How to earn money with your application through the Android Market

Android Market
Attention! Capitalistic content following!

Since the Android Market has been started it does support free applications in their store market. Though Google announced that we will be able to add commercial products soon — the actual question is: When?
US Dollar
Until now nothing happened at this front and therefore, I guess it might still take a while before developers can earn some money with their applications. However, the Android Market is being used very heavily already — free software is popular everywhere! So users keep downloading applications from the Market massively. In order to make some cents out of this in future (when commercial products can be sold) you must be up with your application already!

My point is: you need to start grabbing potential customers now, even though they do not spend any money on applications — yet.

Of course, I don’t want you to give your developed apps away for free. Most applications took a long time to develop and you (or your company) spent a lot of time and put in quite some effort to create this neat peace of software. This all creates costs on the developer’s side (if you are not a student who is programming for fun without the need to make a living — again: yet) which needs to be compensated at some point.

How you grab potential customers

The application you want to sell might be finished already (don’t forget to sign it!). It is too valuable to give it away for free but you want users already – for selling the full version to them later or just to get some feedback. The best way to get users using your application is the Android Market. Hence, you need to be in there!

Create a demo/trial version of your application. There are plenty of ways on how to create a demo version. However, as we do not know at which date commercial applications will be available on the Android Market I suggest to “cripple” your full version in order to demonstrate your applications capabilities. A time limitation might be possible too but due to the uncertain time line I would just prefer “crippling”. Though, I am not a fan of that, usually.

Once you have done this you can upload your application to the Android Market at: http://market.android.com/publish/

Android Market Installs / Downloads

Now you just wait and let the installation / download counter increase minute by minute (image above is 6 hours after program upload!). Once the Android Market supports commercial applications you can upload your full version, change the application’s preferences to “commercial” / “paid” content and charge a little fee like say $2. Let us do some maths here for getting a rough idea on what this can bring. In case you gained 20,000 active installations after 2 months, you are having 20,000 users of your application. Meaning: 20,000 users really like your app – though it is crippled. Let us assume half of them (10,000 users) would really spend $2 on the full version. Once you release your full version you will get $20,000 instantly with the release and you are a happy developer!

The Dollar Bill

To be honest, developing applications is not just about money. It is a lifestyle – an art! However, even artists have to eat sometimes or spend money on Absynthe in the evening; so we need some bucks too. I think $2 for a nice app is nearly nothing and everyone can afford this. Just to honor hard work of programming.

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17 Responses to “How to earn money with your application through the Android Market”

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  3. [...] have already talked about how you can earn money with the Android Market. However, once you have built and signed your application you might have uploaded it to the Android [...]

  4. Chris says:

    “Just to honor hard work of programming.”

    I’m not sure but start to think that paid apps need more than just good code. Especially the kind of design work, you can’t do really well as a programmer… Having good artists / designers in the team is a great advantage!

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  8. ldso says:

    I was following along with this until the “application crippling” part. This is a concept that I have trouble with. As an end user I personally feel insulted when someone writes a program that does something useful, but then has made it less effective for me. It’s as if the author of the program is saying, “I wrote this useful stuff, and lovingly debugged it, then I broke it on purpose before giving it to you. Now that you know I’m a dick, give me money and I’ll let you have more functionality.” I realize that that is a popular method of making money from software, but at the same time leaves the user feeling like “that guy writes useful software but he’s a dick”.

    I don’t have all the answers but there must be a better way.

    I guess I like things more clearly defined, like “this is a professional software product, and you have to purchase it to get it” versus “this is a free program, share and enjoy”. You know what you are dealing with, and at least you don’t feel like you’re dealing with a dick.

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  11. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  12. It’s important to consider marketing your app even before you create one. I teach marketing courses & if you want to sell these apps you must consider alot. One of the main errors people are making is NOT creating a demo site.
    When it comes to marketing Droid apps, you MUST have an app demo website for your potential clients to test out. The best & cheapest advice is to get WordPress to market it (Google that if you aren’t familiar). When you get setup use a premium WordPress theme that is targeted to the Droid like this one:
    http://www.rawapps.com/21062/wp-theme-for-android-app-demo-sites/

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  15. James Becwar says:

    On thing that you forgot to mention in your artical is the importance of brand. Once you get a big audiance you can direct them to your paid apps. To make that happen you need to have a good ranking in the app store, and for your users to be willing to try your app simply because you wrote it.
    -James

  16. Sarah Mullen says:

    We’ve just launched a service that helps Android developers monetize apps, thought it might be useful – http://www.metaflow.com/news/2010/07/06/metaflow-gets-down-android

  17. [...] leveraging the Android Market infrastructure this library actually puts more value to developers if they use the Android Market. [...]

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