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

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.

Fiverr Gigs

App Promotional services – November 2014 – $5

Welcome to the world of Fiverr! Where everything is just $5. Everyone promises to “promote your app to thousands of users”, post to their “thousands” of followers, expose your app to “million”, promote your app to ” 10 PR blogs” just for FIVE DOLLARS

Sounds Good? Too Good? It is simply too good to be true.

The problem is when the gig promises to post your app to a facebook group of 500,000 users, barely anyone will see it. It is also hard to verify whether it has been done or not so it’s extremely risky. Another seller promised to send an email to 5,000 users, and what I got for a proof was a screenshot of an written email. Who know’s if its been sent or not? Another seller promised to submit my app to 10 PR blogs, and he did just that, but with minimal effort- All he did was post links to the app, without any sales description, which made it looking like spam links.

These posts don’t do anything. You can easily do it yourself.

twitter

fbwpagepost

ad4

Results: No results I’ve spent probably around $100 dollars on Fiverr promo gigs, and none of them seemed to do anything

Conclusion: Waste of money. There are a few good ones, but they are extremely hard to find. Don’t trust anything that promises to promote your apps to millions or tens of thousands. It’s simply too good to be true.

Android Headlines

App Review – November 2014 – $400

I purchase my reviews based on the number of traffic and popularity of website. This one seemed to have about 2 million visitors / month, so I decided to buy it. The app was reviewed and published, but there were absolutely no increased downloads at all, which was a huge disappointment given the amount of traffic. Though they were nice people, I felt this was a huge waste of money, I asked for a partial refund, as this review did absolutely nothing.
The same service now is being offered for $99 – I wonder why,

Result: 0 download increase. not worth it

Conclusion: Exercise Caution – however this was over year ago and their service is much cheaper now, still, exercise caution.

Appszoom

App Review – November 2014 – $100

what you get: a little box on the front page with the app icon and a short review. I then bought a promo on appszoom. They didn’t really like my app, so they gave it a 6.5/10 – They didn’t truly understand the app, and made assumptions that they thought aligned with what their users’ taste are. Remember, when you get your app reviewed, there is a chance it’s not always in the reviewer’s best interest.

Seeing their website now, they do not offer a direct link to Google Play, or it is very difficult to find one. This does not positively impact your store rating

Results: no substantial number of downloads or no increase at all.

Conclusion: Not worth it. The author criticized that my app didn’t have animations – sure it didn’t, but on the bright side it has next to 0 battery consumption, which wasn’t important to them.

The Smartphone App Review

App Review – October 2014 – $70

They have only paid review, so I paid for the 3 day review and feature, for $70. I do remember was that when the app was advertised on their site, my daily base downloads were higher. When the app was featured and reviewed, there was enough downloads coming in and definitely enough to break even. If I were to ballpark, there was probably 3,500 +- 500 downloads in the span of 2 weeks. The review and features may not have directly brought me the majority of downloads, however it did get picked up by some other blogs – TWICE! and this is where the review really helped in getting momentum.

The advertisement seemed to have helped too. I am definitely a repeat customer of this site.

Results: I think being advertised on their site racked in a higher base number of downloads per day, there was also a small spike of download after the review, so I definitely went into a positive ROI by at least 3 times.

Conclusion: Worth It – Hell yes!

The team is responsive and they show you the review before it is published. Very professional