Have you ever stop to think why Microsoft’s platform has a larger market share than Apple’s despite Apple having a better product? Why did Google gain market share compared to Yahoo and Microsoft? The answer is the same – Microsoft and Google made money for themselves but also created opportunities for developers to make money off of their platforms.
The rules of the game have not changed. Let us look at three popular platforms of today – Facebook, iPhone and Twitter. Facebook made money for itself while iPhone made money not just for itself but for its developers while Twitter makes money for its developers without making any money for itself.
Facebook was the first social networking site with an open platform, which attracted many developers; this increased Facebook’s popularity at the cost of then popular myspace. Facebook made money for itself but didn’t offer an opportunity for developers to make money directly off of its platform even though many developers have managed to use it as a good indirect channel for marketing and sales. It still remains popular, but is not the most preferred platform for the developer community anymore. So unless the Facebook platform offers a direct monetization opportunity for developers, it will not stay the most popular social networking site.
Apple’s iPhone platform was the first mobile platform that enabled software developers to easily make money with a clear 70-30 monetization model; this increased its popularity. Now, with a long waiting list of developers trying to get their applications certified, I hope Apple does something before other platforms start to gain the attention of developers.
Twitter is the only platform that has never made money for itself but offers many opportunities for its developer community to make money. Twitter’s altruistic behavior is one of the many reasons for its popularity; I just hope Twitter itself soon figures out a way to make money lest others that depend on its existence for revenue may have to look elsewhere.
What is your experience? Share your stories on which platform have you made more money on? Which platform is the most monetization friendly?
R. Paul Singh