There are amazing success stories in the mobile apps market which has spurned a large number of developers to skill up on application development for various mobile OS’s. Every independent app developer wants to make great apps and make big bucks from it.
But how does one make money from apps? Usually, there are 2 ways of directly earning money from apps. (Read about other monetization models)
1) Ads – a lot of people use your apps and you host some product/business’s ad within your app which would have the advertiser’s link embedded in it
2) Paid downloads – Your apps could be downloaded from various app stores for a price, by hosting it in a merchant account
The angry Indian Developer
Let’s face it: For Ad generated revenue to be substantial, an app requires a significantly large number of users. With hundreds and thousands of apps, a new app has to compete intensely in various app stores, so getting that large number of users is a huge challenge and hence the ad revenue model is usually a secondary source of revenue generation.
The most direct method of a developer making money from an app is through paid app downloads. Unfortunately, Indian developers are faced with restrictions that make this model unfeasible. Mainly because:
1) No merchant account – Most mobile OS’s have not made the merchant account, i.e., the account which can host a paid app, available in India. So if you’re an Indian developer, the only way you can host a paid app is have an app account from a country that has the merchant account
2) Lack of credit card penetration – Every smartphone user in India is not necessarily a credit card owner. This is a problem because the user needs a credit card to download a paid app.
Vserv.mobi: Innovative app monetization for emerging markets
Vserv.mobi provides an alternative solution for this need of the Indian developer. It is a leading global mobile ad network which connects independent developers and app publishers to their network of advertisers.
Their flagship product, the Appwrapper platform, which is a tool that links a particular app with Vserve.mobi’s ad network, ensures global monetization of apps to developers irrespective of the availability of a merchant account.
Here is a video of the Appwrapper in action –
Vserv.mobi and Vodafone India Partnership
On the 25th of July 2012, Vodafone India signed up with Vserv.mobi to provide better app monetization to its developer partners. Though still under wraps, this partnership is promising some truly innovative methods of monetization specific to India.
From the information shared with us, this partnership aims to set up dedicated billing pipelines via which developers from around the world can sell their apps. For India, this means that a Vodafone subscriber can buy paid apps using their prepaid balance.
This will be an effective and innovative alternative for the denied Indian app developer as
a) It sorts out the issue of direct selling of paid apps from Indian accounts
b) The user doesn’t need to have a credit card to buy paid apps
More partnerships to come
While Google, Apple, Nokia and Microsoft sort out the issue of bringing merchant accounts to Indian developers, it seems that Vserv.mobi has provided an innovative alternative that just might work in India. Along with Vodafone, Versv.mobi is working on partnerships with other carriers so as to make this facility available via as many platforms as possible.
Emerging markets like India require specific strategies which are different from the conventional models that work in the west, and it seems like this young Mumbai based start-up may just have gotten it right.
[Read a detailed Interview with Dippak Khurana, the founder at Vserv]