Practice Log published

The PracticeLog application has been released as freeware and the Android version is available on the Marketplace!

After using the program and app for a week and really enjoying the convenience, I have decided to  make it available to the public. In the unlikely scenario where this application becomes popular, I am worried that it may cause too much load on my web server. So I wanted to have some kind of potential revenue stream to offset this risk, but didn’t want to try to sell the software. So I have gone over to the dark side and added an ad to my Android App.

My first attempt to add the ad was a failure. I thought that I would use the Webkit GUI element to display an ad from my website. To that end I tried to setup Google AdWords but was rejected because the PracticeLog page had insufficient content. (At the time it wasn’t linked to the rest of my site). I know now that this isn’t the right way to put a Google ad in an Android App. The right way is AdMob. This is a free an painless system and they have an SDK that you add to the android app. (Note that you do have to be building the app with the latest version of the Android SDK to use AdMob.)

Putting the app onto the Android Marketplace was a bit of a pain. First you have to pay Google $25 for the privilege. This is a one-time fee to register as a developer, but it did make me hesitate, since I doubt I will ever make enough in ad revenue to pay for it. Then the app has to be digitally signed and you have to have perfectly sized screen shots and icons. This was all a hassle, especially through the slightly buggy VirtualBox VM.

Publishing the C# application was a little easier, the main hassle being adding it to various freeware sites. Fortunately, several of them accept .PAD files. This is a file that describes an application and the developer that the freeware sites can read to fill in their submission forms. It had been a long time since I had visited some of these sites, so I also took the time to let them know about the latest version of the MediaDB program.

So far I have 9 downloads and 7 users, 39 ad views, 0 ad clicks and so $0 in revenue. Of course it is still early and I am not really expecting this program to be very popular. Most people who are keeping a practice log are children who don’t have Android phones.

If it does become popular, I will add a “teacher” mode so that a teacher can have access to the practice logs of their students. The teacher could track their practice time and use the notes to assign tasks for the week.

You can get the C# application on my site: and the Android app from the Marketplace.

4 thoughts on “Practice Log published”

  1. I don’t know much about Android Marketplace optimization, but I suspect you could get some significant download improvements from optimizing the name of the app, along with the keywords you use to describe it.

    I can easily see this app being used as a virtual timesheet system (a la, etc.).

    It might also be fun to play with a keyword tool to look at the average search volume of different keywords around your tool and see what niches might yield the best results (with the least competition!):

    The market around time tracking for freelancers / business is probably pretty over saturated, but there might be some interesting niche markets out there you haven’t thought of yet.

    I definitely think that positioning it around the 10,000 hours to becoming an expert theory would bear fruit as well. That idea seems to really be gaining traction amongst the greater populace, and the best way to market it might be to do some “bum marketing” in and around forums that people hang out and discuss those ideas. You could even email it to someone like this and try to get him to share your free app with his followers (or ask him what improvements you might make to get him to use it regularly):

    I’ve always heard that whenever you build something you should try to spend 10x the development time attempting to market it and gain traction before you give up. That’s a cringe worthy thought for most developers, but I think it’s probably a reasonable goal. An easy way to do that would be to try to get one quality link towards your landing page (or the android marketplace) every day. Then after 30 days or so, see what this results in analytics wise. If you start to see other inbound links that you didn’t create, then you know you have something people are interested in.

    Anyways – just some random thoughts – hope they’re helpful!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions.
    I’d guess that you are right about the name and keywords. I went back to the developer console for the practice log and didn’t see a way to setup keywords, but I did modify the description to use a bigger variety of terms to describe the software. I mentioned the possibility of using it for job/work time and mentioned the 10000 hours. The 10K hours is a perfect match since the windows app even shows the projected date when you will hit the 10000 hour mark. Job/work tracking is a bit of a stretch though. It could really only work if you have a single project/charge number to track. And in that case, you should probably just be using excel anyway.
    I have always had a dislike of the marketing aspect of software development. All my other work has been completely free. I have never charged or advertised. The MediaDB had an Amazon affiliate link on it, but then Amazon canceled that program in Colorado. So this is the first software I have released where I could make any money.
    I am still planning to make some usability improvements to the app, and I want to make a pro mode that replaces the ad with a statistic or two. Once that is done, I’ll try contacting to 10K hours people and music teachers.

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