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LJ for WebOS: 2.5 weeks later - Greg [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Greg

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LJ for WebOS: 2.5 weeks later [Feb. 17th, 2010|10:55 am]
Greg
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[Current Mood |okayokay]

It's been 2.5 weeks since LJ for WebOS was published on the Palm App Catalog, so I thought it would be nice to talk about how many copies have sold and whatnot.

As of this very moment (according to Palm's magic page that I reload far more often than I should), I've sold 44 copies. You can see a rough graph of the copies per day here, although this tracks downloads and not purchases, so for example when an update got published yesterday the download numbers spiked but the purchases did not.

I was actually expecting a little more of a bump from my app being near the top of the "Recent" list in the App Catalog, but I only sold 2 copies yesterday, which is around the same as most days. Which in retrospect makes sense, because already my app's appeal is fairly limited: only WebOS users who also use LiveJournal and use both enough that they'd be willing to pay to get a better interface to it. An impulse buy this is not.

This is part of the reason I priced it as $2.99, which is "high" in App Catalog terms - the number of people who would be interested in it is so artificially limited in the first place. Of course the other reason is that I think it provides at least that much value - it's much more pleasant to use than LiveJournal's mobile site, which is really the only alternative.

So how much money have I made? Well, let's do the math: 44 copies at $3 each is $132. My cut of that is 70%, which is $92.40. I had to pay $50 to get it on the App Catalog in the first place, so that's down to $42.40, and after taxes I end up with around $32.

On the one hand, hey, free money, right? Except I've spent a ton of time on this project. I've been working on it in my spare time since August, and I've written over 7000 lines of JavaScript code. I've definitely put at least 50 hours into it and probably closer to 100, so calculating the hourly rate is a little depressing. This is probably the project I've spent the second-most amount of time on. (I'm guessing top is whereslunch.org)

I think I put myself in a bad place here - when I work on projects for fun and release them "to the world" open source and all (see: almost everything on gregstoll.com) then I get the satisfaction of completing a project and the satisfaction whenever I see anyone use it, which is a pretty low bar. When I work on stuff for money, then, well, I get money for it, and the idea that someone cares enough about what I'm working on to pay for it.

But this model where I work on stuff in my spare time for fun and then try to make a little money off of it puts me in the mindset of working for the money, and then when the money fails to materialize I get depressed about it. Not to mention I've spent so much time on this in the last few weeks that I could feel myself burning out last night. So I think I'm going to back off a bit on new features and work on things that seem interesting or useful to me, not necessarily other people.

Anyway, this has been a bit meandering, so thanks for reading :-)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: andrewhime
2010-02-17 05:09 pm (UTC)
As one of those 44 people, I wanna say I totally appreciate the effort. I think the long tail aspect may provide you with more money over the long run, but I think the decline of LJ is the real problem.
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[User Picture]From: gregstoll
2010-02-17 07:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Yeah, that's what I fear. I like LiveJournal better than Facebook/Twitter/whatever, but it does seem to be going downhill. I'm keeping up the good fight, though :-)
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[User Picture]From: andrewhime
2010-02-17 07:22 pm (UTC)
I have a couple friends on LJ who have Pre(en), maybe I should suggest they download.
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