FreeAppADays Bayen hits back at complaints over paid-for service
The reason is that in order to be featured on the site - which promotes games by giving one away for free every day, with the plan of using the title's boost up the free chart to drive paid sales - developers are charged a fee of $1,200.
Founder Joe Bayen strongly defends this approach however.
"Yes we do charge for the service. There is a commercial aspect since we are providing an enormous amount of traffic for developers. The fee covers our sales team, web site maintenance, marketing etc," he explains.
"We currently have a baseline of $1,200 and will fluctuate in the future depending on the site's traffic. We had a $600 promo running for our remaining dates in February, and we are waving the fee for first time developers with compelling apps at least 3 stars."
The developer's dilemma
What's really significant about this disagreement however is how it underlines the collision in attitude between those studios who believe the quality of released games, the meritocracy of the App Store, as well as the community of iPhone developers, will be sufficient to create a sustainable business, and those who think those days are long gone.
Bayen, who's also CEO of developer ICS Mobile, is certain on which side of the debate he sits.
"Some developers are frustrated because it's hard to make a dime on an App Store which contains 120,000 apps," he says.
"I'm trying to help them. Our goal is to help developers generate a return on their investment by explaining what to expect from going free for a day and how to monetise it.
"I explain how ICS was able to generate revenue from the massive traffic we got. But some of them can't see the light. It's pretty simple though. If they don't switch their business model, with 120,000 apps out there, they are dead."
Not just about show me the money
He also points out that some developers are using the service not primarily to drive sales of the game they're putting free but to promote forthcoming titles.
"Some people are using the traffic to obtain 30,000 to 80,000 users that they'll be able to communicate with via game updates to inform them about upcoming games," he says. "I think it would cost you a lot more than $1,200 to get that many eyeballs by any other means."
"So sure, using FreeAppADay isn't guaranteed to make you more sales, but it does provides an opportunity for developers to use in different ways that are appropriate to their own business models, whether that's the promotion of future apps, pure discovery or the freemium business model."