My App Is Better Than Your App! Really . . . It Is.


Michael McAnally - I've been privileged to live in the bay for 27 years now and I've seen and done a few things!

This article might be better titled "What Have I Learned About Building And Profiting From Apps?" The simple answer being it's not as easy as you think! Having a good idea for an app does not make a successful profitable app. You need much more.

Let's take a specific app in case like my app, "Touch Voice". One I have actual real world data on. That's not fair you might say, and you would be absolutely right. My app is not a game (although I have coded some in the past), it's not a social networking app, its not IoT, it's not popular, or even average. I can guarantee you that you have never even heard of it. Although, I'm still going to use it as an example anyway and you should thank me for that.

It basically has grossed over 26,000 dollars in 4 years. Not really great actually, but believe it or not it is better than the average for most apps... Not counting taxes and operating costs, and the simple fact that it has actually put me in some credit card debt, which I'm not going to say just how much. Is it a successful app? Probably not by most standards, but I still think so personally.

Let's face it. Like it or not, most apps usually fail. Ask yourself, how many people do you personally know with a successful app? Then again, ask yourself how many people do you know who have written some app more sophisticated than a simple "hello world"? Spare me, don't try to tell me your get rich quick app idea, I don't care, I've heard them all.

Remember the saying, "There is an app for that!" Well, "there is also a million idiots out there who think they have a good app idea!" You can actually quote me on that one. So why do I think my app is successful? Here is why . . .

I think it is successful because of its outstandingly good karma! You can't really measure karma, but my app has loads and loads of it. It has over 1400+ really dedicated users. People who rely on its very function to speak almost daily. You see my app is a speech-impairment app. It's a new class of apps called "medical apps". It's geared up to help people with all kinds of problems speaking. It may be able to help with medical conditions such as: Stroke, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain tumor, Cerebral palsy, Multiple sclerosis, Ataxia, Dysarthria, Laryngeal Cancer and potentially others which affect a persons speaking abilities.

My app usually sells for $20 and you might say that is a really expensive app, but it is not considering the market and the need. The amount of people in the world with a need for a really high quality speech-impairment app is significantly less than say those who would play a fun game of Angry Birds. Here is my complete story about how and why I created the Touch Voice App. You should tell people about your app creation story, popularize it, a smart strategy. See, I'm already giving you good advice.

What I really wanted to show you in this article was the back-end to the app stores in the image shots throughout this post. I use Apple, Google and my own custom attempt at making PayPal work for me to cut out the 33% and 30% gouge that the big guys steal from struggling app developers like you and me. Yes, that is correct.

Companies like Apple and Google take a third of your profits upfront on every app sale.

Do you think that is fair? Yes you might say, it saves me from setting up my own e-commerce store, security, user feedback, and a thousand other things. Well, you might feel that way, but then you will never save money by setting up a truly web-based developed app with sales using PayPal and an e-commerce website. PayPal transactions can be as low as 1.4% of an app sale. Think about it, that's a significant savings per sale, even if you included hosting costs.

Yes, you will have to setup an e-commerce website. I used open source Drupal 7, Ubercart (a mature and debugged shopping cart). Yes, you will have to purchase a SSL certificate and host on someone like Bluehost. Of course there maybe cheaper solutions, or more advanced ones in the cloud. But let me say, "It is tried and true, and not so easy or so hard to do".

Yes, your customers will probably not go for the SAAS (Software As A Service) approach, when they can buy the app once from the app store of choosing that is so easy to download and install. So this will take some convincing on your part. Eventually, you will start generating sales if you app is compelling, like mine is, since many of my customers use iPads, Android tablets, and the still present desktops and laptops. My sales come from Amazon, Apple, Google and PayPal. Can you say the same?

There are so few successful app stories out there, share yours. Let me give it to you straight, no BS, for those of you who truly have a good app idea, don't give up, you will know it is a good idea, but it is still very very hard work and guaranteed success may still be doubtful. Knowing that going in is always a good thing, because ultimately all is not lost. You might be able to get a job as app developer for some big company like Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, (insert name of large boring corp here), etc.