Gabriel Machuret is not an app developer; in fact he "couldn't care less about apps." He looks at an app and doesn't see a coding challenge or an opportunity for creativity; he sees a revenue stream. He's an App Store Optimization (ASO) expert, and he recently put his money where his mouth is with an experiment in reskinning apps that he tossed into the App Store. How did his experiment turn out? We talked with Machuret to find out.
If you are not familiar with the process, reskinning involves buying an app's source code and then swapping out the graphics and sounds to create a new or different app. Buy the right code, and you can use the same core app to create a variety of games or apps.
In his experiment, Machuret used the same code and the same category with different niche approaches. He ended up producing 35 apps in about a month; five got rejected by Apple and 30 apps are live in the App Store. As for the quality of those apps, Machuret has his own definition: "It is important to understand you can build a quality app even if the app itself is not, from a developer point of view, 'high quality.'"
As much as you may disagree with his strategy, you can't argue with the results. Just using ASO, well-written descriptions and apps that hit a target niche, Machuret was able to pull in just under $5,000 in revenue in two months. After factoring in costs, he walked away with $2,892 in profit. All this for one month of work and one month of relaxation.
To maximize his profit, Machuret cut development costs to the limit. He chose "non-conventional" apps so the development was very affordable. He also didn't overcomplicate the process, quickly changing strategy when something in the reskinning became too costly. It may raise some hackles, but Machuret approached the App Store as a salesman and not a developer.
"I spent more time researching and understanding the market and niche, than wondering if I should make my graphics yellow or green," said Machuret. "For me the biggest asset is the data that my own apps provide me about the market I'm trying to target."
Being successful to Machuret is not about the developer's goals, but about the user and what the user expects. "What the user expects versus what the developer would love to produce, are different in many situations," Machuret notes. "The goal is to provide to the user exactly what you announced your app provides and if you did the right market research your app will be purchased and/or downloaded."
This isn't a short-term revenue stream, either. Machuret believes his app experiment is sustainable as long as he is careful with the code that he picks and the market that he targets. "Not every app is meant to be reskinned in the long term," said Machuret. "Revenue always falls if you choose an app on a quick trend. Many of my apps are in evergreen topics, so I expect that at least 70 percent of the revenue will remain."
So what does Machuret plan for the future? Though he is pleased with the $3,000 that he made in the past two months, he wants to up the game by making $5,000 per month in app revenue. He will use this same app factory strategy he used last year to produce another round of 30 apps with different code than his first batch. He also plans a joint venture with another app entrepreneur to produce 20 additional apps.
This time around, he will improve his method by building better apps, working harder at ASO and, most importantly, investing in niches that nobody is doing. This latter tactic is useful to stay under Apple's radar. "I doubt that Apple will allow low-level apps to rule the jungle for very long, that's why if you want to play the game, you need to choose those codes and niches nobody is even looking at," said Machuret.
Can he pull this off and make a sustainable profit by spamming the App Store? You can follow his App Income Report blog and track his success or failure. As for the strategy he is using, sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.