When I was starting developing apps, I was asking myself the question: Should I use ads or any sort of monetization strategy to get some money out of them? Back then in 2016, I had already 3 apps in the Google Play Store (consequently, I put two apps down to focus only on one app). I experimented with ads, especially with my published Crypto Currency tracker app. However, somehow I realized that this isn’t the right way for me. Actually, there are several reasons why my personal apps remain ad-free and the source code is publicly available on Github.
(The subsequent points are highly subjective. Hello from my western European tech bubble 👋)
I don’t need to make money with my apps 💸
This point is admittedly highly subjective. Simply put, I don’t need to make money from my side projects. I have a solid job with a good salary, I don’t really need to make an extra 100–200$ per month. Well, my best-performing app Dante (a book tracker) has to this writing around 3500 users. It would be actually quite hard to make much money with it, without investing cash into campaigns to get more users. Would I say this if I had 100k users? If that would be the case, I don’t think I could safely manage this project on my own without any help, and it would mean that I have to put a lot more time aside. Still, I wouldn’t display ads but look for another monetization strategy.
Ads are just so annoying 🙄
Ads in apps evolved a lot but when I think of the early days of banner ads… They were just outright ugly and didn’t blend in with the actual UI. Apps with ads lacked the love for a coherent and beautiful UI. I didn’t like it a bit. It showed that the developers were more concerned about money than about delivering a delighting user experience (again, highly subjective). Of course, that changed with native ads anyway.
Putting on a price tag just means I really have to deliver value 😰
People are sensitive about paid apps. Does it really provide enough value to charge 0.99$ or even a monthly fee? Which features can I develop on my own which would yield enough value to be charged? It also makes my life easier. I don’t have to immediately fix bugs and I don’t have to answer tons of emails written by unhappy paying customers. Giving it away for free allows me to work on apps just for fun and joy. It takes the pressure off me and does not require constantly working on it.
My personal apps are born of personal reasons. Why shouldn’t they be shared with like-minded people? 🤔
First and foremost, new features for my apps emerge from my thoughts. So, mostly I basically create new features for myself (People do suggest features on Github or Google Play, which are also taken into consideration). Since I published apps, I got quite good feedback (and bad as well), which indicates that people do like what I do. Why should I charge people when making stuff that first and foremost benefits me? I still have a pretty clear opinion on that.
Why do I put most of my source code publicly on Github? 🗂
Most of my source code does not contain much intellectual property (IP) at all (on that remark: please do not share your real intellectual property lightheartedly). Why shouldn’t I share this with the community and interested people? They can do whatever they want with my source code. I still remain responsible for the new features and for the publication of updates. There are only a few good reasons why I shouldn’t publish my code on Github. So I just do it.