Monetizing Your Application

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Before you submit an application, you should become acquainted with other applications already on the Android Market. Visit the AppBrain website (http://www.appbrain.com/apps/) or the Android Market website  (https://market.android.com) to see the current applications.

For reference, the website at http://www.appbrain.com/apps/popular/adobe-air/ keeps track of the applications developed using AIR.

Paid Applications

Setting up a merchant account with Google Checkout requires that you provide banking and tax information. You only need it for the applications you charge money for. Google’s transaction fee is 30% of the price of your application. The arguments for using the Android Market are security, efficiency, and exposure.

It is up to you to decide whether to charge for your application. Your history is public and available to consumers, so charging a fair price is a good long-term business practice.

Unlike Apple and the Apple Store, Google doesn’t force you to use the Android Market as a distribution channel. Instead, you can place your application on your web server of choice. Your server MIME type needs to be edited, however. The MIME media type for .apk files is application/vnd.android/package-archive.

To install an application on a device via a non-Android Market source, select Settings→ Applications→Unknown Sources. Unless the application is properly documented, this may reduce your audience.

Mobile Ads

If you want to earn money from your work, you can offer your application for free but receive revenues from embedded advertisements. Read Arron La’s story on the revenue he made from his Advanced Task Manager application, at http://arronla.com/2010/08/android-revenue-advanced-task-manager/.

The advertisement displayed in your application is one image with a clickable URL. Here is a short list of some mobile advertising companies:

  • AdMob (http://AdMob.com)
  • Smaato (http://www.smaato.com)
  • Google (http://www.google.com/mobileads/publisher_home.html)

You must subscribe to get an application ID. At runtime, your application makes a request to receive advertisement information. Indicate the ad’s format (XML is best) and dimensions. Some providers allow you to specify geolocation, age, or gender for targeted ads.

All providers give you an option to test your application with dummy ads before it goes live. Always put the advertisement code in a try catch block. You do not want your application to stop functioning because the provider server is down or sends bad data.

At the time of this writing, mobile advertising providers do not offer an AS3 SDK. You need to download the AS2 version and rewrite it for your purposes. Making straight calls in the standalone application does not seem to provide ad impressions. Instead, use the StageWebView API, which allows you to open a web page within your AIR application to simulate the browser experience.