When you hear stories about independent App Store developers becoming extremely successful, you might think that the App Store is a viable business and something that can easily provide you with extra income. But, according to a recent survey by marketing firm App Promo, it is actually quite difficult to release apps that become successful.
The survey shows that “59 percent of apps don’t break even, and 80 percent of developers can’t sustain a business on their apps alone.” The fact that there is over 600,000 apps available on the App Store could be a contributing reason for the difficulties that developers face, since there is limited visibility for the apps that they release. That is, of course, unless they are dedicated to an extensive — and expensive — marketing pitch.
“Over the years I have seen visibility of applications I’ve worked on greatly reduced,” developer Pat McCarron told Ars. “Right now your app is likely not going to be found if you never break the Top 100 or Top 200 lists. Users won’t navigate forever down the list of top apps to find yours sitting lonely at the bottom.”
Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis agreed that the App Store has become more of a lottery, and less a chance for small developers to succeed along with well-established companies.
“The App Store is very much like the lottery, and very few companies are topping the charts,” Kafasis told Ars. “It’s a hit-based business. Much like music or book sales, there are a few huge winners, a bigger handful of minor successes, and a whole lot of failures.”
To release an app to the App Store, you must be an official registered developer with Apple, a program that costs $100 to enroll in. Have you ever released, or considered developing, an App Store app?