/// Not All Apps Can Be Instagrams, but Someone Might Be Willing to Buy Them

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital


So you’ve built the mobile app, and you’ve got a bunch of people using it, but it’s no Instagram. Now what? It’s not as easy to raise Series A funding as it used to be, and mobile apps are a tough, hits-driven business. An emerging option is to try to sell the application. Not for $0.99 on the App Store to all comers — the whole app, to another company or developer who will take over managing it and its users. It’s the opposite of a talent acquisition: the buyer gets the product, but not the people who made it. One marketplace for apps, called Apptopia , has sold more than 100 apps for a total of $388,000 in its first year, it told me this week. The Boston-based company, which is backed with more than $1 million from investors including Mark Cuban, is a sort of specialized eBay that now attracts repeat buyers and facilitates all the tricky parts of the transfer process. It takes a 15 percent fee and has experimented with different strategies, including time-based auctions and a sort of standing catalog of apps. What it really comes down to is this: People want to buy apps that have lots of users, according to Apptopia founder Jonathan Kay. He did the math and established that the average price per user on Apptopia transactions is $0.55. Kay pitched it as a steal, considering developers often pay much more on services like Tapjoy. Because once you have users, at the very least you can make money from showing them ads

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Not All Apps Can Be Instagrams, but Someone Might Be Willing to Buy Them

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