Since my last article I've continue experimenting with the price of the ReTranslate program on the Android Market. First, on March 4th, I dropped the price to $0. Downloads went from 27 to 547 in 7 days (74/day):
Yay! With all these profits I can finally retire to my own tropical island. Let's see, 520 times $0 is... hmm, maybe I need a new strategy.
On March 11th, I bumped the price back up to $2.99. Since then (5 days) downloads slowed but still went up, to 571, which works out to just under 5 per day:
Over the same time period I did add a couple of new features requested by users, but I think most of the paid sales happened because I passed the "magic 500 milestone", which raised the position in the Market's most popular list and increased the app's visibility. The next break is at 1000 downloads.
There was a snag, however. Actually three snags--quirks in the Market that I consider to be bugs.
First, the developer's console refused to increase the price from $0 to $2.99. Strangely, it was happy to go the other way, or to change from any non-zero price to any other price.
Once I beat the console into submission, I started getting complaints that people who installed the program when it was $0 could not download the next upgrade without paying for it. I'm not using copy protection so that's not the cause. According to the Google Market distribution agreement, updates are always supposed to be free, but it's not working that way. Shame on you, Google. Looks like I'm stuck giving refunds manually.
Unfortunately the first time I tried that I ran into the third quirk: If you give someone a full refund the Market deletes the program from their phone. Zap! That's not what I wanted at all. So instead of refunds I uploaded the package file to a web site. Now any current users who request it can grab the latest version (2.4.0) without going through the Market. Email me for instructions.
I have a few more ideas for ReTranslate features but it's obviously a niche program that's only going to be of interest to a limited number of people. So I'm thinking of starting a new program, perhaps a game, that will have a borad appeal. And no, it's not going to be Sudoku. With at least a dozen Sudoku games already on the Market I just don't think it will be worth the effort to productize that example from my book.