70 Cents Put Me on the Mac App Store Charts

January 31, 2017

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to complain about my sales. You can question my strategy, my acumen, my sanity, and those questions may be valid. However, if you take it upon yourself to publicly rip on one poor indie developer, then you are a malicious, pathetic troll who needs to take a hard look at yourself while trying to choke back the vomit. There's no lower scum of the earth than someone who would step on another person when they're down. You have this in writing, and you can quote it back at any villain who ignores my disclaimer. The purpose of this post is to illustrate by example a shortcoming of the Mac App Store top charts.

Yesterday I noticed that my app Underpass reached 18 in the Mac App Store Top Paid Social Networking chart and 29 in the Top Grossing Social Networking chart.

Top Paid Social NetworkingTop Paid Social Networking

I found that strange because Underpass sold zero copies the day before and had sold poorly the entire week before. This morning I opened iTunes Connect to check the sales figures from yesterday: Proceeds $0.70

That's right, 1 unit sale for $0.99, giving me $0.70 after Apple's 30% cut. The 18th top paid social networking app sold 1 unit, and the 29th top grossing social networking app made $0.70 for the developer.

Granted, these are just the Social Networking category charts, not the overall Top Paid and Top Grossing charts. As I type, the 6th app on the Top Paid Social Networking chart is 124th on the overall Top Paid chart, so you can guesstimate for yourself how the charts compare. I'm not sure exactly what it means to be near the bottom of the overall charts. I do know exactly what it means to be near the bottom of the Social Networking charts: nothing! There are 180 apps each on the Top Paid Social Networking and Top Grossing Social Networking charts. My app was 18 out of 180 and sold 1 unit.

Why do the Social Networking charts even exist, and why do they have 180 items when clearly almost all of the apps on the charts are selling next to nothing? I won't speculate about motives, but I believe the effect of the charts is to give developers, consumers, and the media a false impression about the Mac App Store. The charts do not accurately reflect how (un)healthy the store is and how widely (un)profitable it is to third-party developers.

We do know that some developers are doing very well on the Mac App Store. The question is, how many? It's hard not to conclude that the top charts themselves are extremely top-heavy.