8sms: To be continued for now

It has been a bit more than a month since I wrote the preceding article 8sms: The end of the road?.

I apologise for the delay in following up โ€” I should have posted an update earlier. As usual, I got too immersed into 8sms development (and also other things).

One month after the "pivot" of 8sms from being a free app to being a "trialware" app, here are some comments:

  • The number of donations spiked a lot in the first few days but then levelled off to a more "steady state" level. It brings in a modest amount, but nowhere near enough to fully cover on-going full-time development.
  • The ads bring in some revenue but it's much less than the donations. The CPM is much lower than benchmark figures I found elsewhere. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong but I don't really have the time to chase it up yet. Ironically, the ads create more value by incentivising users to donate than by the actual ad revenue.
  • There are some (former) users who have been very vocal in expressing their disapproval of what I've done with 8sms. That is understandable. I doubt whether there was any way I could have kept them satisfied on a sustainable basis.
  • On the other hand, there have also been some very understanding and considerate users who have urged me to keep going on. This is less frequent but it does make me feel better and that "trialware" 8sms is still a worthwhile project.
  • I haven't had any acquisition offers for 8sms, but it has attracted the attention of a couple of technology ventures who would like me to provide software development services for them.
  • The release of Android Lollipop with the new Material theme has added more complications into what was already a chaotic time for 8sms. Such is life.
  • The number of users of 8sms has been decreasing ever since the pivot and is still dropping. However, I'm also losing users because of Android Lollipop since 8sms hasn't been fully updated for it yet. It's hard to attribute how many users I've lost due only to the pivot, only that I'm losing them. Such is life.

So, where to from here?

I still think 8sms is a worthwhile project, but unfortunately, the economics are such that there would be financial loss and opportunity cost if the present path were to continue. However, I am loathe to abandon the users โ€” especially those who have already donated โ€” so I will try to keep 8sms going for as long as I can.

Hence, this is the current plan for the foreseeable future:

  • I will be reducing the amount of time and resources spent on developing 8sms and diverting them to other projects.

HOWEVER,

  • 8sms will continue to be maintained, but development and new features will be at a slower rate (as time and resources permits).
  • Specifically, 8sms will be updated for Android Lollipop and Material design*.

(*Although it will probably be incremental changes only. A total re-design to be 100% compliant with Material is likely to be too much work.)

I believe this is a suitable compromise. 8sms continues to be maintained and still leaves the door open for future possibilities. For example, if 8sms suddenly grows a lot of new users, it can still be revived into a "foreground" project.

For the foreseeable future ... 8sms continues to live.

Thank you all for reading.


Discussion available at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2398767&page=122#1218