Okay, I have to make this post in english, so I apologize to my german readers. If your a dev, you’ll understand :)
Alright, what happened? I have an app on the windowsphone marketplace called AirportSeek. It’s a free app which has been built for just the fun of it. I love coding, and I put it onto the marketplace thinking that it will not be big.
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Well, to be honest: it’s not big. Has never been, will never be. It’s an app which is being maintained maybe once per month. Maybe less than that. But then I put a price tag on it. Now the fun starts.
So I’ve set up a base price of 0,99 (EUR/USD/whatever) just to see if any people would still download the app and actually pay for it. Well, they didn’t :) I was expecting that, and after just a couple of days I reset the app price to 0,00, or as we all like to call it: FREE APP.
What I didn’t think of were all the apps that monitor the market and alert their users of apps that went from paid to free. Apparently, one (or more) of those market watcher apps showed my app to its users.
To give you a broad picture of how my app has been used before that day: I’ve gotten roughly 5 downloads of the app each day. Not bad in my books, as I am just servicing a very small niche. The app calls my server every 20 minutes using a background task, getting the current weather of the user’s position (if he enabled this behaviour in the app). So I have seen a steady flow of users popping up on my map (NO user data is being stored, just the locations the weather data has been requested for). There was like one call every 20 – 30 seconds, sometimes less. You can tell: Not too many users are using my app.
All of a sudden, I realized that my map was going crazy :) New locations popped up, especially in Italy and India. And when I checked my download statistics, I was stunned to see this:
Within just two days after making the app free again, app downloads went from 3-5 per day to a whopping 1,041 at the peak.
Is that bad practice? :P I mean: How fast can YOU get users to download your app in this short period of time without investing a good amount of your hard earned money in advertisement?
So yeah, I am grateful for those „oh look, this app was paid and is now free“ apps :D