On walkabout in life and technology

TimeToCall - After One Week

TimeToCall is a simple, universal iOS application I developed to help people choose the best time to call when calling internationally. This is a follow-on to a 10 part (and growing) series I wrote about the thinking and work done. My goal is to share just how much effort it really does take to craft an iPhone app and ship it. I hope this series helps you to understand why it costs so much and takes so long to create beautiful software. Start at part 1 first.

Unlike other products and other developers, I intend to report the sales numbers, some reviews and support data for TimeToCall. It is, after all, a hobby project to write about, even though this is the kind of thing I do for a living.

Sales & Revenue

| Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Total :—— | :—: | :—: | :—-: | :—-: | :—: | :—: | :—: | —–: Sales | 6 | 5 | 59 | 55 | 13 | 4 | 3 | 145 Revenue | $4.17 | $3.49 | $41.71 | $39.06 | $9.28 | $2.86 | $2.16 | $102.74

Day 1 and 2 sales were family and friends, mostly via my Facebook Page (you know you want to ‘like’ it) and Twitter. Not surprising as no-one else knew about it then.

On Day 3, I sent out a six fumbling emails to some of my favorite tech bloggers to see if any of them would try the product out and read the series I wrote (and hoping they would write about it). Two responded via email. Honestly, I did not expect any responses, these folks get bombarded with emails from people saying “Try my Product” and “Here is a Promo” and “Could You…” type messages. They have better things to do than to respond to all of these messages. And I sure am not famous.

And then Brett Terpstra, one of the six, published the wonderful An iOS development saga: TimeToCall. Within minutes, traffic on my site started to rise and 20 of the sales on Day 3 can be attributed to his article. Thank you Brett.

Later on Day 3, Gonny van der Zwaag (@gonny) published TimeToCall: hoe een iPhone tijdzone-app tot stand kwam in iPhoneclub.nl I do not know how Gonny found out about the product, but we had a lovely Twitter conversation later. As a result of this post, 24 sales in the Benelux region. Thank you Gonny.

On Day 4, traffic continued to come in from Brett and Gonny’s posts, leading to 30 sales in the Benelux area and 7 in the US.

Day’s 5, 6 and 7 sales tapered off as no new news and reporting came out.

I’m very satisfied with the first week’s sales, considering the only marketing so far is this site’s readers and the two wonderful posts by two wonderful people.

App Store Reviews

You can all take a look at the reviews on the App Store, there have been five so far. Full disclosure, the two five star reviews are friends and family. And the remainder seem to be some kind of support requests. I’ll write about this later, but we developers cannot respond to reviews on the App Store.

What impressed me was that one reviewer wrote two large reviews, a lot of words. What would be amazing is to engage this person in conversation, they have some ideas I like for the product, and I’d like to understand them better. But the anonymity of the App Store also means I have no idea who this person is or how to engage with them.

If you have feature ideas, don’t be afraid to email our support addresses, we indies love the contact (The support inbox is actually our inbox redirected to FogBugz or Lighthouse, not some support department; we just created the address because it makes us look professional and helps us track messages, but I digress).

Support Emails

On the support line, I have received a couple of emails with some feedback and feature requests. I responded to each (one should always respond to support emails) and will most likely implement at least one of them in the next release of TimeToCall.

And two bugs.


But thanks for finding them folks. Even the simplest of apps is not perfect. For the record, the bugs are that the green plus next to ‘Tap to Add a new Place’ actually does not respond to a tap, oops. And if you reset the home location on the initially created Time to Call before the GPS has kicked in, it sets the time as per New York, not local.

I also received a reasonable number of emails from folks offering to promote my product and increase its ranking. I did not respond to any of them (oops, there goes the respond to support emails rule). Maybe one day I’ll hit one up as an experiment to see if it works, but right now, paying for rankings or pushing their links on my site does not cut it. I’d rather my writing, limited network and own marketing took care of sales.

After One Week

So, after one week on the App Store, TimeToCall has sold 145 units for a pre-tax revenue of $102.74 (I’m using to AppViz 2). That is a lot more sales than I expected given the lack of promotion (except for this site) and it’s mostly due to the Brett and Gonny’s writing.

Thank You. Guess what I did with the profits.

For those of you wonderfully anal readers who added up the numbers in the data table above and came out 1 penny short, remember, not all sales are in US dollars, so there is some rounding going on.

Follow the author as @hiltmon on Twitter or @hiltmon on App.Net.