Matt and I have always been serious about earning from the AppStore (we’ve written a book about it), but of course we wasn’t earning enough from our apps to quit our full time jobs.
Just like everyone else on earth, we loved the idea of a quick and easy way to earn lots of cash, we decided to come up with a real strategy… How can we earn enough from the AppStore to quit our jobs?
Chris Anderson popularised the long tail theory in his book titled “Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More”.
The idea behind the long tail in business is quite simple, but very powerful, and the AppStore is a perfect example of where a long tail strategy would work perfectly.
“Instead of trying to make that one app that earns $10,00 a month, why don’t we just publish 200 apps that only earn $50 a month”
Even our worst performing absolute junk apps were performing better than $50 a month. And we’d already seen plenty of developers with many hundreds of apps on the store.
We needed a plan…
We needed to create a high volume of apps, that were each different enough for us to cover a good variety of search keywords. We also need to be able to build them fast, by fast we meant seven or eight apps per evening, and perhaps 30 or 40 at weekends.
We settled on the idea of creating jigsaw puzzle apps, each app with 10 jigsaw puzzles based around one idea like cars, animals, places etc.
We were able to buy a jigsaw puzzle app project from codecanyon, which made it really easy to make multiple copies, and just swap out the images.
We would have 200 apps in no time. We got to work.
We started out “Super Puzzles” brand:
Car Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Impossible Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Pug Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Horse Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Africa Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Plane Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
London Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
Boat Jigsaw Puzzles: Super Puzzles
We were able to publish seven apps to the AppStore every evening, we were just a few weeks away from our 200 apps goal.
On the very first evening that the apps were published, we earned an impressive $81 in AppStore proceeds, from just seven apps with no marketing. We was very excited, it really did look like in just a few weeks, we would be earning enough from our apps to quit our full-time jobs.
The puzzle apps were earning around $2 to $3 every day, it looked like our 200 apps were going to earn us over $12,000 every month.
As you might have expected, our success didn’t last long…
“We found that your app provides the same feature set as other apps you’ve submitted to the App Store; it simply varies the content or language.”
It turns out that (at least some of) Apple’s review team do take the time to compare the apps that they have in review to other apps you’ve previously published.
No more jigsaw puzzle apps were published to the AppStore. We were still working full time.
Matt and I have written a book which tells more of our AppStore stories, from struggling to attract users to being featured on the AppStore and everything in between… We think most app developers can learn something from our experiences.