Too Many Apps. Too Little Money



Hopefully this comes as no surprise to many, but for some, alas, I am afraid they have yet to get the email.  It’s yet another case of the 1% versus the 99%. Only one percent of Web app developers have made any real money, the other ninety-nine percent are SOL.  Forty-seven percent of those, make absolutely no money or less than $100 on their app. Not surprisingly there are now over a million apps on the Apple store, and when you add all of the other sources for apps, you can see that the problem is coming to a head. I saw this coming nearly two years ago and wrote about the problem on this blog, citing a New York Times story published about that time, describing the dark underbelly of the Web app development culture.  In a satire of the problem, last year The Onion published a gag story about a new app called “Squander” that enabled users to “geolocate others nearby who had also wasted $2 on the same app.”

Read more: App development boom’s depressing underbelly, November 18, 2012

Read more: Silicon Valley’s misguided love affair with an app for everything, March 4, 2013



Reblogged from ValleyWag, July 25th, 2014

There Are Officially Too Many Apps, And Nobody Is Making


The new American Dream was going so well: drop out, make an app for sending emojis that disappear after 5 seconds, and collect your check. But it turns out the app gold rush is brokenfor almost everyone.

A new, giant survey of 10,000 app developers from around the world reveals a hugely depressing reality: your app will almost certainly not succeed. Maybe it’s a given that in such a crowded market, standing out is a tough feat. But the numbers are terribly dismal: 2 percent ofall app developers pull in over 50 percent of all app revenue—”The revenue distribution is so heavily skewed towards the top that just 1.6% of developers make multiples of the other 98.4% combined.” A staggering 47% of app developers either make literally no money, or less than $100 per month, per app. Hardly Instagram money, or even decent-Instagram-knockoff money.

It’s easy to understand why. There are well over a million apps in Apple’s App Store alone, and unless you’re in the tippy-top of tippiest-top, odds are nobody will even notice you exist. Of course, the fact that it’s considered gauche to even try to make money as a software business doesn’t help:

VisionMobile, which conducted the study, concludes that “It seems extremely unlikely the market can sustain anything like the current level of developers for many more years.”

Good. The fewer people chase dreams of becoming the next Yo (a sentence that makes me want to sever my fingers, one by one), the more young talent can dedicate itself to building the next Washboard.

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