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Made app free yesterday, moved up to #90 today, seeking advice

06-15-2011, 12:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Made app free yesterday, moved up to #90 today, seeking advice

Yesterday, I made my app Hairpaint free as an experiment because after
some initial traction it was only selling one or two a day at 99 cents.

Hairpaint for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

Today, I woke up and it was at #150 free/Entertainment and currently at
#90 and seems to be continuing to rise.

Wondering how best to proceed or if it is too early to tell...

Should I submit an update with banner ads?
Switch it back to paid and create another lite version?

I am also wondering if this traction is simply the result of the price change
from paid to free being picked up on various sites. I only advertised the change here and on iphonedevsdk and have not received many clicks for
those announcements.

Would love some advice from people who have more experience with this.
06-15-2011, 12:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
yep that is how it goes!
whenever the price of an app changes, a ton of bots notice and broadcast it all over the place (sites, twitter accounts, etc) and then it disseminates from there. All the bottom-feeders scrape it up and then you have all these DLs because people sense a value in "getting something for free that previously cost, and will potentially cost again"

How to capitalize? I'll tell you what NOT to do. If you switch back to paid, it will go right back to where it was when it was originally paid (a handful of DLs a day). You might see a slight increase (like, 15 or 20 rather than 1 or 2) for a couple days, but then it will slide exactly back to where it was.

So what to do?

Putting banner ads in is an idea - you might piss off the people who originally paid for the app, but if you sold <100 to begin with I say screw 'em (and if one or two people actually email you to complain, just paypal them a buck to satisfy them). I am not sure of how many have done this, but it sounds reasonable to me. On the other hand, if you'd sold a good thousand or so already, then you might not wanna piss those folks off so much - especially if they are following you on a forum or something. Others should weigh in at this point.

IAP (in app purchase) is your friend at this point. Find a way to monetize your app with some sort of value-add. Even if it is something purely cosmetic, put something in there which will get you a possibility of a sale. The longer you stay free and the more DLs you accrue, the more likely it is that some people might actually enjoy your app and be willing to throw a buck or two at some item of perceived value, so long as it is not absolute drivel. You'd do well to capitalize on this ASAP.

As for climbing the chart, even if you do get a little press out of this (unlikely) it becomes harder to ascend the higher you go, without some substantial coverage or something I'd imagine. You need to do serious numbers to get up into the Top 50 in All Free Apps, and even more ridiculous for Top 25 and etc. Watch your ranks, but don't expect to go much further unless you notice you really are getting some wild attention from somewhere (and if you can, fuel that somehow)

Good luck!

BTW app looks good. not my cup of tea, but just the kind of thing which COULD get some real nice DLs if the world knew it existed!!
06-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 21
Great advice from headcaseGames.
What you could also do is update the app frequently with new content, to keep people interested and make it an universal app.
06-15-2011, 03:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Yes, thank you for the advice!
I had not thought about banner ads impacting the people who already
downloaded, good point! It is certainly less than 1000 but then they did
not pay to have an app with ads in it.

The problem is that a lite version will have trouble gaining momentum because
it does not have the advantage of bots picking up a price change.

In app purchases are a possibility, that would take a little while to update the
app with new options and learn how to integrate them properly.