Monday, April 30, 2012

Social Mix v1.0 is now available on the windowsphone marketplace

Version 1.0 of our new application Social Mix is out.  It basically allows you to update your status on multiple social networks in a single action.  Currently supports facebook, twitter, linkedIn, and WindowsLive.

One of the advantages of Social Mix is it's simple integration with the social networks that are already natively setup on your phone.  So there is no need to give your login credentials to our application and there is no need to logon to your facebook or twitter account and give special permission to allow our application access.

Check it out here and let us know what you think by leaving a comment or sending us a tweet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pubcenter limit for allowed sites/applications

This week I've been doing some work on our new application Social Mix.  It's ad supported so as usual I went into pubcenter and tried to register the application and create a new ad unit.  Unfortunately I was greeted by the following message

"You have reached your limit for allowed sites/applications. If you need more please remove unused entries."

After doing a quick search online it seems that micrsoft has imposed a limit on the number of applications and ad units that can initially be registered against one pubcenter account.  Currently this limit is 10 applications and 50 ad units per account.

If you hit this limit it seems you have a few options:

  1. If you meet the following requirement you can email pub center and ask them to increase your limit. "At least (70%) of all currently approved properties must be actively showing ads and generating a minimum of $50 per property within the past 30 days." 
  2. Create a new pub center account under a different live id.  The downside is you will have to wait until this new account generates $50 of revenue before you can get paid.
  3. Use existing ad units / applications.  The disadvantage of this approach is that your pub center reports will not be accurate and you will not neccessarily know which applications are generating revenue for you. 

    However if you have only hit an application limit and not the ad unit limit
    then the situation may not be so bad as you can just create new ad units to use in conjuntion with one of your existing pubcenter application ids.  As most of the reporting is done by ad unit then this is probably the best workaround if you don't meet the requirement for option 1. 
(According to this forum post options 2 and 3 are permitted by Microsoft).

As I met the requirement for option 1. I decided to go with this option.  I drafted an initial email expecting that this would be one of many I would have to send before my limit was increased.  My previous experiences with Microsoft and GeoNames have led me to believe that these kind of things end up being unneccesarily painful and beurocratic. Fortunately I was wrong about this.

The initial email I sent just included my advertising revenue for the past 30 days and a few sentences asking that they increase my limit.  The email I got back stated that in fact all my ad units must be actively serving ads and to provide evidence of this.  I had to provide them with a complete breakdown of all my pub center apps, ad unit ids, and their equivalent marketplace application names.  After doing this I got an email back saying my limit had been increase to 50 applications and 200 ad units.  In total this took about 3 days.

As my experience was relatively painless I see this as no more than a small inconvenience, however if I didn't fall into option 1. I can imagine that'd I'd be pretty frustrated.  Like me most wp7 developers are working hard for little profit, and restrictions like this can be very disheartening.  I can understand that Microsoft want to discourage developers from flooding the marketplace with loads of ad supported apps of questionable quality.  However I think this initial limit is too low and will risk alienating independent developers and push them towards other mobile platforms. 

If you have an opinion on this or have had to go through the process of dealing with this restriction please leave a comment or hit us on twitter.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

breakdown of advertising revenue leading to a change in direction

Since my previous post about why I'm getting such a low eCPM things have steadily improved.  Our total advertising revenue is now about $140 / week.  This has mostly been a result of an increasing number of impressions.  We'e now hitting about 25,000 / day for fb viewer.  The eCPM has been fluctuating a little but this week is closer 0.60 (for fb viewer) which is helping as well.  (See graphs below)

fb viewer revenue over past 4 weeks

fb viewer impressions over last 4 weeks

fb viewer eCPM over last 4 weeks

Unfortunately a large majority of our revenue is still coming from this one app.  We have 8 other free apps, 3 of which are making a pitiful couple of dollars / week. The others are performing even worse making no more 0.50 / week.

So the numbers really indicate that social media apps are our best chance of making some decent advertising revenue and therefore this is where we will start focusing our resources.  Stay tuned for news about our new app Social Mix which we hope to release over the next 2 months.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Timezone converter v1.1 is out

Timezone converter v1.1 is out. New features include:
  • search/filter functionality.
  • gmt offsets displayed next to city names.
  • contact developer button added to about page.
  • progress bar added
Thanks for all the feedback including emails, tweets and reviews which helped shape the direction for this update.