3 Lesser Known App Marketplaces for Entrepreneurs Seeking to Build an App Business

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Think that Google Play and the App Store are your only options? Think again.


7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Chances are, when you think of app marketplaces, Google Play and Apple’s App Store are the first that come to mind. And well they should.

Both platforms have been highly lucrative for entrepreneurs and developers alike, after all. Revenue paid to app business owners from the App Store totaled $26.5 billion in 2017, according to Apple. Gross revenue from Google Play apps came to $20.1 billion over the same period, per SensorTower.

Related: Getting Started With Small Business App Development

Approximately $14 billion of that went to app business owners, based on the 70/30 revenue split that both Google Play and the App Store offer on paid apps and in-app purchases. Total revenue for both app stores topped $58 billion — a year-over-year increase of 35 percent over 2016. For 2020, Statista has predicted that mobile app revenue will jump to $188.9 billion.

Fierce competition in the app space

Alongside these staggering revenue projections comes fierce competition in the mobile app space. As of Q3 2018, there were over 4 million apps available in Google Play and the App Store combined, per Statista. Why so many? The relatively low barrier to entry to mobile app development — and the potential rewards if an app meets with success — are at least partly responsible for the glut.

All this presents a challenge for you if you’re developing an app of your own. Even if — through marketing and positive reviews — you’re able to distinguish your app from the millions of others, and convince a consumer to download it, Statista shows that the struggle to gain traction with users is far from easy. Close to 25 percent of apps downloaded in 2017 were used just once in the first six months after they were downloaded.

Given that a large proportion of mobile apps rely on freemium pricing or in-app purchases for revenue, persuading a customer to download a particular mobile app is often only the first step on the road to meaningful revenue.

Still, while the potential rewards of developing a successful iOS or Android app are enormous, the Play and App Stores are far from the only options for entrepreneurs looking to build, monetize and sell an app.

Here, then, is a look at three lesser-known marketplaces for entrepreneurs seeking to build an app business.

Shopify App Store

Since launching in 2004, Shopify, the Canadian ecommerce software giant, which was initially founded to hawk snowboards, now commands almost 10 percent of global ecommerce market share, according to Statista.

Related: 6 Big Challenges Faced By Startups When Developing Mobile Apps

Shopify is actually the most popular stand-alone ecommerce platform. WooCommerce, which powers a staggering 28 percent of ecommerce sites worldwide, is a plug-in that adds ecommerce functionality to sites running on WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system.

Shopify’s App Store is home to almost  1,200 paid apps that extend the functionality of the platform. Many Shopify app purveyors, such as ShopStorm, offer a suite of products, each aimed at solving a different problem for merchants.

If you happen to be a Shopify merchant, and you’ve come across an issue that an existing app doesn’t address, consider doing some research in the heavily trafficked Shopify merchant forums. If other users are experiencing the same issue, an app that solves the problem might just have a significant audience. If you’re brainstorming app ideas, the forums are an ideal place to start.

Shopify offers developers a variety of monetization options for apps, including one-off and recurring payments, and usage-metered charges. Shopify app developer ASoft offers an amazingly insightful resource featuring a plethora of Shopify App Store metrics that is updated daily.

It’s a must-read for any entrepreneur considering developing a Shopify app, as is this blog post. Shopify charges a 20 percent commission on app sales billed through the Shopify App Store, whether the commission is a one-time payment or recurring subscription revenue.

Salesforce AppExchange

Salesforce was one of the world’s first pure software as a service (SaaS) companies, and it remains one of the most valuable, with a market cap that exceeded $100 billion in November 2018. Salesforce is the market leader in customer relationship management  and it’s widely employed by small business and the world’s largest companies alike.

As with Shopify, a diverse ecosystem of apps has emerged to extend the functionality of Salesforce’s core offering. Launched in 2005, the Salesforce App Store predates the Apple App Store’s launch by three years, making it a true pioneer in the app marketplace vertical.

Related: Top Principles to Follow For Sustainable App Development

With an estimated subscriber base of 3.75 million, according to SalesInside, there’s a good chance that a substantial number of these people are seeking solutions to issues not addressed by Salesforce out of the box.

The platform is also remarkably developer-friendly: It provides an extensive learning resource for developers called Trailhead. Salesforce also offers the Lightning app builder, which allows users to build their own simple apps without any coding required. Lightning is aimed at making it easier for Salesforce users to develop in-house solutions. Building apps for the Salesforce App Store will likely require proficiency in one of the following: Node, Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, Go, Scala or Clojure, as well as use of the Heroku development environment.

There are also up-front costs associated with listing an app in the SalesForce app store, as well as a 15 percent commission. These costs may be higher than on some other app marketplaces, but the rewards just might outweigh the additional outlay. Steve Cummins, founder of AppSelekt, has estimated that the average AppExchange paid app generated revenue of well over $900,000 per annum in 2015.

Alexa Skills

Amazon’s virtual assistant has become so ubiquitous that one friend, a partner at a large law firm, recently recounted that the first word her infant daughter spoke was “Alexa.” Since launching four short years ago, Amazon’s Alexa-powered “smart speakers,” like the Echo Plus, have almost a 65 percent market share in the United States, according to data from Voicebot. Considering that Voicebot found in a separate study that 57.8 million adults, or 23 percent of the U.S. population, own at least one smart speaker, there is already an enormous market for Alexa apps.

Amazon has dubbed these Alexa apps “Skills,” and created a dedicated Skills marketplace.

Although it’s early days for the Amazon Skills marketplace, Voicebot, the oracle of all things Alexa, recently revealed that Alexa has 50,000 Skills and works with 20,000 different devices, with 3,500 brands using it,

Amazon rivals Salesforce in the depth of learning resources it offers to developers, but there’s a catch. While Skill developer success stories abound, Amazon is currently being opaque about how it incentivizes developers, according to CNET. Watch for the terms to become more transparent in the near future.

Final thoughts

The three app marketplaces explored in this post should be carefully considered by entrepreneurs hoping to launch an app business. Other app marketplaces to check out include WordPress Plugins, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft AppSource.

Clearly, there’s a world of opportunities beyond the AppStore and Google Play for app creators and entrepreneurs. Keep them in mind for your own project.

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New Book Claims Women Have A Harder Time Staying Monogamous Than Men

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Women Cheating

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When a relationship between a man and woman finally comes crashing down, it’s usually because the dude was spending too much time chasing tail elsewhere and not showing his soul mate of the week, his queen of the now, the attention she requires to remain in a physical entanglement of lust meets love, right? After all, it has been this way since the beginning of time. Men are designed to bang everything in sight, while women long for commitment and security.

It’s a cruel joke played on us a zillion years ago by the Master of the Universe – whoever the fuck that is. It’s the reason books like “Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus” go on to become New York Times Bestsellers. Everyone is searching for an explanation as to why their relationships are so fucked up. The real battle of the sexes is that men and women both want two completely different things out of life, yet we are supposed to coexist with one partner til’ death do us part. It’s no wonder guys flip out occasionally and bone somebody else. We have to. It’s written in our DNA. But would you believe women actually have a harder time staying faithful than men?

Sorry to break it to you, fellas, but it appears to be true.

Author Wednesday Martin’s latest book UNTRUE: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free reveals that women are just as horny, devious and dog-like about their sexual escapades than men. The female persuasion wants and needs one night stands, orgies, and other unscrupulous affairs to stay sane, and they’re continually looking for the next piece of man meat to crawl under. Martin’s book attempts to set the record straight on the reasons why women cheat on their significant others as well as resolve other misconceptions about females and sex that have been perpetuated for decades by bible-thumping moralists and misogynistic ass bags. Infidelity is one subject we’ve gotten wrong.

women cheat more

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When it comes to screwing around on spouses, women are just as guilty as men, maybe even more, Martin says. In fact, women are actually out there getting a lot more side action that most men might would care to believe.

“There is still asymmetrical stigma about female infidelity—that is, there’s still a double standard in which we think it’s more “natural” for men to cheat—women are likely to underreport infidelity and to report preferences and behaviors that conform to social expectations,” Martin told Tonic. “Some sources suggest that 13 percent of women have stepped out on a spouse. On the higher side, there are reported rates of 50 percent of women admitting they have had intercourse with someone other than their spouse while married. I was surprised to learn that, among people in their 20s, married women outpace married men when it comes to infidelity. Also, in several US studies, male and female rates of infidelity are much closer than we’d imagine.”

Although the majority of men are convinced that the only reason their sweet baby girl would ever cheat on them is if they were no longer providing them with the “emotional connection” that all women need to stay committed, Martin says this is ego-driven bull. She says that women will step out on their spouses just to get a little swift dickin’ from some strange – the same as men. Contrary to popular opinion, women are not always searching for their next baby-daddy, sometimes it’s just about getting laid.

“They want great sex,” she said. “The women I observed and spoke with at sex parties were certainly not seeking emotional connection. They told me, “I’m here for no-strings-attached sex.” We need to account for this reality in our thinking about female sexuality, and keep learning more about it.”

Martin told Tonic that a third of women who cheat on their spouses describe their relationships as either “happy” or “very happy.” So no matter what a man does to uphold the age-old motto of “Happy wife, happy life,” chances are his love muffin is scanning the office, the bars and maybe even checking out his friends in search for a sexual partner that isn’t him.

The reality is, neither men nor women are built for long-term commitments. But “Long-term relationships are particularly hard on female desire,” Martin said.

Even though science has told us for years that women are more monogamous than men, Martin says that’s just not real. Sadly, none of us want to come home to the same person night after night, and, no matter how good the sex is with that special someone, neither men nor women are crazy about pounding it out to the same face and body for the rest of our lives. Harmonious unions are just something that society has programmed us to think is the “right” thing to do. But in reality, men and women are just animals on the prowl for the next meal and orgasm.

“We’re not naturally anyway when it comes to sex,’ Martin explained. “And there’s not one type of sex we evolved to prefer. We evolved as highly flexible sexual and social strategists. It’s one of the reasons Homo sapiens are still around.”

This is only bad news for those guys who believe there is that one and only out there waiting to be swept off her feet. She’s not. Maybe that is a cynical way to view this thing called romance, that gnawing feeling in the gut of wanting to be near that special someone at all times, but we don’t think so — at least not the author of this piece. Still, this blow to the male ego is no reason to go around slut-shaming the fairer sex. On the contrary, it is a reason to celebrate them. Now, every woman you meet, you can know, with all the confidence in the world, that she is having as many dirty thoughts as you.

Just don’t marry any of them, okay boys?

*****

Mike Adams is a freelance writer for High Times, Cannabis Now, and Forbes. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Porsche just unveiled the all-new 911 sports car with 443 horsepower and night vision

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Porsche 911 Carrera S 992

  • The 2020 Porsche 911 sports car made its world debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show on Tuesday. 
  • The new eighth generation 911 or 992 will be available first in mid-grade Carrera S and all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S trim.
  • The Carrera S and 4S will be powered by a 443 horsepower, turbocharged boxer six-cylinder engine.
  • According to Porsche, the Carrera S can do 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds while the 4S can do it in 3.2 seconds.
  • The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S starts at $113,200 and $120,600 respectively. 

Porsche unveiled the eighth generation of its 911 sports car at the 2018 LA Auto Show on Tuesday. The new 911 is the first all-new version of the Porsche icon since 2011.

The next generation Porsche 911 will launch with the mid-grade Carrera S and all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S models. According to Porsche, the base Carrera model will be unveiled early next year. And with all the spy shots of Porsche prototypes running coming out of Europe, expect the Turbo model to follow shortly after. Eventually, the 911 lineup will be filled out with as many as two dozen different variants

Known internally as the 992, the 2020 Porsche 911’s looks are evolutionary, building upon the aesthetics of past 911s while taking elements from other Porsche models such as the Panamera’s continuous light bar that runs the length of the rear end.

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 992

Consequently, it allows the automotive journalists to continue the long-running joke that all Porsche 911s since 1964 look the same.

The interior of the 992 draws heavily from the second generation Panamera sedan that was introduced back in 2016 and won Business Insider’s 2017 Car of the Year award.

Read more: 23 hot cars we can’t wait to see at the 2018 LA Auto Show.

The highlights of the interior include the 10.9-inch widescreen infotainment display and the use of touch panels on the center console instead of buttons. 

However, the biggest shocker is the addition of a center console-mounted cup holder. Not that long ago, the Porsche didn’t even bother to include cup holders at all on the 911. The current generation had collapsible units that fold away into the dash on the passenger side of the car. While ingenious in design, it always felt a bit too flimsy to handle a venti iced coffee. The new console-mounted unit takes the 911’s cup holder game to new levels. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 992Now for the truly important bits. 

Mounted behind the rear axle is a 3.0 liter, turbocharged boxer six-cylinder engine that produces 443 horsepower, up 23 horsepower from the outgoing Carrera S. 

Power flows either to the rear wheels or all-four-wheels through a new eight-speed Porsche dual-clutch or PDK transmission. Fear-not traditionalists, a manual transmission will be available at a later time. 

According to Porsche, the 911 Carrera S can do 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph when equipped with the PDK transmission and the Sport Chrono package. With the same options, the Carrera 4S can to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and reach 190 mph. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 992New tech features will include a new Wet Mode system that detects waters on the road and preconditions the stability and traction controls for less grip, an optional night vision system, and an updated version of the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system. 

The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S starts at $113,200 and $120,600 respectively. The cars will reach US showrooms next summer but are available for order now. 

SEE ALSO: GM will kill off these 6 Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac sedans when it idles select factories in 2019

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Sylvester Stallone Might Have Just Revealed He’s Played Rocky For The Final Time

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Sylvester Stallone retiring rocky

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In 1975, a struggling actor (and one-time adult film star) managed to convince someone in Hollywood to give him $1 million to make a movie in an attempt to turn a fictional rags-to-riches story into an actual one.

That actor was Sylvester Stallone and the movie in question was Rocky, which would go on to gross $225 million and spawn a series of films that would help turn him and his shredded muscles into box office stars over the next couple of decades.

It also revolutionized the art of the montage and in the process inspired a song that gets me more amped than “Eye of the Tiger” ever will.

After Rocky V came out, it became clear that the franchise was beaten to death harder than Apollo Creed at the hands of Ivan Drago. However, after a fifteen-year hiatus, Stallone decided to resurrect the character and kick off a brand new era with Rocky Balboa. 

A little under a decade later, Stallone realized he was getting way too old for this boxing shit and handed over the reins to Michael B. Jordan, who’s done a great job honoring his legacy after stepping into the role of Apollo Creed’s son.

Stallone had a supporting role in both of the Creed films, and even though he doesn’t play a boxer anymore he sure as hell works out like one.

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Creed 2 hit theaters last week and has performed well enough to virtually guarantee it’s going to turn into (at least) a trilogy at some point but I regret to inform you it looks like there’s a chance we might have seen the last of Rocky Balboa.

On Wednesday, Stallone posted an Instagram video that seems to suggest he’s hanging up the gloves (or, if you’re in the mood for another boxing analogy. throwing in the towel) when it comes to playing the character.

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Stallone said he assumed the franchise was finished after he reprised the character in 2006 and said he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to pass the torch to Jordan, who’s shown he’s more than capable of carrying it.

Let’s all pour out a glass of raw eggs in his honor.

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