Content providers - FAQ
This faq is intented to give some useful practical tips to those hobby developers who want to publish software, don't want to invest much money, and they don't know where to start. (Note, that this article may contain subjective opinions.)
How can an S60 application be distributed?
The probability, that Nokia knocks on your door with an offer to buy your software is quite low. Your chances at network operators are higher, but still quite low. The easiest way to distribute your software is through mobile content provider companies like Handango or Nokia's Nokia Store. These companies enable you to enter the market easily with low costs.
How do mobile content providers work?
You can register your application at the content provider. This part is usually free of charge. Content providers are responsible to show your application in their product catalogue and take care of the selling process. For this service they retain about 30-40% of the revenues. Content providers have lots of partners in different countries. (These partners offer applications from the same database, but sometimes they have some extra requirements, e.g. your application must be localized to their country to appear in their catalogue.)
There are so many items in the catalogues. How do potential customers find & buy my application?
Customers can browse content by various ways. Usually, applications are ordered by order of sales volume in the past month(s). (I.e. the best sellers are on the top of the list, so those applications are more exposed.) Also, usually there is a view where applications are ordered by release date. (Latest first.)
- In any case, it is very important to raise the attention of the potential customer with a nice, preferably animated image and a brief clear description about the game. (Don't use technical terms end-users don't understand!)
- If your application is good enough, then it may be enough to get noticed by buyers, who browse applications by release date or search by keywords.
- You have option to advertise on e.g. banners of the web pages of the content providers. It is not free (may cost hundred or more Euros per week)
It is very important to understand, that the target is to get as high in the bestseller list as you can. If you succeed, then it may stabilize your sales in long term without the need to invest a penny.
What happens if an end customer buys a licence of your software?
You receive an e-mail notification from the content provider about the purchase. This mail contains some information about the customer, including her e-mail address, and IMEI. Usually you have to send the registration key within 2 working days. Some content providers offer dynamic registration model. It means that the content provider itself generates the key for the customer. It is convenient for the customer and for you too.
Should I make a trial version?
It is not possible to answer. Some content providers believe, that it boosts sales if buyers can try before buy (e.g. Handango) while others think that it is better not to offer a trial version.
How can I protect my application againts piracy?
In S60 applications it is common to unlock full version with a registration key that is generated for the IMEI of the customer's phone. Note:
- Don't spend too much time with complex protection mechanisms unless you have some brilliant idea. All application will be cracked in a week or two if "it is worth it".
Do my applications have to be Symbian Signed?
It is the decision of the content provider. E.g. Handango does not require signed applications, while others do. Note:
- Some content providers require that applications provide an exclusive link to their home page in e.g. when showing an "About" box. It means that multiple installation packages need to be symbian signed, increasing developers' cost.
How much money can I earn with all this?
This depends on your application!