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How to make $200 a day (and get banned from the Android Market)

Just a few weeks in the past I did one thing which, looking back, was most likely reasonably silly. But it surely was surprisingly profitable whereas it lasted. As I wrote earlier, I’ve been utilizing Google+ for the reason that day after it was launched. I personally acquired an invitation from a stranger who was providing invitations publicly. Because of this, I’ve been eager to share invitations with anybody else who’s in search of one. I put up a submit on this weblog providing free invitations, and obtained an enormous response from the Android group. In reality, there have been so many responses that it overwhelmed my electronic mail after a couple of days. There’s no means I might have stored up with the demand.

Fairly than cease accepting requests altogether, I needed to make it simpler to deal with the load. (NB: At this stage there was no restrict to the variety of Google+ invitations you may ship.) My first thought, attempting to work out a quicker approach to do issues, was “hey, is there an Android app for this?” A fast search turned up a adverse. No Android apps providing Google+ invitations. So, why not make one? It appeared a fairly good concept, so I spent that afternoon writing a easy app that accepted an e mail handle, and an outline of the request. The info was despatched to a PHP script on my server, so I might undergo and invite the e-mail addresses saved in a database.

Truly, it’s not that easy to write down an Android app that POSTs information asynchronously to a server, checks the response, and handles errors gracefully. I re-used some courses from one other unreleased undertaking, but it surely was nonetheless a much bigger job than I anticipated. However the precise coding is a matter for one more day. Probably the most fascinating half got here after I launched the app on the Android Market.

First launch

I titled my app “Google+ Invitations” – since that describes it fairly effectively. As a result of I used to be in a little bit of a rush, I made a decision to simply modify the official Google+ emblem, so that folks may simply establish it as associated to the social community. That is the emblem that I got here up with: Logo for the Google+ Invites App

Slightly too just like the unique maybe? Effectively, I believed it was a inventive adaptation and went with it. Trying on reflection, it wasn’t the wisest thought. However that’s how the app was initially launched to the Android Market, on the ninth July. By the tenth July, the Developer Console was exhibiting 326 installs. I assumed that was fairly good – about the identical quantity as after I first launched Faucet That! Quantity. That variety of installs, you possibly can attribute to being within the “Simply In” class. However this time, the downloads saved coming in. The following day there have been one other 300 installs. The day after, 500, then seven hundred. By the thirteenth, this app had about 1,730 complete installs.

By this time, there have been so many individuals asking for invitations that I merely wasn’t capable of full all of them. Even with a plain-textual content record of e-mail addresses, inviting somebody to Google+ was (at that stage) a really handbook course of. I needed to copy & paste each e mail tackle, click on “Invite”, after which add them to considered one of my circles so they may see my welcome submit. So I used to be hit with the identical dilemma I had providing invitations on the weblog – the right way to reduce down the variety of requests, or prioritise them one way or the other.

The “Factors” System

Behind my thoughts, I knew there was some type of promoting community that used incentive promoting. For these not aware of the terminology – in “regular” promoting streams, the advertiser pays the writer (app developer) when a person clicks the advert. For apparent causes, you’re not allowed to encourage individuals to click on these adverts. However with incentive promoting, you might be. Since you don’t receives a commission after they click on an advert – you receives a commission after they full an motion (corresponding to signing up, downloading an app, and so on.). Wanting round just a little bit, I discovered TapJoy, which is a reasonably effectively established incentive promoting community. The SDK is fairly simple to setup. You really obtain the supply recordsdata, and embrace them in your app TapJoy at present doesn’t provide a JAR library possibility, though I’d wish to see this occur a while quickly. Different networks akin to AdMob use the JAR methodology, and it’s loads easier to combine with supply management.

Google+ Invites
Clicking “Get Factors” masses the TapJoy offerwall

Utilizing TapJoy, I applied a “factors” system in my app. When somebody downloads the app, they’ll submit their e mail deal with to request an invitation instantly. However at this stage, they’ll be positioned on the backside of the queue. With about 2,000 invitations to be processed, it might take some time to get one. If somebody desires to get increased within the queue, they must get extra factors. You may earn factors by finishing provides on TapJoy. This principally includes downloading a recreation, or “liking” one thing on Fb. Easy duties, principally free, however the TapJoy pays me a small quantity each time somebody completes a suggestion. Utilizing this technique, I can hand out the primary invitations to people who find themselves prepared to place a little bit of effort into to get one.

I’ve seen that this technique is a bit controversial. Some folks see the cash-making facet of issues, and say it’s all a rip-off to make revenue. Nicely, positive – I’d like to make some revenue from this app! It truly takes loads of time to ask all these individuals. I don’t see something improper with providing folks the choice of paying (with their time) for precedence entry. I’ll nonetheless attempt to invite everybody, whether or not they’ve accomplished presents or not. Simply the folks with extra factors, will get processed first.

Principally I may select between taking down the app from the Android Market as a result of excessive demand, or implementing this factors system. So I opted to make use of TapJoy, as an experiment utilizing incentive promoting. I truly included AdMob promoting in the identical app, as a comparability. Didn’t actually know what to anticipate, but it surely was a fantastic probability to strive a brand new system.

The Rise….

At some point later, I bought some fairly superb outcomes. One other one thousand downloads on the Android Market, 717 views of the TapJoy offerwall, and a complete of $20 from TapJoy alone. In 24 hours, I made extra from TapJoy than a complete month with AdMob. The eCPM for TapJoy was $28, whereas AdMob was about $zero.10.

However I believed, possibly it received’t final. Possibly that was only a spike, and we’ll see some barely extra sane figures come out tomorrow. The following day there have been over 2,000 web page views, and complete income of $fifty six. Doesn’t seem like it was a spike in spite of everything. The eCPM was very comparable. So, given the massive success of the TapJoy experiment thus far, I stored inviting folks on Google+, in order that I might justify maintaining the app on the Market. I assumed $50 a day was superb, actually contemplating the quantity of effort it took to jot down the app. I’d be very happy if it saved up the tempo, and didn’t develop any additional in any respect. However there was much more of a shock in retailer. Check out the graph beneath (left hand column), displaying the obtain figures for the “Google+ Invitations” app:

Screenshot of Andlytics
Columns (left-to-proper): Date, Complete Downloads, Lively Installs, Improve day-over-day, Share Energetic (Screenshot taken with Andlytics app)

After which have a look at the TapJoy income for a similar interval (up till July seventeenth): Because the downloads shot up, so did the income. On the seventeenth of July, with 7,600 downloads I really made $300 in a single day, simply from TapJoy advertisements on this app! At that stage about three,seven hundred folks had requested an invitation.

….and The Fall.

However sadly, the seventeenth was my final day of triple-digit revenue. Not due to any modifications by TapJoy, and definitely not attributable to lack of curiosity by customers (actually, I had simply reached 2nd place on the AppBrain “Scorching Apps” record). However simply earlier than mid-day on the seventeenth, Google suspended my app from the Android Market. And that’s it, actually.

As soon as the app was suspended, all of the charts dropped off fully. I had the app listed on a number of third-social gathering app shops (together with SlideME and Amazon), however the variety of precise downloads was miniscule. The Android Market was the one one which mattered.

It was a bit scary really – receiving an e-mail from Google that one in every of my apps has been suspended. I’d at all times been ready at the back of my thoughts, pondering that if Google has an issue with it and desires to take it down, that’s superb. I wasn’t aiming to do something sly, and did learn the phrases & circumstances of the Android Market and Google+ to guarantee that providing invitations like this wasn’t unlawful in a roundabout way.

However the precise electronic mail had completely no details about why the app was suspended. Not a phrase. Right here’s the complete textual content:

Topic: Notification from Android Market

This can be a notification that the appliance, Google+ Invitations with bundle ID has been faraway from Android Market as a result of a violation of the Developer Content material Coverage. Please assessment the Content material Insurance policies and Enterprise and Program Insurance policies earlier than you create or add extra purposes. Be aware that repeated violations might end in a suspension of your Android Market Writer account.

For extra info, or to contact us, please reply to this e mail, or go to the Android Market Assist Heart.


The Android Market Staff

After re-studying the insurance policies talked about within the e-mail, I concluded that the most definitely trigger for suspension was trademark issues. I had been very cautious within the Market description (and within the app itself) to incorporate disclaimers, mentioning that my app was by no means affiliated with Google, and so on. However the emblem was a serious slip-up. It’s fairly doable that someone might mistake my app for an official Google app at first look, merely because of the emblem. I ought to have been extra cautious with that, however on the time I didn’t lend it a thought. I believe Google can be completely justified in complaining, if that was certainly the issue.

What I’m not so completely satisfied about although, is Google’s communication as soon as an app is suspended. There are completely no particulars supplied in regards to the trigger. In my case, I had recognized an space which was most likely the reason for concern. However how do I do know they gained’t discover another problem to complain about? The e-mail mentions “repeated violations could end in a suspension of your Android market Writer account.” Ought to I danger shedding my total account, by altering the icon, and fixing what I might solely guess was the issue?

The precise liason (should you may name it that) with the Android Market workforce is a subject for one more time. However to chop a protracted story brief, I finally bought a trace that trademark infringement was certainly the priority, and that I may strive importing a brand new model that fastened this difficulty. However as a consequence of some “inside accounting points”, Google claimed they may not re-instate my app. I needed to add a brand new model, with a unique package deal ID. Mainly I misplaced my total person base for that app, and risked shedding my Android Market writer account if I hadn’t accurately guessed the reason for infringement. A reasonably large gamble for those who ask me.

Social Invites Plus Logo
The brand new emblem, sans any Google references

I did take the gamble although – and uploaded a brand new model known as “Social Invitations Plus” with a totally new emblem. It appeared to go the check, and has remained energetic to this date. But it surely hasn’t taken off like the primary app did – and I’ve misplaced all of the rankings, feedback and lively installs from the earlier model. I can’t even launch an replace telling individuals it’s been eliminated.


I’m not too involved in regards to the evanescence of the present app. It was at all times meant to be a form of experiment – it simply occurred to be a really profitable experiment. Not too long ago Google set a restrict to the variety of Google+ invitations you may ship per account. I’ve now received a hundred and fifty invitations remaining, so clearly I received’t be capable of proceed inviting everybody (though I did get via just a few thousand within the previous weeks). This implies, for all intents and functions, the Google+ Invitations app (“Social Invitations Plus”) is now lifeless.

I made word on the Android Market proper from the start that this was an unofficial app, and subsequently holds no ensures of continuity. I’ll attempt to invite everybody who’s earned factors to date, in consideration of the trouble they put in. However for everybody else I’ve posted a message explaining the state of affairs, and can be releasing an replace on the Android Market with extra particulars. Not a lot else I can do till Google opens the doorways to extra customers. Which is able to occur eventually – however who is aware of when.

Regardless of the abrupt ending, this was a really attention-grabbing and worthwhile expertise – the primary app that I might actually name profitable, and my first expertise with incentive promoting networks. What are a few of the classes I’ve realized?

  • Incentive promoting will be very efficient
    In case you’ve received some items or companies of worth you can provide from inside your app, incentive promoting (from firms like TapJoy) may be far simpler than click on-based mostly options comparable to AdMob.
  • The Android Market is essential to success
    For a lot of apps, the third-social gathering app shops have a major impression on gross sales and income. However for all my apps thus far, the Google Android Market has been the predominating income generator. With out the Android Market this app would by no means have taken off.
  • Constructive feedback (and rankings) are value so much
    Many individuals who downloaded this app did so due to the optimistic feedback. After inviting folks to Google+, I shared a submit with them, asking if they might spend a number of moments to publish about their expertise on the Android Market web page. I discovered later that many individuals thought the app was a rip-off based mostly on the outline, however had been received over by the handfuls of completely satisfied customers posting constructive feedback.
  • Comparatively few installs are wanted to drive rankings
    My app had solely acquired 6,000 odd installs in just a few days when it began to hit the trending charts. These aren’t actually huge numbers, so it doesn’t take loads to grow to be a trending or “scorching” app. When you’ve received that rank, it might probably change into self-perpetuating and drive much more downloads.
  • Don’t copy different folks’s stuff
    It appears apparent – however don’t copy Google’s (or anybody else’s) logos or logos. Even for a brief-time period experiment. It might sound tempting to piggy-again off the success of a preferred identify, however it’s not definitely worth the danger. Huge companies don’t perceive, even should you’re “making an attempt to do the best factor”.

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How to make $200 a day (and get banned from the Android Market)


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