Tapjoy has had a tumultuous ride in the last year. It has been bounced around by Apple and its App Store terms of service, has gone to the Web to skirt Apple's policies, integrated mobile video ads and set up a fund for iOS developers to port their games to Android. It has been scattershot and frenetic but it appears that, finally, the company is starting to see some success.Mobile marketing company
Tapjoy launched a mobile Web-based application store late in 2011 with the intention of skirting Apple and bringing iOS, Android and HTML5-based Facebook games to one central location. Through its Android Fund, Tapjoy now has 130 applications that includes several million user editions. So much for the notion that 2012 would be the death of the third-party app store.
For the record, I still believe that many third-party app stores will eventually get pushed out the ecosystem. It seems now that the market is still in its boom phase where many parties believe there is money to be made by living off the scraps from the Android Market and Apple App Store. And hey, why not? If Apple proved anything with its $700 million paid to iOS developers last quarter, it is that there is a healthy and vibrant demand for mobile applications and that there is money to be made by all.
Despite its bumpy ride, Tapjoy has been growing quickly. Its Android network reached 25 million monthly active users in December 2011. That is, of course, thanks to its focus on Android after iOS kicked the company and its virtual currency out of the App Store. Tapjoy then partnered with PapayaMobile to bring social discovery to mobile apps through its Web-based store.
"Our goal for the Tapjoy Android Fund was to help enhance the Android ecosystem by bringing great games from Facebook, iOS and other platforms to the Android Market," said Rob Carroll, Tapjoy's director of publishing, in a press release.
So, Tapjoy has been growing. So, it has had some success with Android apps. So what? Tapjoy in and of itself is only one player, and a smaller one, in the larger sea that is the Empire Of Android. Tapjoy's recent success actually has a lot less to do with the company than the trend it represents.
What is the biggest problem facing Android developers? Making money. The Android Market has not been conducive helping publishers to that end. We expect Google to help change that in 2012 but right now there is an ecosystem building around Android that can help developers get their apps discovered and get paid. While there is basically zero grey market for iOS apps, the grey market for Android is a viable place for publishers to turn to. Whether it is the Tapjoy Android Fund and its repository of apps or the Amazon Android Appstore or GetJar (which just signed a deal with GameLoft) there are alternatives.
Android publishers have opportunities to make money. It is not as streamlined as iOS and some creativity will be needed. Diversifying your Android strategy can help you put apps on users' smartphones and dollars in your pocket.
Developers: What is your Android strategy? Do you rely on the Android Market or ar you actively pursuing outside opportunities in third party application stores? Let us know in the comments.