On Sales and Use Tax, Nexus and Affiliates

Discussed this week on twitter was the recent nexus sales tax law passed in California that may affect affiliates who promote products on their websites. Through a series of tweets, I explained why using Linkshare's affiliate program for iOS products is unaffected. That said, I thought sales tax deserved further explanation and would be a good topic for this weeks #idevblogaday post. Sales and use tax can be confusing, so I'll try explain from a layman's perspective.

Getting Back to Nature

I'm going to go a bit non-tech in this week's post, since I just got back from a four day cub scouts camping trip to Camp Freeland Leslie, a boy scout camp in Wisconsin, where we attended Webelos Adventure Camp. Nowadays it's so easy to get caught up in technology and always being connected that we forget to sit back and enjoy nature and the basics. Playing games on your iPhone is great, but the feeling you get from looking at a sky chock full of stars is something you just can't explain to your kids unless they experience it.

Adding Screenshots to iPhone Device Artwork

In marketing an app, one of the areas that needs attention is your website. The AppStore description and screenshots are sometimes not enough for every customer to make a decision. Sending them to your website gives you another chance at convincing them to purchase your product. In addition, many people do discover apps via search engines, so a website is essential for traffic that can link to your apps on the AppStore.

On your website you have more options with text formats and sizes, layout, and, of course graphics, including screenshots and device shots. Apple makes available device artwork and AppStore badges that you can use on your website, but you have to insert your own screenshots and resize the artwork to meet your needs. (The link requires a developer login). This post will cover some tips on processing your screenshots for device graphics on your website.

Bootstrapping Preparedness

Many funding options are available for an entrepreneur, but which you choose depends on your lifestyle, your aspirations, your experience, and your desire for control, among other things. We chose Bootstrapping for many reasons. We like to have complete control over our business, and we had been both already been working as engineers for over a dozen years, so we had savings and had established ourselves. Our goals are modest—we merely want to create an income to support our family, be able to spend more time with them, and enjoy the flexibility of working for yourself. Bootstrapping may not for everyone, but if you're considering it as an option, this post will cover some ways to prepare and some pitfalls to avoid.

Designing the Right Icons and Graphics for your Apps

What's in an icon? App icons are one of the first things a potential customer sees. A good icon will catch an eye, stand out from the rest. It will make your customer take notice, will entice them to click for more info. Your app's icon is one of the most important graphics for your app and can make a big difference in attracting more customers.

When developing many apps, you might also want to opt for branding, either for your company, or for a series of related apps. A key element of branding is to determine a design element that you want to use throughout each icon. This element could be a style, an border, or something more specific. This post will walk through examples of how we've tackled branding for our apps, including our Trip Boss suite, and briefly discuss the difference an icon can make in sales.

Tips for New iPhone Developers #3 - Setting Release Dates

Here's another tip for newbie iPhone developers, concerning how setting the release date for a new app works.

Setting release dates properly has been a frustrating process for me. The release date can greatly affect where your app appears in the New Releases list on the AppStore, which is the only guaranteed list exposure your app will get. However, if you do not set the release date properly, you will lose that opportunity as well.

Pricing Experimentation, a Game We All Must Play

Maximizing revenue on the AppStore is the goal of every developer. Setting the right price and changing it at the right time (increase or sale) is truly an art. Many variables are at play, but if you experiment carefully, you can find the sweet spot for revenue. This sweet spot may surprise you, so it's important to experiment, or you'll miss out on your revenue potential. Of course, when a competitor comes into the mix, you may have to adjust. It's very important to monitor things regularly, so you are not caught unawares. This post will reiterate a few things from a previous post of mine on pricing, and share some of our experiences with iOS price experimentation.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: the Optimistic Numbers Post

So many sensational articles about iOS development dominate the scene, from the get-rich-quick-we-sold-a-million-copies to the “median paid app earns $682 per year.” However, neither of these two situations are realistic for business planning. While doing taxes and accounting this week, plus monitoring our newly released in-app purchase in Trip Boss travel manager, I was reminded that I've been meaning to write about how it really IS possible to make a living writing iOS apps. Ask yourself: can your business support you? If so, how can you plan for this? I'm not one to “hope,” I want to “make” it happen. All serious businesses should have a plan, rather than “just writing apps and hoping for the best.” This post shares our experiences in sales, in promotions, and lastly our business plan.

IAP: Selling Apps-Within-an-App, a new business model

Our travel manager, Trip Boss, is a comprehensive travel app which posed a unique structure that required an unorthodox solution when bringing it to the iOS mobile market. In order to move Trip Boss to iOS in a way that solves both our customer's needs and makes it feasible, economically, we came up with a new method of selling—Apps-Within-an-App. The app was originally available on the PalmOS platform, which is much different than the iOS platorm. To 'port this software to the new AppStore, we had to consider many things: customers needs, data sharing, development time, and pricing. Otherwise, the app would never have come to fruition on the iOS platform. This post will take you through the history, the thought process, the choices, and the final decision and product.

Trip Boss IAP store screenshot

Serving Sizer Pro Recipe Cards for iPad Named Finalist in 2010 Best App Ever Awards

UPDATE: We took 3rd place! Thanks to all who voted for us!!

We're ecstatic that Serving Sizer Pro Recipe Cards on the iPad made Finalist in the 2010 Best App Ever awards. Thank you to all who nominated us! Our app is in the Parenting category for iPad. We've got some tough competition, so please take the time to enter your vote for us. Voting ends Tuesday, January 25. Thank you for your support.

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