4 years and 2 million apps ago, when David and I started AppMakr (nee:Infinite Monkeys) we knew we wanted to make the service super affordable, so that small businesses and community groups around the world could afford to use it.
We launched the service in 2012 under a ‘freemium’ model, where the vast majority of our publishers would have access to the basic version of our platform, in exchange for us having access to their users to run ads in the apps. In a past life a ran a big digital advertising agency, so this felt completely natural to me and we didn’t really think twice about pricing it this way.
We were wrong.
The problem with an ad-based-monetization freemium model, is that the end-users become the product. The more users the platform has, and the more datapoints we know about them, the more targeted the ads could be, increasing the value of them. And make no doubt, the platform has millions of users. However those users are not “audiences” to be sold, they are in fact your customers, students and congregants.
Whenever we talked to publishers about the platform, we consistently heard the same harsh feedback about the ads: Everybody hated them. I can’t tell you how many times we heard the message that a publisher would rather pay a small monthly fee than have ads polluting their app.
At the same time, any publisher that isn’t willing to even pay $1 for their app probably isn’t building a very good app…
So, effective today - we are turning off the ads.
Any apps already built using our free plan, will stay free - forever. However, going forward the minimum price on the platform will be the $1 / month “App Basics” plan. We’re not changing any of our other prices, and everything stays as it is - we’re just killing off the ads.
If a publisher WANTS ads in their app, we will continue supporting a number of 3rd party ad networks including AdMob, inMobi, Millenial Media and others. We continue passing 100% of the ad revenues from those directly to the app’s publisher. If you want to run ads for your users, that’s your choice and you’re welcome to take the monetization.
Overall we think this will improve the platform, and the average quality of the apps produced on it. We think you’ll agree...
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