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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. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Quote Originally Posted by prostovanka View Post
      Freeman doing awesome job. Thank you all Devs out there that have been with us till today. First thing first, Cheapskates is a little harsh to call some one that simply doesnt want to pay for certain apps that arent worth the money but any way.
      Cheapskates is what I call the people who aren't willing to pay for an app period. If you don't want the app, who cares - I'm talking about the ones you DO want.

      Quote Originally Posted by prostovanka View Post
      Im just curious iPhone Devteam the one who made JB possible has always claimed to do it for free which still stands till today. If that is so and is true then I think its a little unfair that the people that made Jay Freeman's Cydia App available arent getting a cut.
      Jay Freeman made Jay Freeman's app available. And he gets a cut.
    1. LGgeek's Avatar
      LGgeek -
      I have no problem paying for good apps ( bought 4 from the store already). Thanks to all in JB community that makes this possible.
    1. algojobathosai's Avatar
      algojobathosai -
      Good work...
      beat appstore down.....
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by algojobathosai View Post
      Good work...
      beat appstore down.....
      It's good - but I wouldn't do that far!
    1. PCeasar's Avatar
      PCeasar -
      I have bought tons of apps from cydia and rockyourphone, MivTones/Unresrictor/IntelliScreen the list goes on. But you know what I just got my 3gs few months ago and let me tell you, that was a painful stack of money I had to part with until there was a JB. I emailed RockYourPhone support and was told they dont support the 3Gs and didnt know if they would in the future.

      So talk all you want but this could be fleeting, Apple is going harder at Jailbreakers as we've seen in the news recently. You could say just dont upgrade to the next OS release but when they come out with the fix for the potential SMS hack what will we do. If there's a 4G iPhone what will we do then? I'm just saying I'm at least 50$+ invested in Cydia/RockYourPhone related apps.

      Sure I may accept the fleeting use of the money I spent but I can understand why others may not want to accept such a risk. At the same time I also understand why dev's charge for their efforts of the work they do, I just think that some of those apps start get a bit too costly at over $2 bucks unless they can gaurantee a future jailbreak. Guess thats why some developers start saying the purchase is tied to your specific device.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      I buy some stuff from Cydia but I certainly wouldn't let RYP near anything of mine!
    1. srchino's Avatar
      srchino -
      Quote Originally Posted by PaperCross View Post
      That is awesome! Maybe Cydia can do the 1 billion download giveaway soon like Apple did...just to prove a point
      ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
    1. PCeasar's Avatar
      PCeasar -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      I buy some stuff from Cydia but I certainly wouldn't let RYP near anything of mine!
      Why?
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Because it causes a lot of problems. If they want to sell their products through Cydia (which I need to unlock my phone), fine, but I am not going to install some potentially damaging software just to buy more software.
    1. PCeasar's Avatar
      PCeasar -
      Well I must say I do not like the fact that I need yet another application icon for delivering of apps, its too complicated remembering to cycle through them to find out which ones have app updates. However, I have had no issues with RYP and their product has been pretty solid but thats just my experience.
    1. seandiego's Avatar
      seandiego -
      How does one get on the Cydia Store as a paid theme?
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      One emails me (or any repo owner).
    1. Faxmonkey's Avatar
      Faxmonkey -
      Quote Originally Posted by kmmxracer View Post
      Well look how the jailbreaking community is turning into the App Store, whats next!!!
      It's basically become an App store without *any* of apple's restrictions. That's a good thing, imo. It provides an alternative but it's one that you have to know about to access. The people who don't know about the "other" app store don't really belong there -- they are the same people that Apple sets up all it's restrictions to protect in the first place.

      The sort of peole who, if multitasking existed, would never close ANY app and then complain about how slow the phone was. The people who need Apple to babysit them have it, and those who do not, have an alternative. It works out great.
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Faxmonkey View Post
      It's basically become an App store without *any* of apple's restrictions. That's a good thing, imo. It provides an alternative but it's one that you have to know about to access. The people who don't know about the "other" app store don't really belong there -- they are the same people that Apple sets up all it's restrictions to protect in the first place.

      The sort of peole who, if multitasking existed, would never close ANY app and then complain about how slow the phone was. The people who need Apple to babysit them have it, and those who do not, have an alternative. It works out great.
      LOL good point but I have to say I think some jailbreakers still need ol' Apple babysitting them.

      I myself have paid for quite a few apps from cydia in the past that I thought were werth the money and risk of losing after a specific firmware update. But I think that when it comes to cydia some of Devs are (for lack of a better word) lazy or just don't care to update their apps for so long a time I don't even want said app anymore if they EVER do. That's the only problem I have when it comes to cydia and purchasing a specific app is future support of the app in question. I think when devs create an app (especially a paid app) they should have the responsibility to and be mature enough to keep up with it. I mean when you get a dog you have to feed the d@mn thing right?!?

      Anyways that's just my opinion. Flame away. I know at least one of you will.
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Don't you face the same issue with AppStore? Apple doesn't require anyone to update on a schedule...
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      Quote Originally Posted by poetic_folly View Post
      Don't you face the same issue with AppStore? Apple doesn't require anyone to update on a schedule...
      Of course they don't. Did I say they did? No.
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      So you have the issue with buying apps in general you're saying, not just Cydia?
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by poetic_folly View Post
      One emails me (or any repo owner).
      I know I do, but what's your point?

      Jay is gonna need about 4 times that amount to defend against apple for just a month of attny fees so he better save every dime.
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      Quote Originally Posted by poetic_folly View Post
      So you have the issue with buying apps in general you're saying, not just Cydia?
      I'm not a J@ck@55 that mess's with wares if that's what you're geting at. I have bought and payed for MANY apps from the Appstore and Cydia alike ( as I already stated in my previous post). I was just saying that's generaly what I think about before I decide if I should purchase an app or not.
    1. bruinsrme's Avatar
      bruinsrme -
      I have no problem throwing a couple of bucks to make the iphone more functional, usable, and enjoyable.
      When my 3Gs wasn't jailbroken I thought to myself why the hell did I buy this, so I went back to the 3G.

      As far as i am concerned, I would much rather pay the jailbreaking developers a couple of bucks for their work instead of giving apple a penny. As far as paying for what has been free in the past, tuff sheet you freaking cheapskates. These guys in the jailbreaking world are about attention to detail, helpful using their programs and troubleshooting issues, and take their time to write this stuff and support us.

      Why do some feel they are entitled to these developers time and work for free?