This is what it means to be Amazon’s Free App of the Day

Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Distant Suns App, Essay, iPhone/iPad, Kindle, Programming, Uncategorized | 2 comments

This is what it means to be Amazon’s Free App of the Day

When we released Distant Suns on the Kindle over a year ago, one of my hopes was that it would be selected as Amazon’s Free App of the Day. And suddenly a couple of months ago I was contacted by Amazon and told that they wanted precisely that and to expect between 75K to 100K downloads! In theory it would generate thousands of new users who would hopefully show their friends Distant Suns and inspire future purchases later on.

After supplying some artwork, my role was to simply stand back and wait. January 2 was floated as the day and would be pretty good positioning so as to encounter all those new Kindle owners out there thanks to Santa.

Typically the combined Android sales are okay I suppose, but normally not very impressive. So imagine my surprise when near midnight on January 2 I eagerly logged into my account and saw this:

Distant Suns (max) as the Free App of the Day on Amazon.

Distant Suns (max) as the Free App of the Day on Amazon.

Squeee! Over 210K downloads! Double-squeee!

Amazon used to show the previous week’s worth of free apps displayed under the current one. Unfortunately they no longer do that, otherwise we would have had another 6 days of exposure. But at least we’re now on Amazon’s radar screen big time and no doubt many others, so it will be interesting to see what the overall fallout is.

I am a big fan of the various gold mining reality shows on the Discovery Channel, and in so many ways it parallels the app business. Early in the game with little competition, one could “pluck gold straight from the river.” Now one must do so much more and invest much more to get recognition and sales. All the while us indie developers hold out for that one “find,” the mother load of sorts, the rich vein that can be but a single day of exposure, yet could make up for an entire year of hard work and weak sales.

And that’s what makes this business so much “fun”. At least I think it’s fun.

Distant Suns as Amazon's January 2, Free App of the Day

Distant Suns as Amazon’s January 2, Free App of the Day

Although looking over our 200K+ downloads in a scant 24 hours I can’t help but think that to Rovio this would likely be a bad day. Sigh.