Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rise and Fall of FontType in App Store

It's three weeks since release of FontType, my first app under my own name (actually Jomnius). It's been ... interesting times. Didn't expect big sales, but hoped to get at least a few users. Nope.

Some comments and suggestions for update. None. Bug reports. Nada. Hello, anyone there?

FontType release was accidental, I'm ashamed to confess. I had reserved a week between submit and display in App Store, aiming for Thursday. However filling up all those contracts and agreements one at a time messed up the plan and it slipped to Saturday. Of course I didn't notice it, was expecting one more agreement to sign! Missed totally my one and only spot on "new releases" list. Got 3 sales on first day.

When I realized what happened I launched my Big Marketing campaign: blog article "FontType 1.0 Now Available in App Store" and one tweet about it. Don't know why, but got 8 sales on Sunday and 7 on Monday. Still two late ones on Tuesday and that's it. Rise and fall of FontType, never to be seen on top-100 ever again. Well, actually best place was 210 in Utilities in Vietnam, so didn't reach that top-100. Anyway, greetings to Vietnam!

My real "marketing campaign" was a blog post "New Fonts in iOS 5.0 - and Some Missing" in my iLessons iLearned. Took the whole day to create that article in online Blogger editor, just to demonstrate what you can do with images emailed from FontType. It's got 608 views so far - and generated zero sales, zero comments. Just keep wondering what went so wrong... timing was ok, just after iOS5 got public and when right kind of people were interested in iOS fonts. My target group. Total failure as a marketing campaign.

Let's talk about post-launch marketing. Now I know first hand what is the App Store discovery problem everybody talks about.

When I go to iTunes and search for "font", my brand new app is on place 123! Third app on list was updated 2.5 YEARS ago !! Before me there are two apps released 2008 and have NEVER been updated !!! Released 3 years ago and they are BEFORE my app !!!! I get a feeling I'll be more successful developing snowballs for hell.

It's not about whether one app is better or worse, I like to think. Any font app is basically pretty much same as any other one (except the few wonderful exceptions). They all display the build-in fonts using the font itself and that's about it. FontType looks "nicer" and has a "killer feature" being able to email all font images, so far a unique feature. But when there is zero chance that anyone will ever hear about it, it makes no difference at all.

So what to do next?

Tried changing FontType price, which should make it visible in some automated "price has changed" iOS app websites. Got two sales, so it was definitely successful experiment, as far as percents are counted. Next I'll do an update, for same reasons.

What else can I do... "Think, think, think" as Winnie the Pooh said!


  1. Hi Jouni,

    I have not used your app, but I am an iOS author and am familiar with the ups and downs of the App Store market. I think if I were to offer an outsider's post-mortem, I see two things—each not bad by themselves, but perhaps in combination they may have contributed to the results your seeing:

    1) The app is not unique enough or there's not a great demand for its functionality
    2) The app's look or design is not special enough (a simple calculator can sell, based on how well it's designed).


  2. No need to use, there are UI screenhots :)

    But I do agree: demand for such app is very small. UI was a little bit "special", but not enough to raise above the competition. I'm more a functionality person than designer.

    Now that iOS 5.1 will soon be released, it's time to check plans for update. Thanx for comment, very much appreciated!