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  • Cydia Store - Nearly $1/4 Million in Income


    The Cydia Store launched its first product on March 07, 2009. Cyntact sold sells for a buck, and was the first paid package through the Cydia Store. It allows you to see profile pictures in contact lists. While not the only 3rd party application store for the iPhone (Rock Your Phone also exists), the Cydia Store is definitely the most popular one, largely due to Cydia's immense popularity as the source for jailbreak packages (items you can only get when jailbroken - like themes and apps such as GV Mobile, recently kicked out of the AppStore).

    Now, 4 1/2 months later, "the Cydia Store has had ~53,000 purchases for a grand total of ~$210,000 spent," said Jay Freeman, creator of Cydia, known as saurik to most in the jailbreak crowd. And for a good while, packages weren't even being accepted into the store other than a few beta packages, which Freeman used to live test the service after the initial offline testing. (Packages are now being added more and more as the service matures - use our Cydia submission form if you've got an application you'd like ModMyi to host (we're not your only option), and we'll be in touch).

    Until March, the AppStore was the only sustainable way for a developer to sell their app. There were a few ambitious apps which were freely available in lite versions from Cydia, and had their own built-in payment systems (PdaNet comes to mind, although that whole move to paid was a bit controversial and actually made me completely revise our update approval process for the MMi repo). ZodTTD created an "invite-only" repository where only donaters could access, with unique URL's for the repo depending on your device, email, etc. Both these methods were hacks (however elegant) to get around the glaring issue - no good way existed for jailbreak developers to make any income from their work, forcing scores of developers to either give up on the jailbreak community, never get involved to begin with, or save their best for AppStore, while releasing lesser quality (and lesser time-consuming) packages on Cydia.

    The Cydia Store brings a whole new market as a viable option. Freeman states "In the last day, ~470,000 unique devices reported into my server (when I last checked, months ago, this figure was ~350,000). In the last week, ~1.5 million. In the last month, ~3 million. In the last two months, ~4 million devices. To be honest, this actually surprised me: I thought the jailbreak community had a higher attrition rate: that I'd be seeing a much smaller percentage of 'identifiers of jailbroken devices that were seen in the last two months'". That's a decent audience. The method of sale is well thought-out, too. Your Cydia Store account is tied to either a Facebook or Google account, much like your AppStore account is tied to your iTunes. Sign in once, and your info is saved unless you log out. Same with payment info - associate your device with your payment method once, and its saved for future purchases (of course with an option to turn it off).

    And there's money to be made. It's been said that jailbreakers are not the type to pay for apps, which may be true of a select few cheapskates or a vocal minority of hard-headed "all software should be free" activists (I just call them cheapskates) - but the truth is quite the opposite. We chatted with pumpkin, a member of the iPhone Dev Team who recently released a slick and simple tweak called YourTube which allows you to download YouTube videos to your iPhone from within the YouTube.app. Released just the day before yesterday, it's had over 1800 downloads at $2 a pop - $3600 gross revenue in 3 days, a net income of over $2500. Freeman, like Apple, keeps a variable percentage of the sales, depending on whether there is sales tax applicable. The percentage never tops 30%, Apple's cut for AppStore apps. Another developer's net income was over $10,000 in the first week of sales.

    The lower number of packages for sale, and the higher amount of press an average Cydia Store package receives, account for some of this income. Going forward, for the Cydia Store to maintain its initial success a few changes would have to be made. Specifically presentation - right now there's a simple list of apps for sale (themes don't even show up in the list, they're just in the "Changes" tab in Cydia), but as that grows, a spiced-up presentation will be necessary. One of the AppStore's biggest down-falls (besides the $0.99 app price), is its sheer volume. Apps are buried unless they have huge amounts of exterior advertising. Cydia should bring a better method of delivery to the table.

    Apple's TOS on their SDK specifically prohibits apps created in the SDK being sold elsewhere than the AppStore. Whether that's legal (monopoly and anti-competition are a couple terms that come to mind) is to be determined, but Apple is definitely fighting to have full and sole control of the method of selling software to iPhone users. Competition breeds innovation though (and uh... it's quite central to our entire economic ideals), and folks want options. Well, here comes competition...
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cydia Store - Nearly $1/4 Million in Income started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 57 Comments
    1. PCeasar's Avatar
      PCeasar -
      It's unfortunate that many of you miss the point, $1 or 2 is acceptable for a jailbroken app but the ever constant looming of the jailbreak going away and you not being able to use security updated or get the latest hardware makes me hesitant to pay for anything over 5 bucks, and seriously believe saurik and the gang should tell developers that but then again it's your perogative if you want to buy an application that's way expensive and be pigeon holed with either the OS or hardware that's up to you. I'm done buying expensive one offs unless it's the app store especially given how the last jailbreak went with Geo having to release after dev said they couldn't yet. The exploits have dwindled also just my humble opinion.
    1. factro_'s Avatar
      factro_ -
      .....yahoo...c app store!!!..
      ..we can work on our own..(^___^)!
    1. JerseyScottie's Avatar
      JerseyScottie -
      like somebody said earlier..definitely turning into the app store.I understand we cant discuss warez but its kinda contradicting when we can talk about other types of hacks.But all i'm gonna say is certain repositories are your friend
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Warez are illegal. Nothing discussed here is.
      If you use 'certain repositories' you are a thief.
    1. flix's Avatar
      flix -
      Now that there is some income from, perhaps Jay Freeman (saurik) could make Cydia actually usable. I, for one, always dread launching it because I know I have to wait well over 1 minute until it does its loading data and reloading data crap.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      on my 3GS, Cydia has been loading quite quickly
    1. flix's Avatar
      flix -
      To eliminate any subjectivity in perception, I just timed Cydia. I also have a 3GS and it took 56 seconds from launch to when in finished "Reloading Data". If other package installers can do it, Cydia can do it.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Wow. Thats crazy. I just timed mine at 18 secs. Do you have a lot of repos installed ?
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StealthBravo View Post
      Wow. Thats crazy. I just timed mine at 18 secs. Do you have a lot of repos installed ?
      My 3G S is loading Cydia in about 18-20 seconds as well.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Sounds like he might have a repo that is taking too long to refresh
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StealthBravo View Post
      Sounds like he might have a repo that is taking too long to refresh
      Yeah deffinatley. I have a couple extra repo's installed but it hasn't affected Cydia's loading time to my knowledge. He either has a sh@t load of repo's installed of one bad one.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      ^ lol. My thoughts exactly. the 3GS loads cydia so fast
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Same here - 3GS, Cydia in 19 seconds.
    1. flix's Avatar
      flix -
      So I removed all repos and that knocked it down to less than 11 seconds. But then what's the point without repos? Anyway, without getting into much detail, the way Cydia loads and reloads all the stuff every time you launch it or do an install / remove etc. is just moronic. I'm far from being another ingrate bashing all the work saurik has put into Cydia (and everything else) but now that there's some money involved, it's time for an overhaul.

      Btw, the App Store launches and loads all the new stuff in 6 seconds.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      If you don't like Cydia, don't use it.
      Not sure that Saurik is actually making any mony out of the cydia store, I believe his charges just cover taxes.
    1. bk6039's Avatar
      bk6039 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOnlyest View Post
      I also have the same concerns... I have many free app store apps, but I don't buy any apps from the app store, except for one (eWallet), simply because I have no interest in further supporting Apple's evil empire of greed and arrogance. I am also proud to say that I have not purchased ONE SINGLE SONG from iTunes in my entire life, and never will!!

      I have however paid for several apps from the "JB community" Dev's like iBlacklist, iRealQuick, Elert, etc... with great pleasure and absolutely NO regrets. (i'll even buy iProtect if it ever drops to a reasonable price!)

      And if Apple ever DOES come up with a way to make the iPhone jailbreak-proof, i'll cut my losses and drop AT&T and my iPhone like a hot potato!! Palm Pre and Sprint's $99.99 "Everything" plan, here I come!

      Long live the Cydia store and the apps that THE PEOPLE actually want!! And may ALL you awesome JB Dev's make millions!!
      Cydia apps are useful too many Apple apps for the iphone re not well done ...not all but many..who needs "fart" apps for heavens sake...let apple put out more utilitarian applications and different themes for people to choose from
    1. bedwa's Avatar
      bedwa -
      I only have a few things to say.....

      Viva la Cydia!
      Viva la Saurik!
      Viva la Cydia Store!

      With all the high quality apps in the Cydia Store, all that is needed in the Cydia Store is a good high quality doc editor and you have all the needed programs for any buisness man to do his job with... (instead of those sandboxed versions over at the app store :P ) (you know.... safari downloader, mail attachment downloader, doc editor would finish out the trifecta. )

      Man... I'm SO lovin this.