MobileApps.com aims for fairer deal for apps developers
Alvin Koay’s Singapore-based startup MobileApps.com aims to deliver a fairer deal to app developers, providing a pan-platform wholesale app market that allows them to bank more cash from each app that’s sold.
Hailed by some commentators as a ‘Robin Hood’ of the apps industry, MobileApps.com compares favourably to the main app stores in cash terms, delivering 95% of revenue straight to developers, rather than the current industry standard of 70%.
The 5% revenue share for MobileApps is mainly used to fund the administration costs and to cover credit card transfer fees; the company is monetised in an altogether smarter way.
“Most developers are definitely getting a rough deal with other marketplaces, especially carrier stores,” says Koay. “So, we see an opportunity to create a developer-centric market, one that lets them sell directly to end-consumers and cutting out the middle-men.”
The difference with this service however, comes in the form of an algorithm driven ‘smart widget’ that acts as an ecommerce solution for developers to ply their wares. It’s available for publishers to display on their sites, and effectively shows users apps that are relevant to them in a similar way to Google Adsense. Importantly, it also allows publishers to make money from delivering targeted app advertisements.
The widget is currently available for publishers, and allows them to collect 100% of the related revenue for three months, after which the cash is split generally 62/38 in their favour. It isn’t a new idea in principle, but it is something we haven’t yet really seen in the apps space.
A recent analyst report from Nielsen claimed that less than 60% of people use their native app store to find and download apps, with many preferring to find them online and through other means like word of mouth.
Koay believes that at a time when display advertising is experiencing massive growth, engaging, rich media widgets that act as a small app-store, plugged into targeted websites will increase the distributions and discovery channel for developers many times over.
“App discovery has always been an issue with developers, the distributions channel through app stores is very restrictive and apps are easily cluttered out,” he says. “Display ad networks are a proven working model, and offer a far wider distribution model.”
Whether their apps are available through the MobileApps.com site or not, developers can pay for a premium slot on this distribution network, vying for position in the paginated display widget.
For now, Koay is focussing on signing up developers to the MobileApps.com site, with over 4000 developers already signed up; and promoting his advertising widgets to publishers as a free way to make money through hosting apps advertising.
And while he’s keen for the MobileApp.com brand to be launched all over the world, currently looking for partners in non-English speaking markets, Koay believes that Asia is a hot ticket in terms of expansion in the apps industry.
“China is already the 2nd in the world for overall app download and markets in India, South Korea & Thailand are exploding,” he says. “Japan’s proprietary feature phone market is phasing out rapidly and embracing more “open” systems such as Android and iOS, thus creating a brand new market to tap into.
“Asian economies are booming and more people can afford smartphones and increased data plans, creating voracious app consumers,” he adds. “It’s a good time to be a developer in this region.”
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