AppGratis (part2) – $2,000 dispute UPDATE

A refresher: AppGratis initially pitched me with a $2,000 marketing campaign for Weatherback Wallpaper, which was estimated to drive over 30,000-40,000 downloads. When the date came, I received only 2,100 downloads. I wanted a refund.

Remember, this was one of the first things they said when they pitched to me:

We would be looking at 30-40,000 installs for a worldwide feature on Android and would usually charge $10k to large advertisers.
However, our indie price is just $2k, meaning a unit cost of around $0.075 per user

I prompt them hard, held them to their statement, and this is what I got.

jackemail

Oh wait what? Now that the campaign severely under delivered, they have changed “installs” to “impressions” to dismiss themselves of any responsibility. I am now being told that they

only assure the number of impressions to be delivered

This would certainly qualify for the world’s shadiest sales tactic. For heavens sake, they could’ve told me I’d be getting 50,000, 100,000, or even 1,000,000 downloads! but when they under deliver. They can simply say:

We only assure the number of impressions to be delivered. The 30-40k estimation was just that – an estimation

And this surely dismisses them from all liability. What a joke. Pure snake oil bull crap here. They said they could run the campaign again, but if I don’t get the results, they said nothing more can be done, as I had paid for one, apparently “worldwide” feature. They have now ignored all my emails, right when I pointed out to them that they initially said 30-40,000 downloads.

While they offered to re run the campaign. Looking at the poor results of the first, it’s not likely anything good will come of it. They only re run it once too. After that, nothing more can be done


I took this dispute to PayPal, and here are the results:

paypal

I followed up with their decision. According to Paypal, they cannot protect the buyer against anything related to the quality of the purchase. That’s right, as long as AppGratis delivers even one install, or just impressions, I would not win this dispute. This is very bad for buyers who receive online services because as long as AppGratis delivers something, it would be considered delivered, even if it means no installs. This is utter bs.

NOTE: PayPal cannot protect you against anything related to the quality of the service. As long as you receive it, it seems that disputes would always favour the seller.

They did tell me I had another option though, which was to go to the bank and request for a chargeback. I did just that.

about 10 days later, I got my money back from my bank institution, BUT now my PayPal account owes a negative balance of that amount. This is still not entirely resolved.

Results: 2,100 downloads, for $2,000 dollars.

Conclusion: This promo was an absolute rip off. They will approach you with a convincing number, but don’t expect it to be anywhere close. They’ll just say “We only assure the number of impressions to be delivered” to defend themselves from any statement.

I had gotten over 13,000 – 19,000 downloads with their free campaign, giving my app away for free. I even made more money on that one from the boosted ranking, and momentum, compared to spending $2,000 for shitty results and 1 star ratings. Stay away from this paid campaign.

Also, note that PayPal can’t protect you, as long as AppGratis delivers impressions, even if it means 0 installs.

Remember, I took the risk, so please share this with other developers. If it has helped you, please consider downloading Weatherback Wallpaper, giving it 5 stars or even purchasing the pro version.

AppGratis – $2,000 Unincentivized installs

App Feature – August 18, 2016 – $2000

In June, I was contacted by Jack Owens of AppGratis, who reached out to me asking again if I’d like my app to be promoted. This would be a different, paid promotion as opposed to the free one, which I really liked. Jack stated that I would get around a whopping 30,000 – 40,000 unincentivized, downloads. I do not have to give away anything, compared to their usual promotion, and should the downloads fall under the promised amount. They will rerun my campaign. The cost of this promotion will be $2,000.

It sounded like an awesome idea. Since Weatherback has about a 6-10% conversion rate. If I took a conservative measure of 30,000 downloads multiplied by 6%, it would equal 1,800 purchases of $1.99 = $3,600 in profit! It sounded like an awesome deal. After we exchange a few emails over a couple of weeks. I am ready to put down $2,000.


I confirm that the promotion will take place on the 19th. (18th in France)

The day comes! I am very excited for a vast delivery of new users and purchases! Here are the results of downloads on the free version. Here is their sponsored page

Here are the results
weatherback wallpaper on appgratis promotion

RESULTS: 2,179 installs….. Not only did they SEVERELY under-deliver, my app came with a few negative ratings as well, primarily from the misleading word of the campaign. Note that Weatherback Wallpaper is a free app, with an in-app link that takes you to the pro version. However, labeling a not-entirely-free app as “Free” is misleading. New user who downloaded the “Free” app were disappointed that it was not entirely free, leading to some unfortunate negative ratings.


So not only did I throw away $2,000 dollars. This campaign also led to some negative ratings of my app.

I contacted them for a refund, because this was highly unacceptable. I paid a huge amount of cash to receive 5% of the expected delivery. Not only that, but this campaign led to some negative ratings of my app as well.

Here is what they had to say

They are not willing to offer me a refund. They are however willing to rerun my campaign. The problem is, with results like this, how can I even expect them to even reach the targeted goal? I’m not impressed with their service at all, and I’m not even slightly confident that they’ll be able to perform better. I ask, what happens if the rerun does not reach the initial promised downloads? I am unable to get a response after asking 3 times.

I have escalated this to Paypal, and I’m waiting for a resolution. I am hoping for a full refund, because I have LITERALLY thrown away $2,000 dollars for INSIGNIFICANT RESULTS and NEGATIVE ratings. I do NOT recommend paying for a campaign on AppGratis. This shit promo was even worse than the free one.

DEVELOPERS PLEASE BEWARE

Android Authority

App Feature – March 1, 2016 – $900

Here is the published article

I had been looking to market my app via review sites again, but this one cost a big chunk of cash, so it took me quite a while before I decided to send them an email about their review service.

for $900, you get :

YouTube – Your app is reviewed and included in the weekly show that is sent to our 1.5 million+ subscribers and has a weekly viewership of around 40,000 viewers. Example

Article – Your app is featured on the very top of the Android Apps Weekly article that is seen by more than 5,000 readers that are 1 click away from downloading your app. Example

Newsletter- Your app is featured at the very top of the Apps Weekly newsletter that is sent to 14,000+ subscribers that are looking for new apps to download.

The number of downloads depend on the quality of the app. I was told some of their reviews have gotten over 6,000 Downloads. The review of my app was published on May 1, 2016, and on the first day it received ~800 downloads, followed by 200 and 100. A little more than 1,000 total. For $900 dollars, that left me a little disappointed

androidauthority

Result: Around 1000+ downloads

Conclusion: The promo had some results. I wish it could’ve been better.

AndroidEnthusiast.tk

App Feature- February 2016- $10

AndroidEnthusiast.tk solicited an email to me a while ago offering to write a blog post and do a quick small demo of my app for $10, with some advertisement. I thought sure, why not? I made the payment, and a few days later they got back to me with this post. The post was made on February 11, 2016.

androidenthusiast

In the next days, I monitored the traffic, and did notice some improvement. They were really professional, and wrote good content about my app. It also cost only $10! While the results aren’t spectacular like what huge android blogs offer for hundreds of dollars- compared to the cost, it definitely paid off. I’m very happy to recommend AndroidEnthusiast.tk for a review.

Result: Around, 100-300 downloads

Conclusion: The promo is well worth the amount. Notable improvements were seen.

AppGratis

App Giveaway – October 8, 2015 – Free

AppGratis had contacted us a while ago to see if we’d be interested in giving their users the free app on that day. We finally decided to do it. The only drawback was that we had to offer the app completely for free. we didn’t mind, because we knew it would be good publicity. The app was featured on October 8, and brought in a whopping 13,000 – 19,000 downloads, which also boosted our app rankings.

Results: 13,000 – 19,000 downloads, but you have to give it away for free

Conclusion: The promo boosted our app ranking so much that it ended up getting a lot of organic downloads from it. 4 days later, there is still momentum.

Reddit

Post to r/Android – October 2015 – Free

I made a post to Reddit on r/Android and it blew up! 240 something upvotes, and managed to bring 9,000 downloads on day 1, and some 3,000-5,000 aftewards. Holy smokes! Some other blogs also picked up the news and the app was featured on more blogs, which brought in even more downloads!

Free is best

Result: Around, 9,000+ downloads

Conclusion: One of the best outperformers by far, and it was totally free!

Android Police – Paid

App Feature- July 2015 – $300

We’ve had success with Android Police a while ago, and we know I will have it again, but this time, much bigger. We paid $300 to have the app featured on top as part of their weekly roundup.

Surprisingly, it only brought about 1,000 downloads that week, nothing more. We imagine it would’ve been at least more when the app was featured for free, but somehow it turned out to be even less! Weird.

Result: Around, 1,000 downloads, quite disappointing

Conclusion: Apparently, getting featured for free got more results than the paid, how strange. . You’ll get exposure for sure, but results may vary.
Again, do a good job of the app, make a nice video for it, and it will greatly increase the chances of you making it into their weekly roundups for free.

PreApps

App Promotion – June 2015 – $1,200

I got in touch with PreApps because they were supposed to specialize in mass marketing with your app and build buzz before the launch, and I saw it on their website that their clients have good results- up to about 150k downloads in the first week of launch. I was really impressed, so I looked at their service and, one of them was a promotional package that cost a whopping $1,200. It included submission to 150+ android sites with guaranteed review of 8-10 sites. I figured if that could bring me enough potential downloads to break even. I was able to pitch my app to Sean Casto, the CEO, so he could understand my product, and this was important.

Results: On PR day, my app was reviewed and published on 8 sites, however, none of them brought me any noticeable downloads, which made me realize one thing – It’s not about the number of sites you get featured on, rather, the quality of it. I’d much rather have 1 big well known site like Android Police featuring my app than 10 other small unknown websites. About a week later, Tech.co had some time to finally get around my app, courtesy of PreApps, and that brought me enough downloads to almost break even. almost, but not quite.

Conlusion: Okay results for the price – 6000 downloads, but I think results will vary with this one , but a lot of this can be done by yourself. I think a good video and an idea that appeals to the mass will strongly affect your results. I also speculate that some of their clients with major success didn’t advertise with just one site, but multiple ones.

Also, a week ago I got an random email from appmarketingplus.com, which they propose to feature your app on 5 sites for $99. the list from that was very similar to the sites I got my guaranteed revies on. So yea, I probably could’ve done that myself and more.

Results may vary

AndroidTapp

App Review – May 2015 – $300

I have been browsing around for more services and stumbled upon AndroidTapp. They had a what seemed to be a high number of traffic, so I bought their $300 dollar video review, and thought if I was going to get anything reviewed, I’m going big or going home. I picked of their best services, the video review.

To be honest, I deeply regretted paying for it because I basically threw money down the drain for them to have to insult my app. What made it bad was that unlike other review blogs, which informed you of the content they are going to publish, AndroidTapp didn’t, which meant that if they misunderstood any part of your app, there’s no opportunity to correct it, and that’s exactly what happened.

Weatherback had a function that allowed you to turn on random effects to not follow the weather, so if you lived in somewhere like California where you’d see sun effects 24/7, you’d get a chance to switch it up. According to AndroidTapp however, the random feature

completely undermines the usefulness of the app

Furthermore, the random feature also shuffled the effects and displayed one effect for a certain amount of time, say 5 minutes, so if you picked five effects, it would show only one at a time, then switch to the next one. They didn’t understand the way it worked, as they tried to select a bunch of effects and expected it to all show up, and when it didn’t, they claimed that

There’s some bug in tweaking options

They didn’t understand the competitive advantage of Weatherback Wallpaper. All the weather wallpaper apps I’ve seen make you use a chosen background to represent current weather conditions, but Weatherback allows you to use your own, so you can keep the background you like, and enhance it with stunning effects.

TL;DR they’re complete airheads, especially the guy, Antonio Wells who made the video. They didn’t care to understand your app, your vision, and were certainly not customer-oriented. I had no results whatsoever, and basically threw $300 dollars down the drain to get bad publicity.

Results: None – if anything, it was probably negative. I wasted $300 to have negative publicity

Conclusion: Don’t waste your money.
They strongly advertise that they do not guarantee a positive review of your app – I wonder why that’s made so clear. You send in your app, and they send you a video, so there’s not really any extra room to correct any miscommunication of your app. The best PR sites I’ve worked with, I was able to pitch them my app, so that they have a clear understanding of my vision, and that’s something extremely important that AndroidTapp doesn’t do.

I also tried advertisements from them

And it’s not worth it. In order to see your ad performance you’d have to email them EVERYTIME, which meant it was very very hard to optimize / test your add quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion: Don’t waste your money.

Getting My Account Back

I spent the next 4 months bugging Google

I sent numerous appeals,

google

this is all a big lie

I even chatted with google play specialists ( text chat and phone), bugging the hell out of them, repeating myself to speak with someone who can resolve this, until they decided to ignore me. Prior to that they always told me

someone will contact you within the next 48 hours

Lies, you’ll never hear from them ever regardless of how many times they tell you. I realized it and decided this was just a waste of my time.

I couldn’t get my account back, so I made a new one, under the name of a family member – hopefully I don’t run out of family members 😉 I had learned how to better market my app now, but it’s still not a marketing success, I’m sure if I were to launch my app again, I would know how to do it 3x better than this.

Support Indie Developers here

If you would like to support developers, sign the petition here. We need a movement to get Google to treat us indie developers with respect.

—–

In May 2015, I contacted Thesmartphoneappreview.com

and paid $30 to have them to feature my app, just feature the previous review, not re-review, and they did just that.

Great news! the feature got picked up by another blog Gadgethacks, and someone produced a video review of my app! This initial boost gave me about 5,000 downloads in about a week, Awesome! Now the thing about this is when you get a boost of downloads during the first 30 days of launch, you get a special boost that puts you into the new paid or new free apps action, and organic downloads will start flooding in. This brought me about an additional 2000 – 3000 downloads in 1 week before the time was over,The relaunch was good but it could have been a lot better.

Results: Good as usual.
Conclusion: Recommend