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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » APPS-alutely » » Sabotaging iForce is 'really' hurting me now . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Greg Rostami
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Quote:
iForce IS exclusive . . . at minimum it costs $201.99 (iPod Touch at $199 + iForce at $2.99)

I forgot to mention that anyone can walk into a magic shop and buy an Invisible Deck (the GREATEST card trick of all time) for under $20. Has this made the Invisible Deck obsolete?!

Greg Rostami
SWNerndase
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Greg--

You can reach Kenner through his Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Kenner/15083943122 I can't give out private contact info, but a post on his wall should reach him.

Again, I understand everything you say, and can empathize with your frustration. It must be painful to have people love your app so much that they want it all to themselves. I was simply pointing out what I'm sure you already understand--that the better your magic apps are, the more magicians will want to prevent non-magicians from knowing about or buying them. I see both sides. Tough nut to crack.

The two approaches that make the most sense (and the reason our company abandoned R&D on magic apps for the time being) are:

1. To put them out as you have, to try to sell as many as possible to any and every one, and just live with the fact that some magicians will not help you in your marketing, and may in fact undermine sales intentionally. (A bummer.)

2. To decide that your market will be the very (VERY!) small "magicians only" market, and price the app accordingly so they are the only ones buying it. (Even more of a bummer.)

Since you are in the business of making the most money possible from selling your app, the first approach is really the only way, since the second is severely limiting. Oh, there is one other approach worth mentioning since the profit potential is probably the highest, though it too feels unsatisfying. Still, this is the approach my company may pursue in the future:

3. Make magic apps that are cute, fun, easy, with broad appeal to the general public, but that magicians think of more as toys than really deceptive useful tricks. Think iBeer, Koi Pond, but with an interesting puzzle/magic trick angle. It seems s****y to suggest that you develop apps that are less than you are capable of magically, but it does neatly side step the whole magician problem. Plus, I think apps designed for the public instead of magicians stand a better chance of being a breakout hit at the iTunes store. Anathema to what you'd like to be doing, I suspect. But something to ponder.

SWN
Greg Rostami
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Hi SWN,

I agree with your item number 3. As a matter of fact there IS an app that I'm working on now that falls under that category.

Magicians would never want it, but it's so clever that laymen want to have it.

Thank you so much for your input in this matter. I will try to contact Chris Kenner.

all the best to you,
Greg Rostami
balzar
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I just downloaded the app, and am thrilled with it, and have left the applicable feedback. I expect in time the app will garner both the user base and the positive reviews it deserves.
Parson Smith
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Greg,
iForce is wonderful.
I purchased it and used it on an ipod.
Now, I have changed to a Hero on the Android platform.
Is there any chance that you might port it to Android?
I WILL buy again.
Peace,
Parson
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Davy Davis
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Just purchased it today and played with it for a while. Wonderful app. I'm very sorry to hear about the sabatoge. I have never reviewed an app before so this post made me decide it was time. 5 stars. I look forward to your future work.
Greg Rostami
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Thank you so much Davy,
Greg Rostami


Posted: May 30, 2010 5:05am
--------------------------------
The latest string of 1 star reviews is SO HURTFUL that I think I'm going to throw in the hat and give away iForce for free.

Today I had 26 one star reviews that all said "Rate 1 star to keep the secret."

I don't think my wife and I can take this any more. I feel like I'm ***ed no matter what I do.

I had plans to work on my new iPhone app this weekend, but I'm so depressed about the relentless anonymous slander of my app, that I don't think I'm going to develop anything else.

I apologize to everyone that has supported iForce with honest reviews, but I'm afraid this just hurts too much to continue.

I'm gonna have a long talk with my co developer Randy this week, but unless things change (which I highly doubt they will) I'll pull the plug in about a week, post iForce for free, and stop my other magic app developments.

I'm going to Australia next week for some business, hence I'm not going to check on the Café as often as I like.

Sorry about the bad news friends,
Greg Rostami
jprace
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We are all sorry about the bad reviews, and this kind of slander must hurt. However, how would making iForce free help anyone? It wouldn't help you make sales, and it wouldn't help magicians.
jlibby
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Greg, very sorry this is happening to you.

Joe Libby
San Antonio, TX
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Grab your copy now:
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bugjack
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Hi Greg,

First, I'm sorry to hear this too, for two reasons. The first is purely selfish. I don't have an iPhone but do have an iPad and I've been waiting for the iPad update for this app. I take it you won't be doing one now, which is a disappointment. The second reason is because I'm a content creator too and know as well how distressing internet-enabled forms of professional discouragement (in my case, piracy) can be.

That said, I want to note some other things.

When I go to the App store page for your app I see that the overall rating for your app is 4 stars. "Five stars" is the category with the most respondents. You have an endorsement from David Pogue of the New York Times, who also gave your app extraordinary publicity by devoting a whole column to it in which he directly addressed the issue of the one-star reviews. Yes, it's crummy people are trying to sabotage the app by rating it low, but many more people have rated it honestly and the low ratings have even paradoxically resulted in more positive publicity. I can see how the one-star reviews might result in a loss of sales, but I would hope that the positive reviews and Pogue's review have offset this loss by bringing new users into the mix.

And then there's the emotional issue, which seems significant as well -- knowing that members of your community are trying to curtail your ability to make a living. Yes, this sucks. But I'd be surprised if you get a ton of sympathy here at the Café. There's a sizable contingent here that objects to professional-level magic being taught through channels accessible to the general public. Multiply this concern for mentalism-related effects, especially those that don't look like "tricks." Something like the Ellusionist Invisible Deck trick or Kenner's Rising Card seem like magic tricks, whereas yours feels like an extension of a mentalist's technique (even if that technique is philosophically not that different from techniques used in other tricks). So, frankly, I think there are people here who probably posted some of those one-star reviews. They do love iForce, and, as they say, they want it out of the hands of the "merely curious."

One response would be price iForce a lot higher, like $20 or $30 (although I usually hate when people here come down on creators about pricing too low) and include routines or ideas by various colleagues, thus signifying that it is a "pro" effect and restricting its audience. Or, ignore the haters, recognize that you have waded into controversial waters, and just keep doing what you are doing. (Advice that is pretty much the same as SWErdnases's above, I just realized). I guess what I'm saying is that anyone marketing over the internet these days needs to have a tough skin. Hope you don't wind up abandoning what seems like a very promising career as a creator in these new technological arenas.

Scott
jochri
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I bought it, I enjoy it, it's just great! Thank you!


Posted: May 31, 2010 10:27am
Quote:
On 2010-05-30 16:12, bugjack wrote:
...You have an endorsement from David Pogue of the New York Times, who also gave your app extraordinary publicity by devoting a whole column to it in which he directly addressed the issue of the one-star reviews....

Wayne Kawamoto wrote about the NYT article & the app & the rating issue in his Magic&Illusion blog at about.com ( http://magic.about.com/b/2010/05/28/magi......apps.htm ). So all in all the app is getting the best PR one can imagine because of the bad ratings... Smile
Carl Andrews
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Greg don't let a few idiots determine your future. Regardless of ratings your app will do well by word of mouth. Your app is up near the top grossing apps on iTunes in the entertainment category so you are making a few bucks and the app is the best! Other than my own apps, your app is the only other magic app I use. Keep up the good work!
Greg Rostami
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Thank you for your kind words jochri,

Hi Scott and Jeff,

Thank you for your support about this matter.

In the life of any app there are a few spikes in sales that escalate the popularity of that app to stardom. ALL of the top apps in the app store have had this happen to them (Doodle Jump, Pocket God, etc.)

In the lifespan of iForce I've had 3 such spikes:

1. What's Hot list on the app store
2. UK's "The Gadget Show" TV appearance of iForce
3. David Pogue's blog in the NY Times

In each of these cases, I see a huge growth in ratings in a matter of an hour. This obviously translates to great sales. But in the case of iForce, in each of these cases, every time I've had a spike, the HUGE BARRAGE of one-star reviews has immediately stopped my app from becoming financially successful.

The first time this happened, it was depressing, but it wasn't that bad. I thought that it was a short lived fad and that it would go away. I naively thought that in the long run these one-stars would vanish and people's real opinions of my app would prevail.

The second time it happened (During the UK show) it was once again a big downer, but because the UK market is smaller than the US, the number of slanderous one-star ratings wasn't that bad.

But this time (the David Pogue blog) it's completely OUT OF CONTROL. Currently over 40% of the reviews are the fake "keep iForce low" crowd.

Let me present an analogy to help you understand how I feel.

Imagine you own a restaurant that has great food. For some strange reason, 40% of your customers, after eating at your restaurant, go outside and tell everyone NOT to eat at your restaurant because the food is poison.

In the real world, you would call the police and have these 40% arrested for SLANDER. Later on in court you would also seek punitive damages from this 40% and WIN.

But in the internet world, the same thing is happening to me, but I can't call the police to have this 40% arrested. Why? Because, the 40% is anonymous, hidden, protected by the invisible cloak of the internet. BUT, the financial damages that the 40% causes are REAL, and me and my family suffer the consequences.

The 40% gets away with crime and they get what they wanted . . . they kept my app in the "down low".

Pricing iForce higher doesn't work mainly because, magicians wouldn't spend $30 on a magic app regardless of how good it is. As I'm sure you've read here on the Café, magicians are severely against using tech gadgets in their shows. Even if they did buy iForce, the number of sales would be so low that once again, I'm back to square one and I can't support my family.

Once again sorry about the bad news friends. iForce was fun while it lasted. I wish I could show you all the other cool magic that Randy and I had created, but I'm afraid that's not gonna happen now.

take care friends,
Greg Rostami

P.S. You know what's funny . . . if I was to sell to only 1% of the 80 million iPhones/iPod Touches out there, I would have to sell 73,000 copies of iForce, every DAY, for THREE YEARS . . . just to sell to 1% !! Selling 73,000 apps a day is impossible . . . the top apps are lucky to sell 10,000 apps a day.

Unfortunately, the people that give me one-star ratings will never grasp this fact.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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I would hope that instead of making iForce free, that you instead bump it up to $20 (or more) before you walk away from it.

I seriously think a higher price tag would eliminate many of those 1-star reviews.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
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Carl Andrews
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I do agree that the app is under priced for how good it reall is but I understand
wanting sales. It may be better to sell to only
those who will pay for it at the higher price
and get all five star ratings. Any pro or serious
magic student would pay for your app realizing
the potential, how much do they pay for one trick
dvd' s or props at a magic shop. Everytime I use iForce I marvel
at how good it is and how it gives you the credit
and not the iPhone. I hope you will change your
mind and continue creating great apps!
jlibby
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Greg, do you know if any other app developers are experiencing this problem? I hope this doesn't sound too "out there," but the fact that these one-star ratings have been so relentless makes it sound like sabotage.

Obviously it is sabotage, but whether it's a concerted effort or not is another matter. I don't know if it helps or not, but I'm just trying to think of every possibility.

In spite of all this, I hope you'll reconsider your decision to stop making apps.

Joe Libby
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Ugly $5 Report is GOLD!

Grab your copy now:
https://makequickcashonlinenow.co.business
Greg Rostami
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Hi Joe,

I've checked the one-star ratings of all of the other magic apps on the app store, and NONE of them have this problem.

I don't it's sabotage from other developers. It might be, but I'm pretty sure it's users. I don't think other developers would spend the money to keep buying my app again and again just to give it a low rating.

Thanks for your concern Joe,
Greg Rostami
SWNerndase
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Let me suggest something else:

A magic trick app is never going to be a huge breakout hit. Leaf Trombone, Pocket God, Doodle Jump and the rest of the legendary big money apps are all self entertaining. A trick you have to practice and perform for someone else to really enjoy is not in the same category. Magicians are the main market, and it's to be expected that the general public won't be as interested in this as they will Tetris.

I just looked and iForce has a 4+ rating currently. That's a very good rating. I think it's possible, likely even, that the magicians trying to keep your app a secret are having little effect on sales in reality. Even if every single review was a glowing 5 stars, it's just not the kind of app that will be huge, and I think it was unrealistic from the start to think you could "support your family" from one magic app. If you're making a few bucks, that's great. If you develop a catalog of good magic apps that each made a few bucks steadily you might find yourself doing quite well--without having a single breakout big seller. Better though, from a business standpoint to develop games and tools with wider appeal than tricks you have to learn to perform.

Sorry you feel so hurt by the one star ratings. I think you've made a very fine niche product. And that niche is small regardless of comments and ratings.

SWN
J.Robert
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I just got my ipad yesterday and quickly purchased your app. While it is a great app, it really doesn't look good on the ipad's screen in the expanded mode, which is the only way I'd want to use it on the big screen. If you are not planning on updating the app for the ipad, how do I go about getting a refund? (Although it doesn't look nearly as bad as Kenner's Card Rise on the big screen.)
jprace
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J.Robert, please check this thread out.
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