Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Day Everybody Discovered WiFi File Explorer

So, on Tuesday 31/08/2010, like every other day of the week I logged into my Google Checkout account to see what sort of sales my various applications had achieved.  I expected the usual sort of figures for a Tuesday; about 30 or so orders in the last 24 hours, mainly comprised of SECuRET LiveStream and SpyCam, with a sprinkling of SECuRET RemoteControl and WiFi File Exlorer PRO.  Not hugely exciting numbers, but enough to make all this worthwhile.

Anyway, on this particular Tuesday there was a surprise awaiting me – there had been 10 new orders of WiFi File Explorer in the last 10 minutes!!  Pretty extraordinary based on the usual figures I see.  I assumed that a business owner had just bought a fleet of new Android handsets for his staff and had furnished them all with a copy of WiFi File Explorer PRO, seeing as it’s a pretty useful utility for moving files around.  I checked the addresses of the people ordering the application and they were for all over the world.  So it wasn’t that ... maybe it’s become a featured application on the Android Market?  Nope, not that either.  So I googled ‘WiFi File Explorer’ and there it was - someone had just made a post about it on Life Hacker! I read the post and was very happy with it (although as always I was amused at some of the, shall we say, less insightful comments) and then afterwards went back to my Google Checkout account to hit refresh again ... more orders were flooding in.  Hit refresh again ... more orders.  And more, and more ... sometimes up to 6 per minute!!  Again, these may be pretty normal figures for some developers, but seeing as I get maybe 70 orders in a 24 hour period on a really good day, this was truly exceptional – and all from 1 post on Life Hacker!

All in all, over the course of the 24 hours after the post on Life Hacker was made, WiFi File Explorer PRO clocked up 700+ new orders (to give you an idea, since it’s release in April, it had received just over 1000+ orders in total)!  Also, WiFi File Explorer PRO had jumped from complete obscurity in the ‘Top Paid’ section of the ‘Tools’ category, all the way into the top 25.

So what have I learned from all this that I can pass on to other developers or interested parties?  I’ll set it out in bullets after the jump:

• Android users have money and they want to buy applications; they just don’t know most of them exist!  I count myself lucky that someone decided to make a post on Life Hacker to raise awareness of my applications, but there must be so many developers with greats applications out there that deserve the spot light being thrown their way as well.

• Google needs to provide a quick an easy way for users to discover applications.  Even if they just feature 2 or 3 different applications a day on the Market website and give them a decent review and explanation, users will respond and buy the applications.  It’s a no-brainer and I don’t know why it’s taken them so long to do something!

• Being higher in the charts drives more daily sales then making an update and having the application jump to the top of the ‘Just In’ list.  It used to be that you’d see a noticeable jump in sales after a new update due to increased visibility of being smack on top of the ‘Just In’ list, but not so much these days.  With all the junk being peddled on the Market now, the ‘Just In’ list is effectively useless to both developers and users.  No sooner do you make the update and jump to the top of the list then 20 new porn applications take your place, and your application dives into obscurity again.

• People like cheap!  WiFi File Explorer PRO is cheap at £0.69 ... SECuRET SpyCam is relatively expensive at £3.49.  It is noticeable how many people cancel their order after 12 or so hours playing with SECuRET SpyCam, but hardly anyone cancels their order for WiFi File Explorer PRO.  Whether this is because they see it as being more useful and long term or not, I don’t know, but I’d imagine it has to do with it being dirt cheap and not exactly a waste to spend a few pennies on if it never gets used again.

• Users don’t pirate cheap applications.  All developers know what happens when an order gets approved, downloaded and then cancelled within 2 minutes – the user with a rooted phone has struck again!! This happens all the time with my pricier applications (although not so much now I have added licensing), but it rarely happens to an application that is only £0.69.  Only the real bums steal an application that costs less than a king-size KitKat!

• Success breeds success.  Users that pay for your application and like it will inevitably check out your other applications as well.  I have noticed a small bump in sales of my other applications due to the peaked interest in WiFi File Explorer PRO.

Thanks to everyone that has shown interest in my applications and especially to anyone that has parted with their cash for one (or more) or them.  Hopefully this post is also useful for any other developers interested in learning from my experiences.


  1. Very informative (and motivational) post! My app (Call Informer) is selling, but very slowly. I hate to rush it, but I just don't think people are aware of it yet. Your story gives me the inspiration I need!

    BTW, I purchased WIFI File Explorer, and it works great. Thanks!

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  3. What a nice article! I love reading your posts. Good job, friend.