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November 18, 2008

Shifty Economics

by shiftyjelly

Graham, our main ‘competitor’ in the BOM weather space here in Australia has made public his figures for the last 2 weeks:

We don’t really consider him to be in direct competition with us, but not for the reasons you think. You see we mainly treat this as a hobby, and have already been overwhelmed by the amount of people that have thought our app worth paying $2.50 for. We thank you, as does Apple and the Australian Government, who have each kindly taken a chunk. My wife thanks you too, as she is finally getting the new kitchen she has always wanted (partly funded with your generosity). Graham has broken down the economics of this quite well, so there’s no need for us to explain it again ($2.50 == $1.58).

On to the point though, Graham posted a graph with full figures, which got me down a bit. You see we outsold him quite heavily, which the competitive side of me is very proud of. The more rational part of me is sad though, because like I said we do this as a hobby, and it is no fun to find out that coming second to market, with a very good app, means not getting anywhere near the sales of the first application that comes out. Especially since we plan to release a few applications that are already in the store, but do things better than the current crop of apps out there. Traditional sales people will tell you that there are three key factors to success: be the first, be the best, or be the cheapest. Our small sample set of 2 hasn’t really tested this theory, but my feeling is that in the app store you either have to be first, or just be lucky enough to get noticed, and propelled into the top 25.

One interesting thing to note, is that we are currently sitting at #25, while Graham’s app is at around #8. This is because iTunes top 50 stats are just like the music top 50 charts, in that it changes every day and it’s by recent purchases, not overall purchases. The downside of this process is that even the greatest of songs can never stay at #1, and the same is true of applications on the iTunes Store.

Finally, even though we are not as open as Graham (in that we don’t ever intend to post sales figures), we thought for interests sake we’d post the trend graph of the last two months or so worth of sales. What’s of interest is the way sales dip as the market gets saturated…slowly trended down. The app store is not all beer and skittles is all we’re saying. Pocket Weather is in red and Pocket Sounds in blue. The spike in Pocket Sounds sales was from when we updated the application icon, and it jumped to the top of the ‘Entertainment’ category for a short while.


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