After news about some great success stories of applications released on Apple's iPhone platform, some might conclude that the app store is a gold mine for developers. But according to a recent article by Dan Frommer of the Silicon Alley Insider, the reality for most developers is far from a gold rush.
Aqua Hoops, a simple and fun game app for a decent price of $0.99, serves as a good example. Sales started out strong when the game appeared in the app store's most recent list and reviews created additional positive buzz. In one day Aqua Hoops sold 350 copies, creating a net revenue of $245 for developer E.J. Mablekos, after Apple's 30% cut. If the game continued to sell as many copies throughout the year, it would generate a decent profit of $89.000. But after the initial buzz Aqua Hoops' sales dropped to about 60 copies a day or $42 net revenue, which comes out to $15.000 a year - not enough to quit the day job.
Creating apps with viral qualities might increase the chance of success through keeping users interested and involved in the app. But Aqua Hoops and many other examples show, that the app store is a hit-based business and does not guarantee success, even for great apps.