So as promised, here's more data about how the release of Piratizer Lite helped the sales of the full version of Piratizer. As expected, it did create a light (ha) boost in sales. Here's the graph - the large spike around June 1 was about when the Lite version was released:
So it's still a little early to conclusively call it a trend, but the release of the Lite version seems to have boosted sales of Piratizer by about 4-5x. Sales are now around 20-25 per day.
The one thing I know the sales won't do is stay constant, but imagining that they did, 25 sales per day would be about 9000 per year. Add in say 5 more apps pulling similar numbers and you could have yourself a nice little source of passive income, which is a good thing to have during these days of recessions and layoffs.
It's looking more and more like Piratizer won't achieve the great success of CubeCheater, which is what I had feared and intended to test by making the app. Certainly with 50,000 apps now in the App Store, only a select few are going to be making any real amounts of money, given the way the system is set up.
It's been a few weeks since Piratizer was released, so it's about time for an update. Unfortunately the update is not all that good - yet.
After an initial burst of purchases by friends and family (thanks everyone!), daily sales have slowed and and leveled off in the single digits:
Piratizer Sales - First Three Weeks
The problem is the same one that most other iPhone apps face: nobody knows that the app exists. With 40,000 other apps on the App Store, it's impossible to find any apps that aren't in the Top 100 lists, unless you hear about the app through some other means, and then search for it. The trick is to somehow get enough people to buy the app in one 24-hour period that it shows up on the top lists, where lots of other people will see it and then buy it (hopefully).
So far the response from existing customers has been positive, so I'm hoping that the app will be popular if it can just get onto the charts.
CubeCheater was able to really take off once it got mentioned by Wired, Gizmodo, and other high-profile sites. Unfortunately I'm not sure that Piratizer has quite the same "cool factor" required to get mentioned on one of those sites (of course I have submitted it for review to all of those sites, but no luck so far - they probably get hundreds of apps submitted every day, so it's difficult to stand out of the crowd).
Not all hope is lost, though: there are still a lot of other opportunities to increase sales. Since "app visibility" is such a large problem, enterprising developers have come up with lots of ways to tackle it. The first big one I'm going to try is the "Lite" strategy: make a Lite version of the application which has limited features and advertises the full paid version. Huge numbers of people download all the free apps they can get, so any free app is almost guaranteed to be downloaded many times, at least if it's any good. The popularity of the free app will drive some fraction of users to "convert" up to the paid app.
This "demo" strategy has existed forever, but its power on the App Store was only really quantified with the success of the iShoot app, as chronicled in this Wired article. Ethan Nicholas's iShoot tank game was selling slowly until he released iShoot Lite. The Lite version was downloaded 2.4 million times, and that caused the paid version to be downloaded 320,000 times (all numbers are from February - they are certainly higher now). He was smart, though: his app cost $3, so he pulled in a cool million dollars from those sales.
So if Piratizer Lite has even a fraction of that kind of success, then I'll be happy. It's waiting in the Apple approval queue now and will hopefully be approved soon. Once it's been out for a while, I'll make another post about the results!
Late last night Apple approved Piratizer for sale on the iPhone App Store! I only noticed it this morning when I unexpectedly received a sales report saying it had sold 9 copies on Sunday (I still haven't received the email notification from Apple).
Anyway, it will be quite interesting to see the total sales for the first full day it's available for sale (today). Before beginning the full marketing blitz, we need to build up a good stable of reviews and fix any critical bugs that the early users find (hopefully there won't be any). If you'd like a free promo code to download and review the app, let me know!
We finished and uploaded the website just in time. There are still a few things to tweak, but it's pretty much complete. Check it out over at piratizer.com!
I'm still trying to figure out how to fix the thumbnail of the YouTube video to display properly, but at least the video itself works OK. Speaking of the YouTube video, here it is:
If you're reading through an RSS reader or otherwise can't see the embed, here's a link to it on youtube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMlJmdyy-zM.
My trip to China and the craziness immediately beforehand and afterward delayed my new Piratizer iPhone app a little bit, but I'm pleased to note that it's back on track and should be sent off to Apple early next week! There are still a few cool features left to code up, but it's mostly all done.
Here are some sneak preview pictures:
Piratizer uses face-recognition technology to find the faces of all of the people in your photographs and automatically turn them into pirates. There are all kinds of pirates - Buccaneers, Corsairs, Wokou, Vikings, and maybe a super-secret fifth pirate type if we have time.
There's a large collection of all kinds of professionally illustrated pirate gear - hats, eye patches, jewelry, beards, hooks, peg legs, parrots, monkeys, swords, scars - you name it!
Once you're done editing your photo, you can save it and then email it, assign it to a contact, upload it to Facebook, etc. Here's me as a Buccaneer.
UPDATE: Success! After 3.5 days, here are the Google results for 'piratizer':
A sneak preview of Piratizer in action is coming soon .
Wouldn't it be cool if you could take a picture of your friends with your iPhone and it would recognize their faces and automatically turn them into pirates? A couple of my friends and I thought it would, so we got to work on a new iPhone app called Piratizer.
The app is still weeks away from being complete, so the site is currently only a teaser. When it does launch, it's important that the number one web search result for "piratizer" returns our site rather than any of the random things it returns right now. To make that happen we need to seed the web with links to the Piratizer iPhone app web site several weeks in advance.
In case you haven't figured it out, that's what this post is about . If you're a human reading this, then you can move along - there's not much to see here. If you're a crawlbot, welcome! Please crawl all the links in this post, particularly the ones to piratizer.com.