The Indirect Revenue Model App

There’s a popular web pundit quote, “If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.” Think about a company like Twitter or Facebook — they don’t charge to use the app but they make money by turning you, the user, into a product to market ads on behalf of the the advertiser. While this makes sense, there are actually a number of apps out there that aren’t what they seem when it comes to their primary revenue stream. Here are a few app examples:

  • Lead Gen Apps – Often micro-apps, these are simple services that provide some value in exchange for personal information for a sales rep to follow up and sell something else (see Micro Apps as Next Generation Content Marketing)
  • Transaction Apps – Even if an app has a monthly fee, there are many products out there that actually make more money off of transaction fees (e.g. pay $50/month to be a customer and then pay 10% for each payment collected resulting in more revenue from the transaction fees than the recurring monthly fee)
  • Secondary Apps – Some apps are built and sold as stand alone products, but they are really designed to fill in the gaps for a complementary app. This often happens when a technological shift has occurred and the original app can’t be adapted with the required changes, making it more cost effective and less painful to build a new app that takes advantage of the improved technology while supporting the original app.

Product pricing and the main revenue stream for an app aren’t always what it seems. Pay attention to indirect revenue model products and figure out the true strategy.

What else? What are some other examples of indirect revenue models?

2 thoughts on “The Indirect Revenue Model App

  1. I guess some games would come under the Transaction Apps category, the games themselves being free to play and although you don’t have to buy digital goods within the game they do afford you advantages or allow you to do more, e.g. every Zynga game

    • Hi David, what you’re talking about reminds me of the business model that RetailMeNot utilizes. They give give free coupons to registered users that give great deals on products from stores like Amazon, Papa Johns,Ralph Lauren, etc.; when customers buy products with these coupons, RetailMeNot gets a commission from the retailers. It seems like a good deal all around!

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