For a few - a few - it's been a path to nearly instant wealth. But for most writing applications for mobile devices has been a break-even proposition at best. And while Loic Le Meur - the founder and CEO of Seesmic , maker of one of the most popular Twitter and Facebook applications - is bullish on the future, he says today's numbers are really quite sobering. The odds against making a reasonable income from a mobile application, let alone striking it rich, are nearly impossible to overcome. Consider:

  • Is There Gold in Writing Applications for Mobile Devices? 50 percent of paid apps receive fewer than 1,000 downloads.
  • The average app makes about $2,500, but really only about $500 when the most successful apps are removed from the average.
  • Free apps, those supported by ad revenue, require 50,000 active users (not just downloads) to pay for one full time developer.
The problem may not be the app itself, but marketing - or lack of it. Without a marketing budget it remains hidden among the more than 30,000 others in the app store. The skills to develop an app are far different from those needed to sell it. --Dino Londis