Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Eighth Level of the Modern Hell: App Marketers

It's only three days since I launched my game, Shuffleboard King (I think I might have mentioned it), and it has already introduced me to a new level of hell: shysters touting for business.

Dante originally reserved the eighth circle of hell for all manner of scammers but I think even he'd be surprised at how quickly these marketing types pounce in a global electronic age.  The eighth circle must have broadband or something. This evening, I received my eleventh email and the most brazen of the lot. I suppose that means they're great at their jobs but, I have to say, it's a rattish job to be great at. They even sent me a gaudily produced price sheet of services they provide. It was the length of a novella and ranged from Press Releases ($49), Twitter campaigns ($99), all the way up to the 'Top 25 Media Package' for the entirely reasonable price of $4999. There are some interesting services in the mix. Improving my icon could cost me $49 and I can apparently buy 4000 Android reviews for only $1699. 220 Android reviews with ratings works out at $965 and a Expensive Youtube trailer would cost me $899.

It's eye watering stuff. The top package is like a smorgasbord of black hat operations, including 2400 forum posts and mass mailings to the 100000 people in their database. In other words, I can pay somebody to spam forums and email accounts with information about Shuffleboard King.

Normally, at this point, I would say something like: I don't know what's more depressing, that services like this exist or that people actually make use such services. However, I know what's more depressing and it's not the fact that people still dream.

Everybody writing a game or app is a dreamer of sorts and dreamers make excellent victims. Yet sometimes if feels like there are more rats than dreamers.

The truth, of course, is that there is no magic. A person could spend $4999 promoting a game or app and they'd still be damn lucky to get back one percent in sales or ad revenue. The only people winning at the sharks circling the Play Store. They taste new blood in the water and greedily eye the naive game developers setting out thinking that a fortune is waiting for them. Only there isn't a fortune. There are only more predators, waiting to drag them into deeper waters.

I entered into this expecting nothing and nothing will change that. I'm writing my game because I enjoy writing a game I enjoy playing. I hope other people will enjoy playing it and I hope people will email me, tell me interesting things, make me laugh, and make me feel generally better about the world. That's why I do it.

So, if you're reading this and think you might be able to help me with a SEO campaign or help boost the profile of my game: please don't waste your time. I accept that Shuffleboard King will remain largely unplayed and generally ignored. I hope it's a good game that will get better but it's success won't rest on my being dumb enough to fall for the clever words of people who, next year, could be selling bunks on Mars like, last year, they were selling us pyramid schemes. Dear marketing types: go back to where you good looking people have perfect teeth, big smiles, perky tits, and razor pressed suits. My teeth aren't great, I smile but only at the wrong things, my tits need work, and unless you count old fading jeans, t shirts, and hopelessly overlarge sweaters, I don't own a suit. Please don't email. Don't read my blog. Don't come back. This bandwidth is reserved for real people.



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