Market Moves: Sales disappoint so far

Market Moves: Sales disappoint so far

Summary: On Wednesday of last week I published a paid application on the Android Market: Re-Translate Pro. Google turned on paid apps the next day, though I didn't get the update until Saturday afternoon.


On Wednesday of last week I published a paid application on the Android Market: Re-Translate Pro. Google turned on paid apps the next day, though I didn't get the update until Saturday afternoon. Ever since then I've been watching the sales roll in. Well, maybe "trickle" is a better word. No, that's not quite it either. Drip?

Here are the figures from the Market's Developer Console. As I write this, total sales for the paid version have reached a whopping 8 units. Three of those were returned, so net sales were 5. On each sale, Google keeps $.90 and I keep $2.09. Maybe I should keep my day job.

By jumping over to Google Checkout we can see more details...

In case you're wondering, here's a typical successful order looks like:

Here's an order where someone tried out the application for a few minutes then decided they wanted a refund:

It doesn't look like Google actually charges your credit card until the refund window closes. Also, I'm happy to report that Google does not take a cut on canceled sales.

It seems that a lot of people are having trouble with getting their credit cards set up correctly. When the authorization fails, Google sends the customer an email with instructions on how to fix the problem. At that point most people just cancel the sale. Here's a typical sequence I saw several times:

In conclusion, the order system appears to be working as it should, but not many people are buying. One reason could be that the application is hard to find. When I put out my first update it will briefly appear at the top of the applications-by-date list, so we'll see what effect that has on sales.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Google

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • It doesn't show up on market.....

    Unless you view more applications by Ed Burnette then it's listed, but it didn't pop up in a app search (which is probably why you don't have 10,000 to 50,000 downloads for pro yet. You have to click on Lite first then view more applications Then you'll see them both.
    • Try this

      Try searching for the word "translate" and see if it shows up. When I do that it's number 6 (of 9).
      Ed Burnette
  • RE: Market Moves: Sales disappoint so far

    I think that the "average" android user is quite different
    from the "average" iPhone user. First of all, paid apps for
    the iPhone were there early on (from day 1 of the app
    store I think) before the recession thing started to manifest
    itself. On the contrary the android market started with free
    applications so people are used to not having to pay to get
    an app. Also, the android crowd is currently more geeky,
    so they have higher standards for applications than iPhone
    users. And finally, iPhone apps can be more impressive
    due to faster 3d graphics and a lot better sound support.
    Don't forget that iPhone has been around for a long time
    and the iPhone SDK is more mature, even though it does
    not give the developers the degree of freedom that android
    SDK has. I think that as time passes and more android
    handsets come to market, we will see a lot of changes.
  • It may not be visible for everyone

    From what I understand, you need to get an update pushed to you from T-Mobile before you can access payed software. There's probably still a lot of people who only see the free version of your app.
  • Recode it for iPhone.

    Sell it for $ 3.99. It will sell better, I betcha!
    No More Microsoft Software Ever!