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Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
posted
First - let me start this by saying I'm not directing this at anyone in particular, and especially not anyone here. For those of you that have bought my app, thank you. For those of you who haven't, this is NOT directed at you!


Now.. As some of you may know, I've been working on developing an Android app for several months now. I've put in literally hundreds of hours behind the keyboard to make a really quality product, and I've been adding feature after feature, at the request of users. It's been fun, educational, frustrating, and maddening, all at the same time.

For whatever reason, today, as I sit down to work on it again, I find myself a bit demotivated. It's been on the market for coming up on 3 months, and has fewer than 100 downloads.


Trying to make a product that makes everyone happy is very frustrating, especially when you know that most of them won't go buy it anyway. "$7 is too expensive!" Well, Google takes $2.10 of that, and I have literally worked almost every weekend, 12-14 hours per day, for the past 3 months trying to make them all happy - not to mention spending countless hours during the evening during the week. Without exaggerating, I have probably 400 hours into this app, and there are over 15,000 lines of code. For my troubles, I get $4.89 for each purchase. I'm sorry I don't want to give my efforts away for free.

If the app doesn't meet their needs, or they're too tight in the wallet to buy it, why can't they just keep their mouths shut and move along? Why must they be dickheads about it?


I even went so far as to create a free version that is full-featured, but limited in the number of items that can be stored in the database, to allow people to try before they buy. What did I get for my troubles? A bunch of illiterate dumbfucks who leave negative reviews saying "This app is junk, you can't store more than 2 items in it". Well NO FUCKING SHIT!! Read the damned app description! That's by design! If you want to store an unlimited number of items, go buy the fucking full version!!!!

Of course, as the developer, I can leave replies to reviews, but I cannot contest them or dispute them. As a result, the app rating is in the toilet because of a bunch of people that don't know how to fucking read, and never come back to adjust their ratings after I've politely pointed these facts out to them.

Motherfucker. Why do I bother?


Sorry for ranting about this here, I know many of you have been incredibly supportive, and I am forever in your debt for the ideas you've provided thus far. But the rest of the world is really, REALLY irritating. Frown




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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What's the app?
 
Posts: 17668 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
Picture of Aeteocles
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I don't have any experience with your app, but have you considered changing the price? $7 for an app is on the high end of apps, I think.

$5 profit times 100 downloads is less than $1 profit on 1000 downloads.

Also, apps grow off of user growth. Nobody wants to download an app that's only got 100 downloads, but something with 1000 downloads looks more legit. More users also means more positive reviews, which gets more users, and the cycle is self sustaining.

$2.99 is usually my threshold for buying a random app. $1.99 is my comfort area for apps without real need.

I'm the digital market place, 3 stars is like no stars... People only buy things that are 4 stars or above.

I'd pull the app, or update it to a Pro version, charge $1.99 for it, and make sure the reviews are 4 stars or above.
 
Posts: 9126 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by Aeteocles:
I don't have any experience with your app, but have you considered changing the price? $7 for an app is on the high end of apps, I think.

$5 profit times 100 downloads is less than $1 profit on 1000 downloads.

Also, apps grow off of user growth. Nobody wants to download an app that's only got 100 downloads, but something with 1000 downloads looks more legit. More users also means more positive reviews, which gets more users, and the cycle is self sustaining.

$2.99 is usually my threshold for buying a random app. $1.99 is my comfort area for apps without real need.

I'm the digital market place, 3 stars is like no stars... People only buy things that are 4 stars or above.

I'd pull the app, or update it to a Pro version, charge $1.99 for it, and make sure the reviews are 4 stars or above.


Yes, I'm aware of the economics of scale, but there's a few problems with it, at least in my mind:

1 - the potential user market is rather small. It's not a game, it's a utility specifically aimed at a small segment of the population. I knew this going in. I didn't write it to get rich or to retire, and that's ok. Like I said, not my intent.

2 - if I permanently lower the price, won't that piss off all the people who already paid $7?



As for the other suggestions - the free version is the one getting most of the shitty reviews. The paid, or "pro" version, is currently rater 4.667 stars. There was one illiterate asshole that left 2 stars, complaining the app didn't have features that were never listed in the description to begin with. Many other people left 4 stars, with recommendations for features ("It would be awesome if it did X"). I added their requested features, and they upped their rating to 5 stars. Kind of how it should work IMO.


Rogue - the app is an inventory app that keeps track of reloading supplies and ammo. Does commercial centerfire ammo, rimfire ammo, reload recipies & quantities on hand, as well as of course tracks brass, powder, primer, and bullets. There's a low inventory setting, and a shopping list feature that shows you what you're low on so you can easily check it when at the gun shop, tracks lot numbers, number of times brass has been fired, automatically increments the number of times the brass has been fired after you return it to inventory (click "shoot" on the ammo, then enter how many pieces of brass you picked up, then it asks if you want to increment the number of times they've been fired), there are preferences to turn many features on/off, all sorts of stuff. I've put a TON of work into it.

The UI is easy to navigate, and well-done. I wouldn't say the UI is "professional" quality, but it is pretty damned nice, and definitely gets the job done.


I'm currently working on adding shotgun components/ammo/load info/commercial inventory, as well as adding component cost to it. Cost has been a long-requested feature, but unfortunately, also one of the more complex ones to implement. I think I've finally figured out how I want to do it, so I'm hoping to have it done this weekend. If not, it'll at least be in this next release, which might not be until next weekend. Depends. Simply adding the shotgun stuff, I had to define 5 more classes, extend the database by 5 more tables, and there will be another 20 UI activities that need to be defined to accommodate it, as well as countless other changes to things like the low inventory list and the preferences tables. All told, I'll probably have over 40 hours into just the shotgun piece (I started it earlier this week).


As for how "legit" it looks, the app store description is over 4000 characters long, and lays out the functions & features quite well. There are 8 screenshots of the app (the max allowed), so people should be able to easily see if the app meets their needs.


My main gripe is not about the number (or lack) of people who have downloaded/purchased it, but more about those who have not having nothing but negative things to say and being assholes.

I posted about the new version last weekend in a very large reloading board, and some asshole came along and said "This app has low reputation". What the FUCK does that even mean? There's certainly no "reputation" in the Play store, and 4.6/5 stars isn't good enough for you fucker? How about you just die in a fire you piss-ant little asshole?


I don't understand people. Everyone just wants to shit on other people's efforts.




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hear you.

That's why any time I've written an application that I de ide to share with the world, I make the app do what I want it to do and I distribute it for free.

My thinking: I'll never make enough off it to pay for my time, and if I charge for it people will expect me to fix whatever they don't like about it. If it's free and somebody doesn't like it,or there's a bug I don't have time to fix or I don't feel like fixing... oh well. And when I lose interest and it becomes "abandonware" nobody has a right to complain.

I'm not saying you shouldn't charge for your app. I'm saying I GET how annoying users can be, and how slim the profit margins are. Unless you write a killer app, you'll never get paid for the time it takes for you to write a really professional quality app.

Sad but true.
 
Posts: 1158 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: April 24, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by PeterGV:
I hear you.

That's why any time I've written an application that I de ide to share with the world, I make the app do what I want it to do and I distribute it for free.

My thinking: I'll never make enough off it to pay for my time, and if I charge for it people will expect me to fix whatever they don't like about it. If it's free and somebody doesn't like it,or there's a bug I don't have time to fix or I don't feel like fixing... oh well. And when I lose interest and it becomes "abandonware" nobody has a right to complain.

I'm not saying you shouldn't charge for your app. I'm saying I GET how annoying users can be, and how slim the profit margins are. Unless you write a killer app, you'll never get paid for the time it takes for you to write a really professional quality app.

Sad but true.


That's sort of what happened. I wrote it to do what I wanted, then a couple friends said "This is nice, you could probably make a few bucks."

I didn't expect to make a LOT, like I said - but it's turned into a rabbithole nonetheless. Frown




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Once a Marine,
always a Marine
Picture of Ronin1069
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That sucks, Exx.

It was pointed out by some that your price might be high, and while I agree, I think it is important to stress what you have already pointed out...this is not an app the average user will buy. This is for the reloaders, and then on top of that will be most useful to the 'super reloaders'.

Now I don't know any stats on who among us reloads (I don't), but if I did, I would want your app. Not only that, but I would pay more money for your app than say, the latest version of whatever dopy game I am currently playing.

Why? Because you are filling a need I have.


I don't know anything about reloading; so forgive me if I am overstepping here, but heck, you did post the rant in the forum so I hope you appreciate the feedback.

Are you marketing the app? I ask because I Googled "reloading apps for android". Your app did did not show up....

A number of reloading apps did though, most around $3.99. I saw a number of others that were free, but permit in-app purchases.

Here is something else that really stood out, I saw a number of known hunting/gun sites who did reviews of different apps. If you could get your listed in an article like this, I bet it would really make a difference: <prices on the 11 apps listed below range from free all the way up to $29>

11 Best Ballistics Apps for Every Shooter


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Posts: 7848 | Location: Minneapolis | Registered: January 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by Ronin1069:
That sucks, Exx.

It was pointed out by some that your price might be high, and while I agree, I think it is important to stress what you have already pointed out...this is not an app the average user will buy. This is for the reloaders, and then on top of that will be most useful to the 'super reloaders'.

Now I don't know any stats on who among us reloads (I don't), but if I did, I would want your app. Not only that, but I would pay more money for your app than say, the latest version of whatever dopy game I am currently playing.

I don't know anything about reloading; so forgive me if I am overstepping here, but heck, you did post the rant in the forum so I hope you appreciate the feedback.

Are you marketing the app? I ask because I Googled "reloading apps for android". Your app did did not show up....

A number of reloading apps did though, most around $3.99. I saw a number of others that were free, but permit in-app purchases.

Here is something else that really stood out, I saw a number of known hunting/gun sites who did reviews of different apps. If you could get your listed in an article like this, I bet it would really make a difference: <prices on the 11 apps listed below range from free all the way up to $29>

11 Best Ballistics Apps for Every Shooter


It's not a reloading app; it's a reloading inventory app. Enter: reloading inventory apps for android and it's the first result.

I'd love to get it reviewed by some magazine or some such, but I have zero idea how to go about doing so.


in-app purchases are an idea I've toyed with.

Once I get all the features into this version that I want, I'm considering writing a "lite" version that will be like $.99 or something, and come with a limited set of features. If users want additional features, they can buy them a la carte within the app. The "pro" version would continue to get all future features for free based on their much higher initial purchase price.




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raptorman
Picture of Mars_Attacks
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Welcome to capitalism.


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Posts: 29454 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by Mars_Attacks:
Welcome to capitalism.


Unfortunately, one of the things I didn't study in great detail.

Do you have any suggestions?




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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quote:
Originally posted by Mars_Attacks:
Welcome to capitalism.


This is what I also think. Those of us who own our own businesses and have retail products know the song you're singing.

I have a few suggestions, and you'll probably like none.

One, your skin must grow thicker. Let it go.

Two, you need a marketer or publicist (and I know how many of us can afford a good one..I know). So many people have put great ideas or businesses together only to watch them go bust because the general public didn't care enough to understand the concept or usefulness of the product -
think Silicon Valley with the main characters developing their own separate app, and ultimately having seminars and using a clicker farm to build up users ( not suggesting that, though) because no one "got it".

Three, drop the price. It is too high. I understand you worked tremendously hard on it.

Every day I have to take a loss on the services our business provides in order to get more people through our door (some insurance companies adjust 20%, typically. And yearly, reimbursements drop. The exchange is that the insurance company supposedly puts me on a plan that many people carry -hopefully). I can't "jack up my price" because I have to charge U&C to everyone, and that means people that walk in and pay cash can't be charged less than others...

And every day I hear from someone, not about how appreciated that service is, but that they'll be going online to get the associated product cheaper. I just keep smiling, and try to think of new ways to engage the public. I have very few dollars for advertising or marketing.
My skin has gotten thicker.

On another note, and maybe this doesn't appeal to you at all, but it seems like you're an amazing cook. You're always inspiring me on here with your recipes. If you really like coding, and wanted to play around, have you thought about creating an app that might take a few ingredients and turn it into a fabulous meal-like what's on sale at the store today (think harried working moms or little old ladies with coupons), or what's left in the frig (think college students for this last one). Maybe these are dumb or already used ideas, or you just want to stick with modifying your current app. Just throwing it out there.


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Posts: 3112 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Once a Marine,
always a Marine
Picture of Ronin1069
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quote:
On another note, and maybe this doesn't appeal to you at all, but it seems like you're an amazing cook. You're always inspiring me on here with your recipes. If you really like coding, and wanted to play around, have you thought about creating an app that might take a few ingredients and turn it into a fabulous meal-like what's on sale at the store today (think harried working moms or little old ladies with coupons), or what's left in the frig (think college students for this last one). Maybe these are dumb or already used ideas, or you just want to stick with modifying your current app. Just throwing it out there.


He is an AMAZING cook, and has inspired me to spend even more time prepping ahead to ensure that the end result is what I would want it to be. I've actually go some ideas on what that app would look like. Jeff if you are interested let me know and I'll shoot you an email with some notes!


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Posts: 7848 | Location: Minneapolis | Registered: January 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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Irreverent - thanks for the kind words about my cooking.

As for the skin - it's normally fairly thick, I think, I just needed a place to vent (and get suggestions, as it would turn out). As I previously mentioned, I'm not against lowering the price to make up more in volume, but I'm concerned about pissing off the people who already spent $7. Should this not be a concern? If it should, how do I handle it?

Ronin - sure, send me an email. I've been thinking about that for a while, but have no idea what it would look like. Thanks!




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The success of a solution usually depends upon your point of view
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For the past few years I have been working on mobility at the enterprise level of my company which consists of around 200ish companies. Some insight that may or any not apply.

1. You have created a specialized app for a very small subset of users. You will never make any money off of it simply due to the size of the pool of users.
One of the first things we analyze is the potential impact across the company. I have files of proposed apps that are awesome ideas but we never developed because the return on investment just was just not there. We have made exceptions with apps targeting safety but rarely.

2. You are charging way too much. I present mobility solutions to our companies around the world. One of the first questions is always what does it cost to implement?
As mentioned, users are used to seeing apps for .99 - 2.99. This has nothing to do with the value of your app, people just look at price before they look at the app.

3. Keep in mind that I am not familiar with your app, but I cringed when you said that you keep adding features.
We have learned that the less an app does the more useful and the more used it is. At some point the app does too much for a mobile device and users would rather use a computer.
Some of our most successful apps only do one thing, but they do that one thing great.
Have you considered breaking your app into multiple apps that each do a different part? You want to maintain the look and feel across all of them to keep them tied together and if possible, they can talk to each other to generate reports and such but you could hit the 1.99 price point each and maybe offer a bundle for a higher price.

4. Create a few simple apps that use the same UI standards such as a gun inventory app (with pictures). They don't need to be revolutionary apps but they will develop you as a brand. Once someone likes one of your apps they are more likely to try your other apps.

5. Dump the free version or look into increasing the functionality and embedding advertisements in it. It is causing you extra work without any return.



“Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.” - Vince Vaughn

 
Posts: 2134 | Location: Jacksonville, FL | Registered: September 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by SpinZone:
For the past few years I have been working on mobility at the enterprise level of my company which consists of around 200ish companies. Some insight that may or any not apply.

1. You have created a specialized app for a very small subset of users. You will never make any money off of it simply due to the size of the pool of users.
One of the first things we analyze is the potential impact across the company. I have files of proposed apps that are awesome ideas but we never developed because the return on investment just was just not there. We have made exceptions with apps targeting safety but rarely.

2. You are charging way too much. I present mobility solutions to our companies around the world. One of the first questions is always what does it cost to implement?
As mentioned, users are used to seeing apps for .99 - 2.99. This has nothing to do with the value of your app, people just look at price before they look at the app.

3. Keep in mind that I am not familiar with your app, but I cringed when you said that you keep adding features.
We have learned that the less an app does the more useful and the more used it is. At some point the app does too much for a mobile device and users would rather use a computer.
Some of our most successful apps only do one thing, but they do that one thing great.
Have you considered breaking your app into multiple apps that each do a different part? You want to maintain the look and feel across all of them to keep them tied together and if possible, they can talk to each other to generate reports and such but you could hit the 1.99 price point each and maybe offer a bundle for a higher price.

4. Create a few simple apps that use the same UI standards such as a gun inventory app (with pictures). They don't need to be revolutionary apps but they will develop you as a brand. Once someone likes one of your apps they are more likely to try your other apps.

5. Dump the free version or look into increasing the functionality and embedding advertisements in it. It is causing you extra work without any return.


Thank you for the detailed insight, I honestly appreciate it. My responses, organized by your numbering.

1. I was aware of this going in, I knew there was a very small subset of the population as a whole. I also was not expecting the app to be "discovered" immediately and be an overnight sensation. I think that regardless the price that I set it at, if I someday ever see more than 1000 users, it would be about the limit. Like I said, I didn't do it to get rich (with this app) - it started as me wanting the features in it, and them not existing anywhere that I could find, so I wrote it.

2. Again, if I drop the price, won't that piss off the existing users who did pay $7? How do I respond to that? Do I just say "Sorry"? I really would like some insight here before I go make it cheaper (which, again, I'm not opposed to at this point).

3. That is an interesting observation (that users would rather just use a computer). The app stores information about reloading components (powder, primer, brass, bullets), load data, as well as commercial centerfire ammo and rimfire ammo. Since it's inception, the rimfire ammo has been added, as well as the commercial ammo. I'm working now on a shotgun ammo section. I suppose I call them "features", but really, they are simply additional datapoints for the same UI and fit with the overall theme of the app. If I understand you correctly, you propose that I break them apart and do like "centerfire reloading/ammo" and "shotgun reloading/ammo", and charge less for them individually, but maintain the same UI for continuity?

4. Understood, and I'm working on this. I have some other ideas for some apps, and have begun writing another one already.

5. The free version really isn't costing me much extra work. It's literally the same code base, I'm just using variants in Android studio. The free version simply has maybe a dozen extra lines of code in the dbhandler section, one for each data type, to check the number of records in the database prior to the INSERT statement. That's how I've capped the number of items that can be entered. Everything else is code from main.


What are your thoughts on the "lite" version for $.99 or $1.99 with not many features, and allowing users to purchase features a la carte via in-app purchases?




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Once a Marine,
always a Marine
Picture of Ronin1069
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quote:
2. Again, if I drop the price, won't that piss off the existing users who did pay $7? How do I respond to that? Do I just say "Sorry"? I really would like some insight here before I go make it cheaper (which, again, I'm not opposed to at this point).


Exx,

A few thoughts on this one.

1) they already bought it, it's not like you are going to give refunds.

2) It is no different than someone buying a new PC for $1400 and then 2 months later seeing that exact PC on sale at Best buy for $999.99. It happens.

3) If anyone does complain, having a simple copy/paste response available would be a good thing. Something like, "Thanks for your feedback on the app pricing. To reach a larger population of reloaders, we are exploring different pricing options and in-app purchases. To thank you for your initial investment I have added you to a list of customers who will receive a free upgrade of XYX...blah blah blah..." You get what I am trying to say.


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Posts: 7848 | Location: Minneapolis | Registered: January 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by Ronin1069:
quote:
2. Again, if I drop the price, won't that piss off the existing users who did pay $7? How do I respond to that? Do I just say "Sorry"? I really would like some insight here before I go make it cheaper (which, again, I'm not opposed to at this point).


Exx,

A few thoughts on this one.

1) they already bought it, it's not like you are going to give refunds.

2) It is no different than someone buying a new PC for $1400 and then 2 months later seeing that exact PC on sale at Best buy for $999.99. It happens.

3) If anyone does complain, having a simple copy/paste response available would be a good thing. Something like, "Thanks for your feedback on the app pricing. To reach a larger population of reloaders, we are exploring different pricing options and in-app purchases. To thank you for your initial investment I have added you to a list of customers who will receive a free upgrade of XYX...blah blah blah..." You get what I am trying to say.


Ok. In the interest of driving more traffic and lowering the price, I configured a sale to begin tonight at midnight. $4.49 is the sale price. The sale runs for one week. I guess we'll see what that does to purchases. I chose this price because it seems my biggest "competitor" app is $4.33 (except it has several pretty scathing reviews, and the UI is.... sub-par). We'll see how that works out I guess?




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The success of a solution usually depends upon your point of view
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by exx1976:
3. (Snip) If I understand you correctly, you propose that I break them apart and do like "centerfire reloading/ammo" and "shotgun reloading/ammo", and charge less for them individually, but maintain the same UI for continuity?
-this is one model, or, offer the full basic functionality in a lower priced app with in-app purchases to enable other functional modes.


5. The free version really isn't costing me much extra work.
-it is costing you your reputation by the rating.


What are your thoughts on the "lite" version for $.99 or $1.99 with not many features, and allowing users to purchase features a la carte via in-app purchases?
-a lite and a pro version could be a good model.



“Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.” - Vince Vaughn

 
Posts: 2134 | Location: Jacksonville, FL | Registered: September 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
Picture of exx1976
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quote:
Originally posted by SpinZone:

-it is costing you your reputation by the rating.



Oddly enough, as I was reading your reply, my phone buzzed and someone just left me a 5-star review on the free app (the one that's been getting the crap - the paid app is rated 4.667/5). That should boost it back above 4 stars as soon as the review hits the Play store. LOL


In any event, if I do the "lite" version, I'll pull the free version. No point to it any longer at that point.




Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 
Posts: 15302 | Location: Location, Location  | Registered: April 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of jbcummings
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Software development is nearly as thankless an occupation as any. I did it in a corporate environment for 30 years. We'd get detailed requirements then design everything around those. You'd then get someone who had NO input into the requirements raise holy hell and trash the software with his whole department because some color used wasn't compatible with his sensitivities. Always treat it as a learning experience. Next time you can approach it with a different model. Maybe release a lite version first and use that as the stepping stone to go forward.

And yeah, I did screw that die down and it's working much better, so thanks. Maybe you'll feel better in the morning.


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"Qui desiderat pacem, bellum praeparat; nemo provocare ne offendere audet quem intelliget superiorem esse pugnaturem".
(Whosoever desires peace prepares for war; no one provokes, nor dares to offend, those who they know to be superior in battle.)
-- Flavius Vegetius Renatus,
 
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