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Market Moves: You pick the next step

What do you do when you put an application on the Android Market and nobody buys it? That's the subject of today's installation of Market Moves.

What do you do when you put an application on the Android Market and nobody buys it? That's the subject of today's installation of Market Moves. At the end I'll be asking for your input for what you'd like me to try.

[ See also: More on Android at ZDNet and Planet Android. ]

The story so far: I took a sample application from Hello, Android (code available here), spruced it up a bit, and released it on the Market. At first it was free, but when it became possible I released a "Pro" version for $2.99. I had two goals: first, to become familiar with the Market so I could explain to others how to use it it, and second, to explore the dynamics of designing and marketing paid mobile applications.

The picture above shows current downloads and installs of the free and pro versions, from the Android Market Developer Console. If you compare these with numbers from earlier this week, you can see that for both the free and paid versions, installs are up a little but active installs are actually down. (As a side note, while 4 people have "active installs", 9 people have paid for the app. 1 sale is pending, 3 payments were declined, and 6 sales were cancelled. So there is some evidence that people are buying apps and then uninstalling them without asking for a refund.)

Our task is to figure out why sales are low and do something to improve them. I can think of several factors that might affect sales:

  1. Maybe the free version is working well enough for most users.
  2. Perhaps the price is higher than users are willing to accept.
  3. The application could be missing some important functionality that people need.
  4. Users could be having a hard time finding the application.
  5. Google only allows sales in the US at the moment, but maybe most users are outside the US.
  6. Potential purchasers may be scared off by the Google Checkout system.
  7. Perhaps people are having a hard time downloading and installing because of some systemic problem on the Market.

So now what? I'm considering several options, and I'm going to let you, my readers, decide what to try next.

[poll id="19"]Next week I'll tabulate the results and implement your recommendation.