February 5, 2014
A tweet from Zac Cichy brought me to this article on a site called Blue Cloud Solutions. The author describes a process he calls “app-flipping” in which you buy the source code for an already made game app, reskin it, pack it full of advertisements, then put it back up on the store and milk it for one month. After that month is over, you reskin your engine again and repeat the process. Here are a few excerpts to give you a better idea of the shit this guy is talking about:
In other words, leverage the work that someone else has done by licensing or purchasing source code. My drug of choice is Apptopia because you can get an app in the store immediately before having to re-skin. If you go to another source code marketplace, you have to re-skin the game before you can launch. It just adds time to your bottom line, although sometimes you can get powerful engines for cheap.
Without fail, the best place to place advertisements is at the beginning of the game. Use full screens and don’t be afraid to layer them. I use RevMob and Chartboost for iOS and launch them at the same time. It’s very aggressive, but it makes money.
The next is to place both these fullscreens on the Game Over action. The user jumps off a cliff and dies…BOOM you serve up both Revmob and CB. Same with when they hit the pause screen and exit back to the main menu. If they’re trying to leave the game, try to get them to leave in a way that makes you money. These ad networks hinge on selling installations of other games so you need to get users to click on the ads, go to the app store, then install the displayed game.
The trick is display as many ads as possible. Banner ads typically refresh on a 40-60 second interval, so you need to keep a user playing for about that long OR find ways to increase the number of times banners are served up.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a more deplorable practice. Shit like this is everything that’s wrong with the App Store. It has decended from a pinnacle of opportunity to a mad money grab where people don’t care about the user or the experience, but just want to make as much money as quickly as possible.
App-flipping and similar ideas are making it harder and harder for actually good developers to make money in the App Store. It’s devaluing the entire marketplace by packing it with worthless crap. I wish Apple would do something like check source code for apps and not allow those which are obvious clones of others to be released as new versions. What ever happened to the idea of working for your money and being proud of what you build?