iPhone Game Rebates
I’m fond of folks who take what is, for more people, a complaint and turn it into an opportunity:
It’s common to complain that apps outside of the Top Charts are invisible. There’s substance to this complaint. What’s been interesting is seeing how people turn that into an opportunity.
Turning this into an opportunity is essentially about creating visibility for apps.
We’ve previously covered offerings like Chomp Apps and AppCircle that look beyond the top lists and suggest apps to users based on Amazon-like matching algorithms. These offerings create visibility for apps outside the top-lists.
There’s another opportunity: spending money to push apps into the top lists and using the visibility of being on those lists to recoup the costs.
Last week I spoke with Jon Lam, CEO of the game shop Ph03nix New Media, about iPhone Game Rebates. iPhone Game Rebates, as the name indicates, returns the full purchase price of to a users after they buy a featured game. iPhone Game Rebates feature one rebate at a time for a two week stretch.
According to Lam and others, the App Store top lists are calculated on a rolling three day basis. He says that ~1800 installs/day puts you into the top sellers store-wide. Rebates encourage downloads with a cost of Apple’s 30% take. Some overly simple math: a $0.99 app after rebate costs the publisher $0.30. $0.30 * 1800 = $540/day spend. $540/day * 14 days = $7560.
Lam created the program to promote their own games but is opening the program to others. He doesn’t plan to charge any fees above his postage costs. What’s in it for him? By building a list of iPhone consumers that will respond to rebate offers he’ll be able to drive his own apps up the charts.
To build buzz about the program, they’re currently offering a rebate on any app purchase. I’ve long wanted the $20 OmniFocus App, so I bought it to test out the rebate process. To receive the rebate you join their list and, after you’ve confirmed, email them the iTunes receipt. Update: since posting this they’ve set a $1 maximum on games only.
iPhone Game Rebates isn’t the only example of buying yourt way into the top sellers list. A month or so ago James Bossert sent me a note about buying his way into the top-25 by purchasing AdMob ads. According to James they were able to recoup their ad spend to get into the top 25 by the increased volume that being in the top 25 generated.
This is all very interesting. This is a natural, Darwinistic reaction to the constraints of the ecosystem. Will be fascinating to see where this goes.