A Catch-22. Need viewers to give some value to developers. Need developers to generate some value for viewers


I have created an App Discovery service that helps iOS Games get discovered by ranking apps based on their engagement & quality rather than quality. Developers have to create an account and integrate a framework in their game and I promise them free marketing via our network by showing their games to our visitors.

I supposed that should work because I am solving a real problem. That the utter lack of exposure that many devs face would motivate them to try this option out. But, it appears that, developers are very skeptical. Even though they are in general appreciative of this idea but they wont integrate unless they see HOW much value I'll give them.

Problem is, I cannot launch the site and show it to gamers unless I have a critical mass of games. And unless I dont have a truckload of traffic already coming to my site, the developers' wont come. I've tried sending emails, messages on forums, but very seldom do I get any response. This is happening, despite the fact that I have my idea validated from some knowledgeable guys in the business.

Any clues as to how to approach this?

Some stats:
I have around 80 signups on my beta page of which only 15 have responded when I sent them account credentials and only 2 guys have actually integrated the framework in their game. Around 4 more games are in development-mode and will hopefully go live soon.

Marketing Apps Developers Mobile Apps

asked Sep 10 '13 at 11:10
8 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

4 Answers


General advice when trying to get anything new off the ground is to remove as many barriers that stop people using it as possible.

It seems your largest barrier is that you require developers to integrate with your API. So remove it.

Why do they need to do this? Can you come up with a service that would achieve the same thing without requiring any development time from your customers?

Once you have a basic MVP up and running that shows that you can market existing apps, then you can 'sell' them on an upgrade to a fully integrated framework - they'll be happier to do the time, and you might even be able to charge them for it.

answered Sep 10 '13 at 11:57
310 points
  • Thanks for your response Steve. I have removed every barrier that I possibly can. You're right that having them integrate it is the hardest part but unfortunately, this is what I MUST do. I wont be able to get any info without them integrating my framework. But you've given me a direction, I am thinking of starting a review blog that rates games based on their quality. This can help me gain developers confidence and seeing all the activity can maybe motivate them to integrate the framework in their games. – User1151659 10 years ago
  • Another idea I had: standardise and open-source your API. Then you can tell them that even if they don't end up using their service, they can still benefit from the API integration work with another vendor (or build on it themselves). – Steve 10 years ago
  • Sorry, I dont quite understand what you're trying to say. What I understood is this that I should expose the data I am gathering via an API and allow others to build up on it. Am I correct? – User1151659 10 years ago
  • Right. By opening up your platform you can give your clients the impression that you are open and that there is a lot more value in integrating with your API rather than if its a closed single-vendor solution. At the same time, it's unlikely that you'll have any competition at this early stage, so you wouldn't have too much to worry about. – Steve 10 years ago
  • Exactly. Will help me give more value to the clients by giving them more exposure. – User1151659 10 years ago


I remember a strategy that was used by PayPal and some other sites as well when they came in business and become successful. Seeding and Weeding. I'll say it is legit enough to seed demand or in your case- seeding supply. See if it helps you by giving a free service and even a simple piece of code that will integrate your framework into theirs.


answered Sep 10 '13 at 14:54
Sandiip Patil
35 points
  • Thanks for sharing this. Some interesting ideas there. I didnt know the technical term for it, but I guess I was seeding supply all this time by going after developers and offering them free & hassle-free integration. It hasn't worked that well for me though. – User1151659 10 years ago
  • Glad it helps. Accept or +up the answer if it helps you. Try the other way around now. And I agree with Steve as well. You should give something easy n free before you make it cost something to them. – Sandiip Patil 10 years ago


This is often a problem, when creating a business that needs some scale. So maybe you can ask yourself, if there is actually a way to provide value before you have this scale.

You are creating a service that should show how people engage with your app and this should give them exposure.

How about you start with the first part? Create a simple API that allows developers to track how their apps are used (triggering events, counting data collections). Then provide an analytics tool with a beautiful dashboard and comprehensive statistics.

Let them get useful data, let them define what is useful to them, for example:

  • a developer could define a measurement for active users, a user that performs an action X at least once a week.
  • show staticstics for active / inactive user
  • show how long they stay active users
  • see involvement with different version of the app

So I think your MVP might be a different one, than you think. Once you have data, you can let dev opt-in to publish some of their user statistics...

answered Sep 11 '13 at 00:30
Roland Studer
101 points
  • Interesting way to think about the problem. Unfortunately, though, I am staying as far away from 'analytics' and 'behaviour tracking' as possible. Why? Huge guys like Flurry, Google Analytics are already there. There's no point competing with them, right? But I am taking away the 'give them value before scale' advice. Maybe I can introduce a section to review their games to give them some exposure then try building up on it. – User1151659 10 years ago


Your question is phrased such that it appears you are a multi-sided platform facing the chicken or the egg problem. HBS wrote about that here.

To me, it sounds like your value proposition isn't resonating with your audience. Perhaps revise your offering. Would your product still provide value without a marketplace? The value of your app is not the market but the insight, right?

This company is kicking ass with their product. I don't work for them or anything. But I do think that how they handle their messaging works well.

I'd get some game dev buy-in and feedback as to what they think will work. Do some competitive analysis to make sure you stand out and then advertise the hell out of it.

Good luck!

answered Sep 11 '13 at 13:02
6 points
  • I've used New Relic and you're right, it is pretty awesome :) My value IS market actually. In terms of insight, what I am offering is very basic. Flurry, Google Analytics (and New Relic) already offer much more mature tools for getting insights. I cannot compete with them. But in terms of market, I've got the competitive advantage because no one else is approaching it this way. I'll try getting some more feedback on it though. Thanks for the advice. – User1151659 10 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Marketing Apps Developers Mobile Apps