March 28, 2011

It Wasn't An Honor Just To Be Nominated

Getting noticed is the hardest part of app development. Developing an app is straightforward (granted you have the idea). Managing provisioning profiles and submitting it to the App Store can be a painful experience, but nothing that a few hours of Googling will not get you through. Setting the price can be a fantastic internal struggle, but one that you will be wrestling with for months. Bring your app to market was the easy it is the part that will make-or-break your business.

Getting your app noticed by Apple is a great way to begin the release of a new app. Out of the 5 apps released by BabyBinks over the past 2 years, 3 have been featured as New & Noteworthy. Based on the comparisons to 2 apps that were "overlooked", spending a week in the top row of the App Store makes a tremendous differnce in the life-cycle of your app. As an example, Elephonics (not featured) and Zombies Vs. Literacy (featured) are simply different themed versions of the same app, the difference between being featured translates into a 100 fold difference in downloads (to date).

And the Award Goes To

Being 'New & Noteworthy' is a great start, but it will not last very long. To sustain interest in you app, you have to do a lot of marketing (and this means more than just posting it on Facebook and tweeting about it on Twitter). There are many channels to market apps, and, despite what you may have been told, all of them are the same as marketing any product or service.

One channel that developers often overlook is awards. In the app market, winning awards is very social and a great marketing campaign (and a lot of friends) can vote your app into a nomination, or even the award winning spot.

And speaking of awards, I recently received an email for the Google Alert I set for Zombies Vs. Literacy. I clicked on the link and was directed to the Ericsson Labs blog for a post titled Vote on the Best Literacy Application. My excitment grew when I saw the full context for the reference:

Today is the World Read Aloud Day. Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and Take Action for Global Literacy.

Let’s read aloud for someone. Read at home, at work, in a public space, on the train or anywhere. Read a book, a magazine or let the book be read by a device. Many applications exist that support reading text aloud.

We, at Ericsson Labs, support this World Read Aloud Day initiative and want to take action to show the world that the ability to read and write belongs to all people.

Today you can vote for the best literacy application. We have gathered 10 proposals we have received in a list below. Take a look at them and vote for the one you think is the best. They are web sites, web applications, Android applications and iPhone/ iPad applications.

Time to Dust Off My Awards Shelf

Move over Elementary School "Perfect Attendance" trophy. It's time for some real hardware. First, this is Ericsson in Sony-Ericsson. Except for their recent attempt to create a Walkman, iPod "killer", Sony-Ericsson is one of the most successful companies in the world. Second, my app is on the same list as the Kindle app (Amazon) and The Cat in the Hat (Oceanhouse Media). That is pretty good company. Third, they have "gathered proposals". Someone actually like my app enough to submit a propsal for it to be considered for this award.

How do you know that I did not just submit a proposal for my app and then fein this fake humility? Look closely you can see for yourself:

Instead of linking Zombies Vs. Literacy to the App Store, the link is actually for an app pirating site. Clicking on the link takes you to a page where you can download the hacked .ipa file that you can download to your iPhone.

But I Just Dusted

As much as I appreciate the recognition for our app, I have to say this is one award I will not be touting too much. I realize its just an Ericsson Lab's blog, but I would have expected slightly more attention to detail from a global, billion dollar company. Especially one who is struggling to mount a response to the iPhone and will want to lure developers to its plaform.

Of course it does not really matter, as nothing could possibly trump my back-to-back-to-back "Best Dad of the Year" awards received each Father's Day...and, at least, I have the t-shirt, tie,and coffee mug to prove it.