Tuesday, January 26, 2010

iMoses iTablet

One thing about my long delay has been an expansion of the market. Looking at my positioning from a marketing point of view it is kind of interesting. My app has taken 8 months to get to market. During that time they came out with the 3GS phone, sold millions of iPod Touch devices, opened up in China, and finally made it available on the UK Orange Network. Believe it or not, over 6.5% of adults over 18 have an iPhone in the US. 85% of these people have jobs. 100% want to hit their boss in the face. So I will be coming out with a game where you can take out your anger on the corporate world during a time of double digit unemployment.

The next gold rush has not started yet. When Flash CS5 comes out and with other tools available there are going to be so many apps your head will spin.

Marketing apps is the next frontier, the App Store is going to have to expand their categories and find a way to warehouse the glut that is about to hit. My original goal was 100,000 downloads. I believe that is attainable in the above mentioned atmosphere. If I come out hot and continue to reinvest in advertising I could surpass that number.

Tomorrow Apple will announce their new iMoses device. It is supposed to be a great game player. A question it brings up for me is how will games designed for a mobile phone going to play on a 10" screen?

Will we have to create a tablet version? Will we play small games on a bigger screen?

This should be interesting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

G-rated rejection #1

When the flood hit the other day I found myself running in place like Barney Rubble. I was even making the skidaddle coconut noise. Minor brain lock, panic decisions were made, I was lucky. Today, I was caught by surprise a little bit.

I just received an e-mail that my app had been rejected by Apple for having obscene material or excessive violence. They also included a few screenshots that I submitted. That's it, no other directions. They give you a wide variety of reasons, so you have to play detective. E-mail is your only communication.

Really looking at it, it is my own fault. Not paying attention to detail. One of the things you have to do is rate your app. I had it rated 4+? That is a G rating. This is probably the reason the screenshots were rejected too. They show fighting...my bad.

I did a minor skidaddle and called Lenny at Apalon. Olga tweaked the descriptions, we changed a few screenshots and Mahesh uploaded the new binary. My mistake was rating the game too low. A more adult rating and a few tweaks may get it through. We'll see.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is the iTablet the next Segway?

All the talk these days is about Apple's new tablet device. One thing I know, is that I won't buy the first version. Apple is notorious for hyping big and screwing the early adopters. I am typing this post on a laptop that has a physical defect that is well known. Apple fixed it by changing the next model. I am an Apple fan but I didn't drink the Koolaid. Every device they make is supposed to change the world, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. iPod yes, iPhone yes again. Tablet?…we'll see. Remember the Newton?

A number of years ago we were told by an inventor named Dean Kamen that his Segway would revolutionize transportation. I live in a tourist area where there are Segway rentals. I don't see them that much. Dean made a cool device but there are limitations. You can't drive it on the street, it overwhelms the sidewalk, blocks the bike path and you can't carry anything. Dangit!

The new "iTablet" is kind of a computer Segway, somewhere between a laptop and a cellphone I have heard. I am curious to see if the public really likes it or just gets caught in the hype. The answer will be a few months down the road.

In the beginning, most new toys are at the forefront. Kind of like kid's and Christmas presents. What will be interesting to see is if after owning an iTablet for 3 months, will you reach for it, grab your cellphone, use your laptop or sit down at your desktop and peck away. If you are old-fashioned you may turn on TV, ancient read the newspaper. We forget that there is an alternative…silence.

Sometimes I turn off everything and lie back in quiet. Yes, this makes sponsors mad, but soon they will be advertising to us in our dreams.

Are you planning on buying one? How would you use it?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sand Bags

After yesterday I prepared for another water assault. I went to every store possible looking for sand bags but came up empty. I couldn't even find bags that I could fill myself. I was basically screwed if it started raining hard again.

I pulled up to my condo and saw a truck with hundreds of sandbags and a crew to move them. Right on time! It proceeded to rain cats & dogs but the bags kept the damage to a minimum.

During this time I finalized everything to submit to Apple. I wrote and re-wrote the application description and press release 15 times. By taking a long time to create you can go crazy on the details. The product and marketing has evolved so all the materials have to reflect the changes.

I mopped a lot during this last process. Learning from my postal buddies, rain, sleet, snow or flood will not stop me. About 3:00 pm I was on iTunes Connect polishing the applications for the free and paid app separately. I hit the button and wait for Apple's review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back up your work

I'll tell you, finishing this game has been one son-of-a-gun. Little things keep cropping up and we are stuck at 99.5%. Unfortunately, if certain shortcomings violate Apple's rules you will get rejected. The problems we have now fit in that category. I spent the morning working out details including the re-write of the press-release announcing the game to the app community. While typing away, suddenly my monitor turns off. Like anyone you curse first, leading to minor panic followed by quick disaster planning. We were in the middle of a huge rain storm. I looked at the floor in my office and I was 1/2 inch deep in water. My back-up power supply was filled with water and turned off like it is supposed to. I spent the next 9 hours dealing with the flood and I was lucky. It ends up the city had a back up of the entire system.

This brings up another point, back up your work and have a back-up power supply! Here is what I do.

I use a Mac Pro tower with a 23" monitor plugged into a back-up power supply. Two internal drives, one external. I have Time Machine backing up hourly to the internal drive, Deja vu backing up daily to the external. I also have a portable drive I keep in another location in case of disaster. Back-up came into play during the last few months, I'm glad I was doing it.

Come hell or high water I am finishing this app. More storms are coming, so I better watch what I ask for.

Monday, January 18, 2010

AdMob Cross Promotion?

I have had to wait for the programmers and exercise my patience. Old problems find their way back into the app and appear in testing. This time it is faking a malady to the phone, a screen crack. This will get you rejected. I took it out long ago. Good things seem to happen when I slow down. Though I am aggravated somewhere I know things will work out. It is part of the "letting go" process.

I row on weekends, mainly sculling in a quad. Four people, two oars each. The idea is to get your oars in and out of the water at the same time. My buddy Ed says that you can find yourself at a standstill if you row fast enough. Sometimes we row 19 strokes a minute and go faster than when we do 22. It's about patience and timing.

While waiting, I read a Linked-In post on the www.iphoneintouch group. It was suggested to use a free version to earn credits to spend on paid ads on AdMob. You cross promote for FREE on their network of other admob enabled ads, it costs nothing and you can then up-sell to your main app. Plus, you earn 20% more to take ad credits instead of money.

There are downsides. Admob requires a web connection plus people leave your app and never come back at times. I have to think about this.

Friday, January 15, 2010

FaceBook Promotion

It's almost time to submit. I am delayed because of the Indian regional festival of `Makar Sankranti'. It has taken almost 8 months to create this app, so what's another 5 days. Waiting is interesting, it really makes you think. What I have done in the past is rush to finish. I must say that is not the case this time. I have been forced to go slow and pay attention to all details. This is good.

I have assembled all the elements necessary for submission. My last mistake was exceeding 100 characters in my keyword list. The devil is in the details. The app, website and promotional materials are all together. A few more clicks and I'm in the system. I am hearing about one day approvals these days, so my day is coming.

Marketing is the next phase. There are two separate ends to the marketing that have to addressed. One has to do with app reviewers, the other consumers. The reviewers are the most important. Appalon will handle that aspect. I was researching FaceBook as a method to reach consumers but I am not a huge user. This leaves me short on everyday experience. Learning all the ropes in the next week is a stretch, so do I skip it?

While organizing my Linked-In presence I was contacted by Craig Dalton at mPlayit. They specialize in FaceBook promotion of iPhone apps. This is a better idea than me trying to figure it out on my own.

Completing the game has taken forever, but if it happened any sooner I would probably have crashed and burned. The app market is evolving by the day and the insights and contributions that happened in the last two months will be key to the games success.