If you are a Developer (or intent to be) for Internet Browser’s extensions (Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox, etc) or Mobile Apps (Android, iOS) or simply have a Website/Blog as I do, probably you are stuck on how to make money out of it!
I have 11 Browser Extensions (Chrome + Opera) with over 140k daily users, 2 Android Apps with over 6k downloads and 2 Website/Blog with over 10K visitors per month, witch took me hundreds of hours of hard work to develop and I had absolutely no profit out of them! Zero!
How is that possible and more important how can I monetize all that work? In this article I will talk on how I managed to monetize my extensions/apps/websites and all the pain I managed to make profit.
The Internet Browser Extensions market is tasty for Developers. Everyone uses them and every Browser have an attractive market/webstore where you can sell them. Besides that you have 1 Billion users at your disposal (Google Chrome alone has over 750 Million users and most of them on desktop). Chrome is by far the most popular and the better place to start developing extensions. After Chrome you can go to Opera because it uses the same engine and it’s easy to port Extensions to there. Firefox is also making it’s extensions compatible to Chrome. Microsoft also promised making Edge extensions easy to port from Chrome. In the end you can even go after Safari. So we have:
- Google Chrome WebStore
- Opera Addons
- Firefox Addons
- Safari Extensions Gallery
- Soon Microsoft Edge will also support extensions.
We have demand, we have market, so what’s the problem?
On the opposite of Mobile Apps where people is predisposed to pay for some random App, when you talk about Browser Extensions no one pays for them. About 99% are just free!
So we (Developers) get creative!
Beg for money = Donate Button to your paypal account
Sorry but that unfortunately give you little or nothing. I have this on my Android App for over 4 years and over 6k downloads and I’m still waiting for the first single donation. You can try this but don’t expect much of it.
Freemium with in app purchases
This works and you can make some money out of this but only in Google Chrome Webstore. You distribute your Extensions as Free but users can buy premium functionality’s with In-App Purchases with Google Wallet. But this require extra coding and only works in Google Chrome.
This is an option but not a good one. Specially if you start to inject ads on third party website with services like adonads or extlabs. Google/Opera/etc don’t like this and users don’t like this. Your Extension can be considered as adware and you ratings and install’s go to the toilet. In the end it can be removed from the market. Don’t eject ads on third party websites!
I’m not saying that anyone will have success on this, but I have been there, done that and got over it!
Mobile Apps mostly for Android and iOS are another tasty field for Developers. Everyone uses smartphones, there are more than 1 billion of this things in our pockets, it’s a non stop growing market and Google and Apple have at Developers disposal a centralized Market (Google Play and iTunes) where everyone goes when they need a App.
This is a Gold Mine! Right? Wrong.
Back in the old days when Android and iOS where giving it’s first step was much easier to make a profit then today. Back then there where much less Apps available, the big sharks (big software company’s) where far from this market and when you sell an App Google/Apple took 30% of your sale and that was it. It was a Jackpot for Indie Developers.
Nowadays things are much different. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Apps available and when you enter on the Android/Apple store you are heading a big concurrent environment where big Brands with big Marketing machines goes head to head with indie developers that have little or nothing to deliver besides their imagination and will to innovate. Government’s weren’t sleeping during this time and now your App also pays VAT that depending on the country of the buyer’s can go from nothing to 25% (the majority and most important country’s charge VAT). All this applies to In-App purchases and Freemium sales model.
When you sell a pie (your App), Apple/Google takes a bite of the pie (30%), Government’s take another bite (VAT of 20% on average) and in a split of a second you only have half of the original pie! (be careful on your Bank because it can take another bite with commissions) How is it possible to survive when you sell something for as little as 2$ and you only get 1$? And 99% of Mobile Apps are in the 1$-2$ range?
It’s no surprise to see news stating this: “iOS app success is a “lottery”: 60% (or more) of developers don’t break even”
So once again we (Developers) get creative!
As I explained in the Browser Extension section this is a no go… I have a Free App with over 6k Downloads and in 4 years not a single donation was received.
Sell Apps directly or in a Freemium model
This works. You can sell the same App in 2 versions. A Free and a Paid version (i use this business model). The Free version is crippled in some functions and have Ads. The paid version have the full features. Anyway as I stated above you only get half of the money for each sale because Google/Apple fee + VAT take’s the rest.
Free App with Advertising
This works. You can place some Ads (i use and recommend Admob) and you will get some revenue from it. The question is, is this the goldmine? No. You can’t fill the screen with Ads after Ads and the eCPM that Ad-Networks pays has gone way down. A few years ago when mobile was a novelty you could win real fortunes, but with the spread of smartphones and an increasing number of Apps this lowered a lot the revenue that you could get.
Websites / Blogs
I will be brief in this chapter because the Solution topic applies to this right away.
If you are a website/Blog owner has I am, among other billion of websites you maybe asking yourself why don’t you profit from it?
Yes you can profit from it and it’s not that hard. Believe me, don’t give up it can worth!
So I have an article about Monetization on Browser Extensions, Mobile Apps and Websites/Blogs and I have a single solution to all of them? No. The secret is to have a wide range of sources where you can profit. Don’t put all the eggs in the same basket. Profit from Ads on youtube videos (if you make videos), from App direct sales, from in-app purchases, from Ads on Application. For each topic above I already exposed what works and what don’t work. Now I present a solution that applies to all of them. Firs step:
Please make a website (you have WordPress or Blogger with hundreds of themes) and it’s free or you can pay as low as 1$ per month on web hosting.
Bring quality content to that website and redirect/encourage the App users to visit your web page. Use the Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to loyal your users and keep then interested in your work. Always bring users to a platform where you profit from it. You win nothing keeping users on your Facebook page, but if you redirect them to your Website that can change.
Final Step: Place advertising on the website and profit from it! Now is where the thing gets tricky.
Website + Advertising = Google Adsense. Right? Wrong.
If you already have an approved Google Adsense account and a approved website by Google congratulations keep it because it will give you a good source of revenue. Otherwise you will be wasting your time. Google now is much much more restrict to approve users and website to receive their Ads. Back in the old days it was much easier… So we start to search on Google terms like “Adsense alternative”, and we get a truck loaded of Ad-networks. Things start to get tricky here.
I spend months trying to get a decent Ad-Network… some had adware/spyware, others had xxx content, others give you little or nothing on profits and the majority of then just try to cheat the user. Others simply reject your application. Most of them also ruined my website on the mobile view (smartphone or tablet view). Believe me I tried a lot of them: revenuehits, bidvertiser, medianet, chitika, kontera, propeller ads, adversal, amazon associates, ebay associates, etc etc.
Hope this help other freelancer’s and developers to monetize their work.
Don’t be afraid to leave a comment!