In February 2009 Arron La launched an app in the Market called Advanced Task Manager (ATM), which at the time was only available for root users and made La on average $500 a month during its first four months. Near the end of that fourth month La was able to make the app available to non-root users which led to a substantial increase in profits averaging approximately $1,900 a month over the next five months.
In November of 2009 La made a free ad-supported version of the app available in the Market running ads served by AdMob and began to see additional profits through that model. While things got off to a rocky start for the ad revenues it quickly turned around and within a few months was competitive with the paid version and in June of this year the profits from the ad-supported version eclipsed those of the paid version.
Last month La made $10,600 from the two versions of ATM with 40% coming from the paid app and 60% from the ad-supported app. The month prior La made $9,400 and is on pace to see a similar total for the month of August. La continues to work full-time for IBM while supporting ATM, but obviously with this level of earnings someone could easily rely on it as their sole source of income.
Beyond the rundown of his earnings La had a number of points regarding the Market that he wanted to share with prospective Android developers; I’ll paraphrase here as La is a bit verbose.
- First as his numbers clearly show Android can serve as a viable revenue stream even if it may not make you independently wealthy overnight. La believes that he would have seen greater profits had he priced his app at something more than 99 cents, but as he was both satisfied with his earnings and had competitors spring up he elected not to do so.
- La stresses that while appearing in the top paid list certainly helped his sales that newer developers shouldn’t just assume they can’t make the list as Google’s algorithm takes into account many factors beyond pure sales.
- La calls out Google Checkout and the Market app as being woefully inadequate as they stand. As many others have pointed out the options for discovery are limited and the availability of Google Checkout in only a little over a dozen countries are real thorns in the sides of Android developers. He is hopeful that these issues will be eased soon by the new Market tweaks that Google mentioned at I/O and the recent news that Paypal may soon be an option for Market purchases.
- Offering the free version of the app with AdMob proved extremely successful for La and if your app is of a type that requires more than just an occasional reference it is an option worthy of your consideration.
- La praises the 24-hour return policy in the Market as he feels it is critical that users feel protected by the Market.
- The piracy issue is a real problem, but one that Google is taking steps to cure and it is not so damaging as to warrant shying away from developing for Android.
If you want to read La’s exact figures or find out a little more about the app you can hit up his blog via the source link below.
To any of the developers out there or those that are considering developing for Android hopefully this will encourage you to keep at it as there is money to be made and with 200,000 new activations a day the opportunities are are only growing.