Our founder has moved on to new pastures, where continuing to offer our services would constitute a conflict of interest. So Sipols Software is no more. Our apps are no longer available on Google Play (and for those with them already installed, they will see no advertising, nor be able to purchase any of the in-app upgrades). We are no longer available for consulting.
What have we learned? For one, the mobile market is a tough nut to crack. A very low proportion of users are willing to pay, either outright or even the slightly higher proportion through in-app upgrades. Advertising pays very low amounts. Larger operators get around this through exploitative practices and psychological manipulation of their users, together with the advertising resources which their heft lets them bring to bear. We were never willing to use these techniques, nor did we have the resources to deploy on advertising.
Google Play’s ranking systems together with the power of large corporations to deploy blanket advertising serves to create a system of haves and have-nots on the service. Those with the money to effectively buy installs through advertising cluster at the top of any search, ensuring that they then siphon up the bulk of users. With such scale, the small proportion of conversions doesn’t matter, and because alternatives are difficult to find, they are able to deploy exploitative practices to suck money from the few whales. Smaller operations like ours, even when targetting niche markets cannot hope to achieve enough scale to compete and make a living.
This website will stay up because I’ve got email addresses routed through it, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. Certainly the blog could come here, but the nature of my future employment is going to put some restrictions on that as well. I could turn it into a professional site, a separate version of LinkedIn for myself, but surely there are better options than that.
So for now this serves as a placeholder, nothing more. To those who have used our apps in the past, this is a final thankyou. For those who actually supported them financially, you deserve an even bigger one. But for now, this is goodbye.