freeappaday.com is NOT free for developers!!!

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by MindJuice, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. As an indie developer, I've been in contact with many other indie developers that I have met through the TA community and through other sites.

    I feel that there is a spirit of camaraderie and common purpose between so many of us, and I try to help out others whenever I can. I don't ask for money or anything in return. In fact right now I am working on adding free ads into one of my games for two other indie developers.

    As indie developers we struggle to get ourselves noticed and make a living doing what we love. Most of us are not making very much money, even those among us that manage to earn enough to make a living at it.

    I recently considered offering my first game, Charmed, free for a day to get a larger base of players to whom I might be able to market my upcoming games in the future.

    I saw the number of downloads generated by games that were featured in the Appvent Calendar website over Christmas, and I had heard about FreeAppaDay.com, where a developer could have their game featured for a day and be able to garner 100,000 or more free downloads.

    I contacted them to find out what information they needed from me and was rather shocked to get their reply, which among other things, contained the following:

    So you want ME, the developer who is giving away his hard work for FREE to pay YOU to let me do it? Meanwhile, you earn additional money from ads of other games on your website (I was asked to pay $250 for one day of advertising on the Appvent Calendar, which I declined to do, but I imagine similar rates apply for this site), and the affiliate fee of 5% on any sales you get through those ads, AND you have a place to advertise your own games to 100,000 users a day.

    At $600-$1200/day, I wonder how many apps are told that they DON'T meet the submission criteria? "What color is your money? Green? OK, you're in!"

    On the one hand, I can't help but admire the creative thinking that went into this concept. Making $18,000+ per month off the sweat of the backs of others with next to no investment or effort on your part. That is smart.

    Moreover though, I find it disgusting and appalling that the people behind ICS Mobile (not sure who else is involved) feel the need to exploit a group of developers, who are already struggling, in order to benefit themselves.

    The fact that OpenFeint is involved with this is even more disturbing to me. They have a great record of working with indie developers to help get us noticed and provide us with an awesome SDK, so I am somewhat shocked that they would be involved with what I consider to be nothing more than a greedy cash grab. I hope that OpenFeint is not making any money off of this, but I will be contacting Jason & Eros directly to ask them for clarification on their position and whether they condone the actions of freeappaday.com.

    Anyway, I think it is clear that I absolutely refuse to participate in a site like this, and I hope that other indie developers on this board will join me in this boycott. Spread the word! :)

    I am also considering starting a similar website that offers the same service and exposure for FREE to give us an zero-cost alternative for those that do choose to make their apps free.

    I would greatly appreciate any feedback from others on this forum as well. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Think I need to eat more fiber?
     
  2. nattylux

    nattylux Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    1,151
    0
    0
    Washington, DC
    Well, they're charging you for their marketing services. I agree that $600 seems high, unless they can show me a case study where their service launched an app into the top Top X games/apps.

    Just because a spirit of camaraderie exists doesn't mean people are obligated to provide you with their services for free ;)
     
  3. jak56

    jak56 Well-Known Member

    what?
    that's despicable!!!!!! was the appventcalendar free?
     
  4. bravetarget

    bravetarget Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    330
    0
    0
    theres no doubt you can make money off distributing a free app.

    theres almost always a price tag on exposure, and apparently this website has enough traffic to put large numbers on that tag. all in all, developers seem to be buying it o_O
     
  5. No it doesn't, but in my opinion there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to behave in any community.

    I look to OpenFeint as an example of an appropriate way to behave. They found a way to provide an incredibly useful service that took probably a thousand times as much effort as putting up freeappaday.com, and monetized it a way that makes them money and is free for developers.

    Someone who has chosen to make his game free for a day is probably already struggling. Anyone or any company that comes up with a business model that effectively kicks a person when they are down is not someone I want to be involved with in the slightest, let alone support them financially.

    To me it is the same thing as companies that gouge consumers in the wake of natural disasters. Like charging $20 for a bottle of water instead of $1.

    Technically they are just providing their services to me, but they are doing so in a despicable manner.

    Imagine if I had charged developers for listing their apps on appRelief.com. Do you think anyone would have had a problem with that? Why should I provide my marketing services to those developers for free?
     
  6. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    I'm on the fence about this... Without developers willing to give away their game for free in a sort of "exclusive arrangement" with that site, they would have no traffic, no eyeballs, no nothing. That means they need developers, and ones with decent quality games. Perhaps much more than they need $600. That site must be running on a home server as it's already going on/offline due to capacity problems, so that cash is certainly not going towards any big hosting bill they need to pay for.

    Unfortunately the benefit they tout of having your game visible on the site for the next month is not going to net you any sales. People go to sites like that to look for FREE stuff, not something that they want to pay for. Even worse, you're then branded as one of "them"... the people who will eventually give their game away for free if only you wait it out. So potentially even more lost sales there ;)
     
  7. dogmeat

    dogmeat Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    1,680
    0
    0
    Information Security Engineer
    San Francisco, CA
    I think MJ fails to see the marketing potential of the site as well as the fact that they have high bandwidth and maintenance costs associated with running such a site.

    Besides, isn't 600$ a good low number to gamble potential sales on?

    You need to also remember you're dealing in business now, you might be an indie dev, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't speak the language of business: money
     
  8. MidianGTX

    MidianGTX Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    3,738
    0
    38
    Has anyone actually contacted the developers who have already been featured to find out if it worked in their favour? If they all come back and say sales went up the very next day and they ended up sitting on a huge profit then fair enough, it seems like a decent enough scheme.

    The main flaw being that it's still not guaranteed. Some developers just happen to make games that aren't very popular, no matter how many people know if it's existence. Just because a "good" game has the potential to make money with this idea doesn't mean they do too, it's still the same gamble you get just by having an app on the store. If you feel advertisment is the way to go why not just use the money to place a banner on TA and keep charging for your game?

    Either way, I think we need to hear back from some of the devs and get both sides of the story.
     
  9. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    You are paying them for advertising, they are providing you with (potentially) tons of downloads. Like it or not, the App Store is a business for a lot of people, not just a fun hobby filled with high fives and fist bumps with other developers.
     
  10. dogmeat

    dogmeat Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    1,680
    0
    0
    Information Security Engineer
    San Francisco, CA
    you're even better off if you are on the first of the month, after that day your app is back to full price yet it's still listed on that site for the rest of the month. that's 29-30 days worth of advertising!
     
  11. MidianGTX

    MidianGTX Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    3,738
    0
    38
    As a site admin... do you see any problem with them promoting their website now you know they're making a nice pile of money out of it? It seemed like a nice and charitable gesture before, now it's leaning closer to advertising.
     
  12. d1

    d1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2009
    5,678
    0
    0
    I mean it makes sense for them to charge, but $600-$1200 seems a bit steep..Even if you are getting a large amount of exposure.
     
  13. nattylux

    nattylux Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    1,151
    0
    0
    Washington, DC
    I don't see how they're kicking you when you're down. You're not required to use them at all. In fact, we made Hippo High Dive free today, and didn't pay a penny to do so.

    It looks like some developers think that FreeAppADay is worth the money, since lots of them are listed on the site. You obviously don't. So you don't use them. This doesn't sound like gouging, it sounds like a very expensive but completely optional service.

    As for OpenFeint, they are a business. A pretty big business, in fact. And when they started OpenFeint, they were charging for it. Too few developers were signing on, and Plus+ introduced their service, so OF needed to do something fast to dominate the market. So they dropped their price to free. I certainly don't think they're doing it out of a philosophical conviction that all services offered to indies should be free.

    I guess I just don't get the moral outrage that someone is charging money for a totally optional service.

    I agree with you that the value proposition seems weak. I certainly wouldn't pay $600 for it. That said, I think they're well within their right to charge whatever they want. If someone finds that offer valuable - great. If not, they'll be forced to drop their price.

    Oh, and if stories start going around from devs saying "I paid $600 and got nothing out of it," their revenue stream will dry out very quickly, and they'll have to either drop the price or give up altogether. Free market at work.
     
  14. Vovin

    Vovin 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Nov 28, 2009
    6,514
    3
    38
    Germany
    I'd like to hear ICS Mobile's opinion. Already asked for it on the other thread.
     
  15. MidianGTX

    MidianGTX Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    3,738
    0
    38
    This is the flame-free kind of drama we get off on ;)
     
  16. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    There wasn't ever a time where I didn't think they were making money off of it, it's kind of naive to think they're just going to soak up the (likely quite expensive) hosting fees and all the other costs to run a huge site like that just for fun.
     
  17. jen12323

    jen12323 Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2009
    127
    0
    0
    Do ppl really click through the free app a day site? I know I usually go through appshopper which shows the game as free. Many will find out on slickdeals and other deal sites which also links directly to the game. I know a freebie deal on slickdeals and fatwallet gets tens and hundreds of thousands of hits (ie the "SD or FW effect") but somehow I doubt free app a day itself gets all those hits...so the 30 day ad might not be as great as 100k views.
     
  18. MidianGTX

    MidianGTX Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    3,738
    0
    38
    Well you and Arn get the final say, but to me the whole thing seems slightly sour now... I'll still pay attention to the free apps and visit the website, but I'm considering ignoring ICS Mobile's posts as they obviously aren't posting for the same reason forum members are.

    Yeah I just search "freeappaday" on AppShopper, but I have posted a link to the site to a few people on Facebook...
     
  19. bravetarget

    bravetarget Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    330
    0
    0
    Natty said it all, advertising is advertising. The way freeappaday.com is structured gives you a fairly exclusive spot, so I see why devs are taking them up on their services.

    Also,

    /download
     
  20. Vovin

    Vovin 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Nov 28, 2009
    6,514
    3
    38
    Germany
    #20 Vovin, Jan 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010


    Yes, a few forum members and me were discussing this matter per pm and we all feel strange now, somehow, like we have been "used" for marketing purposes. Sure, we got the games, but we did not anything about the background and we did our share to push the game high up in the rankings. And no, there will be no flame war. But I think I trusted too much in generosity, after all. But even that's a business.
    As MidianGTX said, it seem slightly sour to me, too.
     

Share This Page