Yesterday I received several emails from the iTunes Store mentioning that my app(s) had been removed from the store. In total it was 18 apps!

Seriously >

 

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“Dear Todd,

On September 1, 2016, we announced that we’re implementing an ongoing process of evaluating and removing apps from the App Store that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.

You were asked to submit an updated version of your app, _____App Name Here______, for review within 30 days. We noticed that either you did not submit an updated version of your app for review or the updated version of your app was not approved. As a result, your app has been removed from the App store.”

 

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The Plan

I’m going to dig into these old apps and see >

  • Why it’s ok they are removed from the App Store
  • What I Earned
  • What I Learned
  • The App Store Today (May 2018)
  • What we working on right now

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Why it’s ok they are removed from the App Store

 

Some of these apps show rejected, but they had previously approved versions in the store. I don’t think this is the first wave of apps Apple removed from the store or ones I’ve manually taken out. They are old apps that don’t add a lot of value to the store. Most of them were from my early days publishing apps dating back to 2012. I had limited resources and less skills. Some of them are part of the initial reskin era where we tried to pump out similar games that were doing well. Some tried to capitalize on trends. Some of them were utility based and some were just pretty bad.

However, they all gave me more experience into the process and the app market it general. Regardless if you have been out of the app game for while or are thinking of getting your first app published, we all have to start somewhere. Usually the first time of anything isn’t going to be your total life PR for that “thing”.

If you run. Was the first 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, long training run for a marathon, ect….the best you ever ended up accomplishing? Prob not.

If you cycle, was the first ride you went on the most comfortable, fastest and fun? Nope.

Was my first app the best one I ever created? Absolutely not. However, it was moving me in the right direction and it made a few dollars.

Honestly, over time my first original app published back in 2012 earned over 1k to date and is still Live today.

 

 

It also still earns money today. $115 in the last 365 days. $150 the 12 months before that and so on.

So $.31 a day in the last 365 days.  I know it’s not much, but kinda fun it still brings some cash in. That covers my Netflix costs for a year!

 

What I Earned

These early apps that were not exactly an example of my best work, but still moved the needle forward in terms of education and a little revenue. Back when I started in 2012 and all the way up until August of 2016, apps were part time. So even if I earned an extra $50 a month, that was kinda a big deal. When it got up to a few hundred a month that took care of some bills. Over a thousand extra a month (on top of my day job) and I was living! When an app did better it was even cooler. The apps I show today are the apps that didn’t do well in spikes of revenue, but over time still brought in a little.

The better earlier apps (even if low quality) mostly all brought in over 1k which was exciting. Regardless, I pulled the lifetime earnings of these 18 apps that are no longer live. So in summary, these are “throw away” apps based on Today’s standards, but in their day, did ok in terms of learning the process and let’s not forget, giving the user value. I have plenty of projects that cost me a lot of time and money so I earned *negative revenue, but I still learned a lot. These just happened to all bring in revenue, which was nice.

You can see it below >

They range from $1 to $698. Revenue was earned from IAP’s, Chartboost and Applovin.

 

 

Total lifetime IAP revenue for 18 removed apps = $2,178

Total lifetime Ad revenue for 18 removed apps = $1,543

Total lifetime revenue for 18 removed apps = $3,721

Not bad!

 

BTW, I looked at some early AppLovin revenue averaging at $8 eCPM which at the time seemed great. That same revenue today through chartboost getting over $100-$150 eCPM would have been…well about 13x-19x the amount I earned on the low end.

Translation = A few early Applovin ad revenue for me through reskin apps earned about $5700. In todays eCPM’s through chartboost that could be $74,000 to $108,000. Mind Blown. That’s why today it takes way less ad impressions to bring in decent revenue. Check out the below blog posts for more info.

 

Developer reskinning casino apps, getting them profitable and then selling >

A successful developer earning 253% ROI with our template (source code)

 

Earning strictly from paid acquisition >

182% ROI Case Study + $2.64 Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

 

 

 

What I Learned 

A lot! Too much to list here today, but I’ll highlight some main points below.

  • It’s better to create an market something people already want instead of something you think they should want
  • Passion projects are fun, but are more often going to leave you out of cash and frustrated because people don’t like your “thing”.
  • Only gamble what you can afford to lose on early passion projects
  • Passion projects can work, but understanding the difference between your weird niche passion and thousands of others that also hold that interest is important
  • Verify your internet “research” with real people in your target niche
  • An awesome app won’t magically find the users. You need to correctly position, market and advertise
  • There is a time to use templates and a time to go custom
  • Protect your projects and assets with license keys
  • Talk to other developers. In person, chat, phone etc.
  • Help other developers.
  • There is more than enough potential and opportunity today to get started with apps or keep on going
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Could you figure it out in 8 hours? Maybe, but someone better might do it in 1.
  • After going through the process a few times (so you know what’s involved), focus on what you are good at and get others for the rest

 

 

 

The App Store Today!

 

The App Store today is an interesting place and by interesting, I mean really fucking exciting. It’s a place that is constantly changing based on >

  • User preference
  • Regulations
  • Marketing Techniques
  • Policies
  • Developer perception
  • Template costs
  • Programming costs
  • Design costs
  • Advertising costs
  • Advertising methods
  • Influencers in the space promoting or not promoting
  • Culture
  • New tech

You get the point. Based on all those I’ve sure you might want to know where I think we are right now. Well I think I’ll save the long answer for another blog post, but the best way to put it is >

There is a ton of opportunity, but it’s not being claimed by the indie devs. It’s being claimed by whoever is dominating day in a day out. The big companies, the old crappy apps that still rank high for keywords, the apps that get traffic from websites that aren’t even updated. We are in a weird place right now where the majority of indie developers have quit or about to quit because they either don’t understand the market or don’t want to adapt and put in the work to what it will take to survive.

Things like >

  • Pricing structures going from free with all ads to free with paid subscriptions and backend marketing.
  • Optimizing for new devices like iPhone X. Some apps take a lot of work to do this
  • Consolidating from hundreds of ok apps to a small portfolio of good apps with 1-2 great ones.
  • Using a combination of creative niche marketing (something we do a lot of. Engaged Niche Hacks Masterclass. Email me for more info), Paid advertising, Influencer Marketing and the old school > Buzz Marketing

It just takes more to get the same result initially, but the reason I like that is a lot of people just quit, so maybe at first we need to work extra hard, and do it right. However, after we get over the hump, there’s less great competition.

Let me say that again. Not less competition. Less great competition.

I’ll do a complete write up of the market soon, but let’s move on to “what are we working on”.

 

 

What Are We Working On?

 

I’m working on a 7 main things right now. Let’s say these are quarterly objectives and it doesn’t mean I’m actually working on 7 things at once, it means someone in my network is. I’m working on 1-2 things this week, max. Some of these actually need to be done in order too, so you know I’m not doing them all at once

1.) Some private projects with a partner (including a dev shop).

2.) A Photo App

3.) A new niche emoji app using our emoji builder that combines custom emojis and traditional emojis + captions and backgrounds.

4.) The new emoji app in #3, will be promoted using methods from our previously mentioned (and soon to be launched in the future course) “Engaged Niche Hacks Master Class”. This will show current relevant methods at work using our awesome template and probably be sold in a bundle. I’m really excited about this because it will be a step by step guide of a real launch using the methods.

5.) Another version of the emoji builder, but a more generalized theme showcasing yet another angle you could use the builder for.

6.) New Facebook Ads Course. This will come after numbers 3 & 4 are done. It will show how you can use facebook ads more effectively once you have an initial user data. It will also show how facebook and instagram ads are still alive and well, despite what you might hear or think.

7.) Steadily growing this site to attract developers that are excited about apps. The market is strong, it’s just different now. Different is scaring a lot of people, but I welcome it. It kills off a lot of the lazy uncreative developers and influencers in the space.

 

That’s it for today.

Thanks for reading.

-Todd

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