Developing Perspective

Show 0.3


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   This is episode 0.3.

00:00:06   Today is Friday, July 15th, and I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:12   And let's get started.

00:00:14   Developing Perspective is an almost daily podcast talking about what I find interesting.

00:00:19   I'm an independent iOS developer, so if you're an independent iOS developer or you like technology,

00:00:26   Apple related for the most part.

00:00:28   This is the place for you.

00:00:29   The format of the show is very straightforward.

00:00:32   I walked through a couple of the interesting links that I came

00:00:35   across in the last 24 hours or so and then talk

00:00:39   about a more general topic towards the end.

00:00:42   The show will never be longer than about 15 minutes.

00:00:45   So let's dive in.

00:00:47   All right.

00:00:49   To get a little bit of follow up, first,

00:00:51   there's an excellent guide that was just posted on Mac stories.

00:00:56   that walks through the actual impacts

00:00:59   of the International App Store price realignment.

00:01:03   It's pretty helpful, nice charts.

00:01:06   Basically, you can see that Apple did what you'd expect

00:01:10   they did and they pulled down a lot of the prices

00:01:14   and raised a few of them.

00:01:16   So for example, in U.S. dollar terms,

00:01:21   they changed the UK price from 0.95 cents to $1.11 for 99 cent app versus in something

00:01:33   like Australia where they pulled it down from $1.37 to $1.05.

00:01:38   So generally, it's just good, something that you want to keep an eye on and understand

00:01:43   for how that's going to affect your actual revenue.

00:01:45   Just a little FYI.

00:01:48   Next, a little bit of follow up on yesterday's discussion

00:01:54   about the new push notifications in TapBots.

00:01:57   They had a bit of an interesting thing last night

00:01:59   where they tried to roll it out.

00:02:01   It turns out they had our provisioning profile was not set

00:02:04   up correctly, which we've all done.

00:02:06   And basically that meant that they needed

00:02:11   to do another quick update before it would work.

00:02:13   So stay tuned on that.

00:02:16   A couple other interesting links that I ran across.

00:02:19   One is an article about how the show bot

00:02:25   for the 5x5 chat room was made.

00:02:29   This is something that I believe,

00:02:32   see Jeremy Mac wrote, and basically it's just a way

00:02:36   of in the IRC chat room while listening to live shows

00:02:40   on 5x5 you can listen to, you can suggest titles for the show

00:02:46   and it aggregates them and displays them on a website.

00:02:48   And it's just a really nice little walkthrough

00:02:51   of exactly how he did that, how it works.

00:02:54   So if that's the kind of thing that you think is interesting,

00:02:57   by all means, definitely check that out.

00:03:00   Another interesting link and I can't remember

00:03:05   where I found this, but there's a--

00:03:07   basically a network engineer named David Simmons did an

00:03:12   analysis of how it is that Macs are able to get on networks so quickly.

00:03:19   And you've probably noticed this if you spend a lot of time working on Windows workstations.

00:03:26   When you first power them on, the workstation takes quite a while before it's actually able

00:03:32   to successfully make network requests.

00:03:34   And most of this has to do with getting DHCP configuration set up, essentially,

00:03:42   especially if you switch networks, when it launches and tries to work out where it is,

00:03:47   it initially tries the old network configuration and sees if that works.

00:03:52   If it does, great.

00:03:54   If not, then it moves on.

00:03:56   And this is an interesting little diagram, I guess a flow diagram

00:04:02   of exactly how Apple does that.

00:04:05   And you could look at it as Apple is cheating or Apple is just optimizing certain things

00:04:13   at the expense of others.

00:04:15   And essentially they're making requests more quickly than is standard in, for example,

00:04:22   something like a usual Linux kernel or Windows or Android tablets, those types of things.

00:04:30   And the advantage is you get within a few seconds you have a full established connection

00:04:37   where versus having to wake up to say 5 to 10 seconds.

00:04:41   And it's a small difference but if you've noticed the difference you know it is a big deal.

00:04:47   And then the last link and as of course all these links will be in the show notes is one

00:04:55   of the things that I've been working on recently is having a backup plan for TextMate.

00:05:03   And essentially my concern is that TextMate seems to be largely abandoned at this point,

00:05:12   not in the sense that it has a head minor bug fix updates and things going on,

00:05:19   but it doesn't seem like there's a lot of movement progress on actually,

00:05:25   you know, enhancing it and improving it.

00:05:27   And there's Lion coming so quickly, that's especially interesting because there's a lot

00:05:33   of features that Lion is going to be bringing that it would be great

00:05:37   if TextMate included even just as simple as full screen editing.

00:05:42   Some of the version stuff though, I'm not as convinced by that would be helpful

00:05:47   because that's almost like putting another version control system inside of, you know,

00:05:53   my usual workflow which is tracked with Git.

00:05:56   But some of those things will be very helpful and very useful if it's updated.

00:06:02   And if it's not, then that would be very frustrating.

00:06:05   And so the-- it seems like the consensus is the next best editor is probably BB Edit.

00:06:12   And it's next best in many ways because of its longevity, because of the people behind it.

00:06:18   Bare bones has been in business forever.

00:06:21   and it's sort of unthinkable that it would not be updated and enhanced and take full

00:06:28   advantage of Lion.

00:06:29   So I've been playing with that.

00:06:31   And there's an interesting article I was reading over on idlehands.com that walks through a

00:06:37   lot of sort of coming to BBEdit from TextMate.

00:06:42   And so far, I've...

00:06:44   Yesterday was my first day using BBEdit exclusively.

00:06:47   And so far, so good.

00:06:49   The only thing that I've really found that drives me crazy, which is just a getting used to it thing, is I'm so used to having tabs for switching between documents rather than having a project drawer on the side, which is the way BVEdit does it.

00:07:04   But other than that, it's been great, nice and stable, and by far the single largest benefit is that it can actually handle large files without dying.

00:07:15   As an example, I'll often have a Rails project that has an archive, for example, of a MySQL

00:07:23   dump.

00:07:24   You know, it's a file, say 100 megs, just text.

00:07:28   You try and open that, even accidentally in TextMate, the whole thing just explodes.

00:07:32   It's spinning beach ball and then just basically crashes.

00:07:39   Whereas PBEdit, it opens it up just fine.

00:07:41   So that's one huge advantage.

00:07:43   So I won't have to use, you just have to open those kinds of things in Vi if I wanted to

00:07:48   edit them or look at them or change them.

00:07:51   But, so plus one for BB edit.

00:07:54   All right.

00:07:56   It's now going to transition into the main body of today's show.

00:08:04   And specifically this is a bit of a response to some of the, I guess you could call it

00:08:09   trash talking that's been happening about iAd recently.

00:08:14   Basically, if you don't know,

00:08:16   iAd is the iOS advertising platform

00:08:19   that Apple launched a little over a year ago.

00:08:23   I think it was new in iOS 4.

00:08:26   And it's just a mobile advertising platform

00:08:30   that integrates at the OS level.

00:08:33   And when Apple launched it, their big thing is,

00:08:36   oh, it's totally different.

00:08:38   It's optimizing for the user experience rather than optimizing for clicks and page views

00:08:49   and all the kind of usual things that are kind of unfortunate

00:08:53   from a user's perspective with mobile advertising.

00:08:56   And there's been a lot of talk recently that it's basically a flop.

00:08:59   It wasn't talked about at all at WWDC.

00:09:03   In fact, during WWDC, Steve kind of made fun of ads for a lot of the cloud stuff.

00:09:11   And so it's kind of been, there's just undercurrent of, well, iAds a big flop.

00:09:16   And iAds is doing horribly and Apple's probably just going to pull it soon.

00:09:21   And, well, I've been-- I have a bit of personal experience in this.

00:09:25   I, in my audiobooks application, which is a pretty highly trafficked site--

00:09:32   So, I think these numbers are somewhat representative.

00:09:35   They're not certainly at the level of something like a top 20 game,

00:09:40   but the app is typically in the top 10 in the books category,

00:09:43   you know, many thousand downloads a day.

00:09:46   And I've had iAd and a variety of other advertising platforms in it since day one.

00:09:53   And so I have some pretty good data about how that's actually been performing.

00:09:58   And base-- initially, what I can look at is in June,

00:10:04   I pulled the total data from the app.

00:10:07   And just sort of at a high level,

00:10:09   the way this works is I ask for an iAd.

00:10:12   If I get one, I show it.

00:10:14   If I don't, then I load a Google AdSense ad.

00:10:18   And if I don't get that, then I send it off to what you would sort

00:10:22   of call the remnant or aggregation system where

00:10:26   at which point it starts throwing who knows what.

00:10:28   Which is a little less than ideal, but it's all

00:10:31   about making the money, so at least for this app.

00:10:35   It's sort of, whenever I make a free app, you're trying

00:10:40   to capitalize a very different customer base,

00:10:42   a customer base who's perfectly willing to look at ads.

00:10:45   So you're kind of optimizing in a different way

00:10:49   than you'd optimize for sort of quality

00:10:51   and user experience in some ways.

00:10:54   But anyway, so let's kind of walk through some of the numbers.

00:10:56   So on iAd in June, the effective CPM, which is essentially the amount

00:11:04   of money you get per 1,000 impressions or views by a user, was $2.20.

00:11:13   And over the course of the month, it led to a revenue of a little over $2,000.

00:11:17   Whereas the next best performing, which is almost always Google AdSense,

00:11:23   had an effective CPM of 98 cents, so more than half that of IAD,

00:11:30   which resulted in a revenue of about $464.

00:11:34   And then when we go out to the remnant system,

00:11:37   then the effective ECPM dropped to only 42 cents.

00:11:43   And so you can see IAD's actually doing very, very well.

00:11:48   The-- if anything, it's just the marketplace in which they work, you know,

00:11:54   mobile advertising is just kind of horrible.

00:11:57   It's-- and they're sort of head and shoulders above all of their peers.

00:12:03   So it certainly would be a bit early to say that IAD is dead.

00:12:08   Another complaint a lot of people have about IAD is the fill rate.

00:12:12   And that's true.

00:12:14   If I had 100% fill on IAD, I would at this point be making about twice as much money

00:12:19   because the fill rate is hovering right around 60%.

00:12:23   And it used to be horrible.

00:12:27   It used to be down in the 10% range, sometimes single digit.

00:12:32   But even in that, over the last say six months, it's increased dramatically

00:12:38   and fairly consistently to a point now that it's up at around 60%

00:12:43   and making good money.

00:12:46   And John Gruber's post on the Daring Fireball

00:12:48   about this topic, recently he sort of posed

00:12:51   the rhetorical question, are there any developers

00:12:54   making good money with IAD?

00:12:56   And he said, I've never heard of any.

00:12:59   And I suppose I'd like to put myself forward

00:13:01   as someone who's making pretty good money on IAD.

00:13:04   Well, $2,200 a month isn't transformative.

00:13:09   It's not an absurd amount of money.

00:13:13   you add effect that continues and it seems

00:13:16   like it has become pretty consistent,

00:13:18   then that's a pretty good chunk of change

00:13:22   for a small independent iOS developer

00:13:24   that covers quite a lot of expenses

00:13:28   and in aggregate is pretty good, especially since

00:13:31   that is just a small part of a larger portfolio.

00:13:35   And so from my perspective, IAD isn't dead,

00:13:38   IAD is far from it, IAD is actually doing really well

00:13:42   I would say one little sort of caveat at the end and this is sort of similar

00:13:48   to my initial discussion a couple days ago about on Android and the difference between the iOS

00:13:56   and Android and specifically Google versus Amazon,

00:13:59   which then shows 0.1 if you're interested.

00:14:02   But the big thing here is while Iod is by far the best platform for advertising,

00:14:09   it still does nowhere near as much as paid and in-app purchase from a revenue

00:14:14   perspective.

00:14:15   Over the same period I made about three times the money from purchases than I did

00:14:19   from advertising. So don't get me wrong, I'd say advertising is the way to do it.

00:14:24   But if you need advertising, IAD is still the best.

00:14:28   Alright,

00:14:29   and that's today's show.

00:14:31   Hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back on Monday. Have a good weekend and