You’re probably already aware of the Amazon Appstore market for Android apps, and its potential to earn you money. Still, I’d like to introduce it quickly for those who aren’t familiar with it or why they should be putting their Android apps in this market.
Update: Also check out my success story in ranking #1 in the Amazon Appstore.
“Another” App Market
When rumors flew around that Amazon was going into the fray with their own app market, there were a lot of opinions on the subject. There were already a lot of alternate markets for Android apps, and this was certainly going to fragment the market further.
Android’s market ecosystem has one particular strength over the iPhone Appstore, however: competition. Each awesome new feature any market puts out causes the others to work harder to continue the arms race. We’ve seen a lot of new app store features come out over the last year, so I tend to be excited to hear about new app markets, particularly when they’re from serious players.
Amazon didn’t share much information about the launch dates of the Appstore, but opened the developer site for all to use. Since the $99 yearly fee was waived for the first year, there wasn’t any penalty to throwing your app into the fray.
In fact, it was good to get in early, since it helped get beyond the initial rejection cycle if you made the same mistake I did – linking to the Android Market anywhere in your app. Once I got my app accepted, I mostly forgot about it. I expected for there to be some ramp-up before the actual launch.
And then, suddenly, Amazon launched the Appstore on March 22, 2011. The Angry Birds Rio giveaway got lots of attention, and suddenly it was too late to get your app in before the rush! Don’t worry though – the rush has passed and things are running smoothly. And to be fair, Amazon did call for app updates to be submitted a few days before the launch, they just didn’t tell you why they were calling for updates.
And if you haven’t already done so, set your account up to get the daily paid app for free. Amazon gives away one paid app for free, and it’s a different one every day.
Primary Features of the Amazon Appstore
1. The Amazon Appstore reviews every app before it is released, so customers can have more confidence that the app is safe.
While the review time was long right at release, it has gotten better. In fact, the latest update for Droid Secret Tips Pro took less than 24 hours. It might be longer than that for your first release though, so be patient!
The review of apps is a good thing. One complaint app developers have about the Android Market is that without review, a lot of junk pollutes the market. Malware is another concern people have expressed. The individual review by the Amazon team actually will hopefully weed out the worthless apps, and can result in additional notes added to your app description, which can be helpful.
2. You set the list price, but Amazon sets the app’s sales price
While you set the list price (the lowest price you’ve sold the app for anywhere), Amazon gets to decide the sales price. You will be paid either 70% or the sales price, or 20% of the list price (whichever is higher).
This is most likely to come into play if you are the free app of the day – you’ll get a huge number of free downloads, which will net you 20% of the list price. Remember – while you’re getting less per sale you’re earning more in the long run due to the massive number of downloads that the free app of the day gets.
3. All apps must link through Amazon app store
This one is important to pay attention to. Before the Appstore was opened my approved app still had a link to the Android Market. When this was discovered, my app was pulled until my updated (and Amazon-specific) .apk was approved. I missed some days of availability until they approved my app again. Be SURE that your app only links to the Amazon Appstore before submitting, and save yourself some hassle.
4.The Amazon Appstore is very visually oriented
More than for the main Android Market, I found that improving my icon increased downloads. The first thing that most users see is the top 100 list, which shows the app icons all together. While app users in general will be attracted to apps with better graphics and icons, I noticed the effect more here than on the Android Market. This could just be my experience, though.
5. Payout is monthly when balance > $10 (in US)
Like everyone else, I’d like to see my money sooner rather than later. While the payout is not as well done as for the Android Market, the payout threshold isn’t too bad. If you earn more than $10 during the month, a payout will be triggered. However, payout may not occur for up to 30 days after the end of the month.
Among app markets that I’ve looked at, this is on the better end. While there are app stores that promise instant payment, they don’t have the traffic that Amazon has. I can wait a month if it means a much larger payment – I’m in this for the long haul!
6. The Appstore is US-Only for now
Nobody likes to be left out, but unfortunately the Appstore is only available in the United States at the time of this writing (May 2011). However, like the Android market I expect that this will change. When this happens there will be a surge of new customers, getting your app even more traffic.
Also, AT&T customers can’t currently download apps from the Amazon Appstore, but since Amazon is working on it you can be sure that it will happen. Many customers have taken direct measures and modified their rooted phones to give them access now.
7. App Stats are available in the developer console
After you log in to your developer account, Amazon will show you the daily download counts of your apps by whatever date you choose. This is much more detail than other markets show by default, so this is welcome data.
I fully recommend joining the Amazon Appstore as a developer (free for the first year) and releasing your app. While there are a few extra steps and a few different assets (graphics and text) that you’ll need, it won’t be too much work.
If you want more information on the Amazon Appstore and all of the app stores you can release your app on, be sure to check out the Android Market Alternatives report.