. Downloads were decent in the beginning, but have been averaging 6 or so each day for about a month, and revenues are pretty much done. Is it worth trying to change the keywords/title/icon/screen shots, or just create a new skin in that time and capitalize on the rush of downloads from being new?

4. While we were net negative on this one, the next skin will only cost approximately $60 for graphics, and a couple of days of work. If we make the same amount of money ($683.78) but only have $60 of expenses for the next app, we’ll be making $623.78 for about 16 hours of work. That’s a decent salary, and it doesn’t include the fact that subsequent releases should be optimized to make even more money.

5. Theme, icon, screen shots – I spent time making the icon myself. I thought it was funny, but wasn’t worth the time after all. There’s a good course on Udemy that gives you Photoshop files and a great tutorial on how to make your own great-looking icons very quickly/cost-effectively. It’s normally $97, but you can access the 50% off coupon here.

As for the theme, we thought animals would be great, but this definitely wasn’t a homerun. The animal theme in the App Store is pretty saturated and could explain the lackluster performance, although it could also be due to the fact that I’m not an experienced designer and used stock images.

Screen shots were exactly that—screen shots—nothing special.

Screen Shot exampleWe didn’t bother spending time to add text and call outs on these images. Would it really help? Personally, I don’t think this is an issue converting users to download the app. I believe getting them to find the app (keywords/theme) in the first place was the bigger problem.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on what worked and what didn’t in your opinion, and if you’ve bought this source code, what you’ve learned as well.

Coming Soon

We released 3 more skins. How did they do? Stay tuned… And be sure to join our mailing list on the right side of the page to be updated when more reports are released!

app reskinning

App Flipping: Is it Flippin’ Feasible?

Lee and I had an interesting turn of events in the last day or two. We’ve really been looking into the last piece of “App Flipping”–the flipping part–it’s like the icing on the cake. Since we’ve already made a positive return on some of these apps, why not get more money now by letting it go while it’s hot? There are good sites out there (namely, Apptopia) that provide a full service for you to sell your app. It seemed simple enough.

Since we’re talking about source codes and licenses, though, there is some gray area, and lots of us ask the same questions. We were concerned about this and asked some source code sellers, who have said that this is a very feasible business–from reskinning to flipping. They make it sound like a breeze. And both said essentially the same thing:

The policy is basically that you need to tell the buyer that you only have the license rights and they can’t resell the code of that app. Think of it like transferring ownership of the license you purchased.

Sounds great! So from the original owner’s perspective, we’re good to go–he’s the only one that should care about us selling the app. And that’s all that really matters, right? Not quite.

After paying the minimum $29 for listing one of our reskinned apps, we received a message, within hours, from a random character on Apptopia:

You don’t own that source code.  You have no legal right to sell it.

Who’s this guy? Why does he care? I blew it off… but then this came straight from Apptopia shortly after:

Justin,

It has been brought to our attention that your listing is a reskinned app and not yours to sell the full and exclusive rights to. For that reason, the listing has been placed on hold and will remain in such state unless you can show that you own the full and exclusive rights. Please advise.

First, I want to make it clear that we put in our app description that this is licensed code, so the buyer is not allowed to license it to other people. Second, no, I didn’t read Apptopia’s fine print (does anyone, really?). And last, how do you “show that you own the full and exclusive rights” of a code? That’s a joke. What do I show them? A contract to myself?

Nevertheless, we play by the rules, and Apptopia doesn’t like it. Apparently, they only sell apps that you have the full and exclusive rights to. So what does this mean for all of us reskinners? Nothing good. Either you hide it from Apptopia and then secretly tell the buyer that it’s a license and they can’t resell it (or even worse, don’t tell them, which is illegal), or Apptopia isn’t the place for you.

Save yourself the $29+ dollars… the flipping part might not be so easy after all.

app reskinning

We Made a Profitable App (And So Can You!)

Update: Now you can see how to reskin this app yourself to create a hundred versions of this code yourself to make money fast. Access the full course here.

Hi everyone,

It’s Justin, and I want to share with you the app that we created in the shortest time frame and that made our money back the fastest, along with lessons we learned along the way (in the whole 6 days since launch):

Triple Dare – Free Funny Dares & Pranks to Challenge Friends
Click on the name to see it in iTunes.

So where’d this idea come from?

We discovered an awesome guy that sells app source codes to reskin. His name is Austin Church, and his apps are solid, clean and fun.

On his site, you’ll find his “Random Facts Generator” code that is currently selling for only $99 for unlimited reskins. Sounded like a steal to us, although with an app this simple, it was difficult to imagine making the money back this quickly.

But with the low risk investment, we figured “might as well” and I reskinned it myself.

1) Graphics? Barely any and you can use almost all of his originals if you want. I used Illustrator to change his up a little bit. I know very little about graphic design and finished it up in a few hours. You can tell that I didn’t know what I was doing because the app icon doesn’t really fit the rounded corners like it should. icon-tripledareNote to self: fix the icon.

2) Programming? I started out knowing nothing about XCode (the program used to edit and submit this app to the App Store). I was able to change the necessary parts in a couple hours max.

3) Content? We wanted to be a bit edgy and try something that didn’t have too much competition, like jokes or facts. This led us to “dares,” which are both funny and active… popped those into the text files.

Results

September 12, 2013: App purchased
September 13, 2013: App submitted to the App Store, without paying anyone for help–no graphic designers, programmers, or assistants to find content
September 20, 2013: App reviewed and approved

Through yesterday, September 25, 2013
Total Downloads: 5,785
Net Revenue (ads, in-app purchases, etc., and taking out fees): $205.02
Net profit: $106.02 in 5 days since launch, and it’s pure profit from here on out

Lessons Learned

We’ve bought source codes for $500 that have made back $50 after months. This is the cheapest app we’ve bought to date and made the money back the fastest. Don’t assume that just because an app is cheap and simple means that revenues will be poor.

As for this app, we launched a similar one on another developer account and did not achieve the same results (not yet, at least). We’re getting about 10% of the downloads, which is still good considering how cheap this project was.
This stresses the importance of keywords and marketing. What are people searching for and why? Who is the demographic? When they search a keyword and find your app, will they like yours (and share it with others)? Why or why not? We were only able to get all those in app purchases because they wanted more content. That’s crucial.

Test your pricing. It’s very easy to change how much In App Purchases cost–you don’t need to resubmit your code to Apple. Just change it in iTunes Connect, and it’ll take about a day to propagate. For us, we increased our revenue after modifying the in-app purchases from Tier 1 ($0.99) to Tier 2 ($1.99). This will depend on your content and how badly people want it.

In the world of app reskinning and/or flipping, I would definitely consider these things when planning your theme. At the same time, I wouldn’t over-analyze. The key to success in this niche is reskinning fast and cheaply, hoping something hits… and this did. We tweaked the pricing a little bit, but is it worth it to mess with the keywords, the description, and the icon? Maybe, maybe not. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Personally, I’d rather make another version of this app in 24 hours. That seems like a better investment–then we can learn what icons, keywords, and descriptions are working that way, too.

And it may be obvious, but we’ve also learned how easy it can be to reskin. It literally took me a day to do this project and around 2 days to learn enough about XCode to flip apps ourselves. And with that…

You can learn how to do this yourself! Access the course here.
So go on and buy the code for the dares app
Then enroll in the course to see exactly how to do it yourself.

Anyone can do it!

‘Til next time,
Justin

history

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

The Pixtant App was our 1st foray into the Mobile App world and it all started a little over a year ago with a simple text message:

The texts that started it all...

This simple text message conversation has brought us to where we are today.  All it took was two people sharing a similar desire to enter an industry despite having limited tech experience to draw from.  It didn’t bother us that we knew next to nothing about mobile applications–we were ready to jump in head first.

We have learned more about the mobile app industry in the past year than we could have ever imagined.  The key to learning so much, so fast was putting ourselves in a position where we did not have the ability to take it slow – we put ourselves in a sink-or-swim situation…. and we learned to swim quickly.

Our goal is to help others who are considering a similar path and perhaps help alleviate some of the headaches that are inevitably going to occur while starting a business. Many of these lessons we learned the hard way and we’ve had to adjust, make difficult decisions and move forward.  All of this has made us better equipped to handle the challenges we currently are facing as we continue to evolve and work to build the Pixtant App Empire.

history

What is “The Pixtant Chronicles”?

What is “The Pixtant Chronicles”?

It’s a site by Justin Malik and Lee Rankinen, founders of the top-40 iOS Lifestyle Pixtant App (www.pixtant.com).

It’s about lessons learned, techniques, tips and insight gained while building a mobile app empire from scratch with limited tech experience.

It’s about pivoting to capture momentum gained and moving swiftly to take advantage of inspiration as it occurs.

We’ll take you behind-the-scenes for a real-time look at building successful mobile apps as we work.

This will be an honest and upfront look at one of the fastest growing industries from two mobile appreneurs who jumped in head first only one year ago.

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