I found a very interesting story of how the developer of iStrobe, Nick Vellios, featured on the open source iphone apps list has seen terrific growth in iAds profits (going from $6-$30+ in a day) for a free app. Even now reaching reaching #25 on the most downloaded utilities list in the app store.
Is open sourcing an app a viable way to promote an app?
Well if you think about it, it could be – see this former post about how Nick was able to reach 1,000 downloads in a day after open sourcing a simple game that had previously only been receiving 40 downloads in a day.
Once an app is open sourced new opportunities for promotion arise, you could put the source code, and link to the app in the app store (developers will want to check out the completed app) on sites like Github, mention it on forums as source code for learning iPhone development, and have it listed in the open source iphone apps listing here on ManiacDev.Com and on other open source apps listings. You could even write a tutorial about it, and post it around the web.
Anyone reading the tutorial, or thinking about downloading your app would likely download a finished copy of the app.
These extra downloads could mean valuable positions in the app store, and an increase in organic downloads.
If you have a free app, or even a paid app that is not earning you the profits you would like, what do you really have to lose?
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