Mobile Apps · IOS

Alternates to Apple and Google app stores?

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

May 1st, 2016

I'm specifically wondering about how best to market a new mental wellness app.

I understand that companies can get an enterprise agreement with apple to give apps to their employees without going through the apple store and that there are 3rd party stores emerging.  Could this case be applied to therapists under an enterprise license who can then make app available to their patients.

With close to 2 million apps in each of the main app stores how do new apps get found in such a crowded environment?  Additionally is the 30% commission worth it?   Recent data suggests that the vast majority of apps produce revenue below the poverty line or less than $500/month.

Is it possible to have a two prong channel strategy where some customers access the app (free with in app purchases) through the app store while other customers get access to the app through other channels.

How are other apps getting the awareness and adoption to be successful with these terms and conditions from Apple?
Apple takes 30% of every purchase; Does the business model support this commission rate? Or can it negotiate a lower rate (15%) like Netflix and Hulu are rumored to have done?Apple does not automatically provide customer data; customers have to opt in to provide their personal information to app/game publisher.  (Is this changing?) Apple's iAP policy specifically prohibit purchasing content, functionality, or services in an app with a mechanism different than Apple's iAP (section 11.2 in Apple's iOS Review Guidelines).  However, section 11.3 in Apple's iOS prohibit the use of iAP to purchase physical or digital goods and services used outside the app.  Will the Parent interface function inside the smart play app or outside? Apps may only use auto-renewing subscriptions for periodicals (newspapers, magazines), business Apps (enterprise, productivity, professional creative, cloud storage), and media Apps (video, audio, voice), or the App will be rejected. There’s no way for developers to offer an “Unsubscribe” button, and the actual App Store subscription management page is buried where few customers ever think to look. developers can’t cancel their subscriptions - only the customers can. (True in 2013, STILL TRUE?)Apple TOS states that automatic subscription renewals would stop if a publisher raised its price, ex recent VAT increase.

Marc Schulman Educational Entrepreneur Reporter

May 1st, 2016

Ok not sure who Thomas is, but I have about 50 apps on the app store, and have been there since almost the very beginning.  Thomas story is near fantasy.  We have one free App with close to a million downloads and that is over five years.  The rest are in much much smaller numbers.  It is nearly impossible to be found on the App store and Apple hardly ever assigns someone to your account unless you are one of the big developers.  Look at the App store as a distribution channel and not a sales channel.  They provide an efficient means of having your app distributed.  The 30% is not an unreasonable fee for that.  I have client who works on the mixed model.  He sells subscriptions to his service which is a news like specialized service in 1 month 3 month 6 month and yearly intervals in his app through in App purchase, but also takes orders directly.  He has a back end that handles the access to the data.  Something like that can be built for about 10K give or take.  The way you describe using enterprise is probably a violation of Apple terms of use so its a good way to get your developer account revoked so I do not suggest it.  Having in app purchase as opposed to all direct is a good idea since some people are much more willing to buy through Apple then directly through you an unknown

Marc Schulman Educational Entrepreneur Reporter

May 1st, 2016

Who is your client- the end users or the health professional?

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

May 3rd, 2016

Hello Thomas,

Getting a few hundred thousands downloads of an app is not that hard, just do some simple marketing. 

Please share those simple marketing tips to have a few hundred thousand download. I'm all ears!

Contact Apple and work with the developer relationship people, you need to get someone assigned to your account. 

What?!?!? Apple offers a personalized treatment for developers? Where is that? Please point to the link or phone number within the developer web site of Apple, on which we're able to communicate with them so they can assign me someone to my account. That would be great to know! Because sometimes apps get rejected, it's just a black box without a way to know why this really happened. Having a direct contact with Apple would help a lot.

Thanks!

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

May 1st, 2016

Thank you for your comments Thomas. I am interested in hearing from folks who are concerned about the challenge of being found among more than 4 million apps between the two leading app stores and anyone thinking creatively about how to address without falling prey to the folks gaming the system. I'm also equally interested in hearing success stories about how new apps with limited funding (apart and separate from having a good to great app) are rising to the top in a very dense forest of apps.   Part of what is driving my interest is the role that Steam has played as the defacto place to find computer games....anything similar for mobile app?

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

May 1st, 2016

To put my request in context here is quote from research on monetizing mHealth apps:

“I would broaden the concept of a health app at this point. A remote rehabilitation project, where a ‘health app’ can be considered to be many entities, has commenced in Kuopio through the Games for Health- project. Here these health apps are therapeutic tools, games and a cloud service where everything is connected. With the help of these services, a patient can practice while visiting their therapist, and then continue practicing at home. These can also be considered health apps.” --- “So we are not making a health game that can be bought from the App Store, but a basic cloud service that healthcare providers can license, and then offer their services to their clients through the cloud. Our revenue model is thus a bit different.” (Interviewee4.) 

Marc Schulman Educational Entrepreneur Reporter

May 1st, 2016

Sorry for the tone- but your description of the App store is nothing like any small to medium company I have ever known and I have been an Apple Developer since 1984

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

May 2nd, 2016

Thanks for the tutorial on social media marketing - good tips for sure.  Your position is that you need to be in the stores and pay the commissions associated with each however you need to take responsibility (and pay) for your own marketing to drive customers to the app stores to find your app.   What would you describe as the app store’ value add in that scenario?   If you’re driving your own traffic to find your app are alternative options for where to host your app?   Given that mHealth is somewhat of a unique category do you feel that different rules apply.

Marc Schulman Educational Entrepreneur Reporter

May 2nd, 2016

In the Apple world you really can not do that easily.  In the Android world you can without a problem

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

May 3rd, 2016

Hello Patrina,

There's one simple fact: If you want to cover iOS, you need to go through Apple. On way or another. How you'll use the App store depends on your product.

Also, is true what you wondered, with 2 millions apps it is almost imposible to get noticed, unless you have a very hefty marketing budget. This has become a problem, both Apple and google are aware of this limitation, however the solution is not that simple.

Cheers!