Increasingly, you hear about huge download numbers of popular mobile applications. But few give out actual revenue numbers that are equally impressive. The reason for this is obvious: most simply don’t have impressive revenues. And part of the reason for that is that many of the biggest apps are free. But TapTapTap long ago decided that model wasn’t for them when it comes to their app Camera+. And that decision is paying off — literally.
As they’ve announced on their blog today, TapTapTap has hit both one million downloads of Camera+ and one million dollars in revenues from the app, the rare double-double in the app world. Revenues include both sales of the app itself (which currently sells for $0.99) and in-app purchases, co-founder John Casasanta writes. And what’s perhaps most impressive about the two milestones is that TapTapTap hit them despite being pulled from the App Store for a four-month stretch last year (something they illustrate humorously in the graph above).
But since Camera+ came back a few weeks ago with version 2, revenue has been up 2.7x when compared to the first version, Casasanta says. And it has only been a couple weeks since they announced their 500,000 total sale.
Casasanta then uses the rest of his post to go off about a few things on his mind — namely: VCs, business models, competition, and Android vs. iPhone. While he notes they’re actively being courted by VCs, Casasanta makes his overall disdain for many of them prettty clear. He simply thinks they’re too focused on pushing for a free, ad-driven model — something which TapTapTap doesn’t want to explore.
He also takes a swipe at some of Camera+’s competitors, namely Instagram, downplaying their 1 million download milestone. “Numbers for free apps aren’t nearly as impressive as the press is making it sound. The recent darling of Silicon Valley and one of our competitors, Instagram, has been lauded for getting one million downloads of the app in 10 weeks. But in reality, this number is pretty tiny compared to what high-ranking free apps are doing on a daily basis,” he writes. “The Facebook app, which usually isn’t even in the top 10, will typically get a million new users every week or so, and these are active users, not just downloads,” he continues.
As for Google vs. Android, Casasanta cites Google’s lack of an effective equivalent for Apple’s payment structure as the reason why the platform doesn’t interest him. And he thinks Google doesn’t have that in place simply because they don’t care too much about it. Instead, they’re all about selling ads. He does conceded that both the Apple and Android models will probably thrive, they’re for “two different kinds of users… and two different kinds of developers.”
“Basically, we’re sticking with exactly what we’ve done so far… we’ll continue to create high-quality paid apps with no ads, exclusively for iOS,” he says in conclusion.
You can find Camera+ in the App Store here.
Update: Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom has responded:
“We like Camera+ and would love to support their growth as a paid app – internally we don’t see them as a competitor. Many of our users use Camera+ on a daily basis to post over to Instagram, just like they use Hipstamatic, Camerabag, etc. Our goal is to create a platform for sharing these images, not to supplant the myriad of apps out there that let you take and transform photos.”
“He’s right that it’s wrong to quote the number of downloads as a success metric. We don’t do that — our announcement was that we had hit 1 million registered users, not the number of people that have downloaded it.”