How iFart’s Earnings Set the Bar for iPhone App Sales

Whenever I get into a conversation about creating and developing iPhone apps with someone, undoubtedly the discussion somehow turns to the famous  iFart app.  For those of you that are not familiar with iFart, it is one of the top twenty downloaded apps of all time and the earnings run that it had in December of  2008 is nothing short of amazing.  In fact, on Christmas Day 2008 iFart had nearly 34,000 downloads in just one day!  Although this story may be old news to some, I feel it is still worth rehashing for those readers who may not be aware of this incredible story. 

The creator of iFart, Joel Comm had brazenly posted his earnings on his blog for all of the world to see and it’s no wonder that there are over 500 results that appear when you search the word “fart” on the iPhone app store.  Joel may have shot himself in the foot by releasing his sales figures so early, because a whole hoard of competition appeared with similar fart style apps over the next two years.  Still, those competitors haven’t kept iFart from it’s enormous success and even today, two years later, iFart is still steadily downloaded on iPhones all over the world. 

Here are the sales figures for iFart during that famous December of 2008:

12/12 – 75 units – #70 entertainment
12/13 – 296 units – #16 entertainment
12/14 – 841 units – #76 overall, #8 entertainment
12/15 – 1510 units – #39 overall, #5 entertainment
12/16 – 1797 units – #22 overall, #3 entertainment
12/17 – 2836 units – #15 overall, #3 entertainment
12/18 – 3086 units – #10 overall, #3 entertainment
12/19 – 3117 units – #9 overall, #2 entertainment
12/20 – 5497 units, – #4 overall, #2 entertainment
12/21 – 9760 units – #2 overall, #1 entertainment
12/22 – 13274 units – #1 overall
12/23  -13,349 units – #1 overall
12/24 – 19,520 units – #1 overall
12/25 – 38,927 units – #1 overall

On Christmas day Joel Comm earned $27,249 in net residual income from iFart’s nearly 34,000 downloads.  What a day this must have been!  Is this type of success possible in today’s iPhone market?  I doubt it.  In fact, with major players like video game manufacturers and movie studios getting into the mix, the ability for a novelty app to have this kind of success may not be possible in today’s market.  Last I heard, there were over 180,000 apps available in the app store.  How many apps were available in the app store back in December of 2008?  My guess is MUCH less than today, which means that iFart had limited competition and a much greater chance of getting downloaded.  Besides this fact, free apps were not as prominent back then and the idea of a free version of iFart was not even a consideration.  At a price of only .99 cents – downloading iFart required no second thought from the millions of iPhone users across the globe.

The fact is, Joel Comm was a fortunate pioneer in novelty app creation at a time when the window for success was wide open.  That window is rapidly closing, but the question is: how do we find the next window of opportunity and take advantage of it in its youth?  Could that new opportunity already exist?  Could it be iPad apps?  Could it be the Android market?  Could it be a completely different market?  If anyone knows the answer, please tell us about it!  How much money has the iFart app earned since it’s release?  We may never know the answer – but my guess is that the total is well over one million dollars. 

Best regards,

Michael-John Wolfe

Tags: make money online, residual income, royalties

3 Comments to “How iFart’s Earnings Set the Bar for iPhone App Sales”

  1. Scott Barron 31 May 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    There’s another “why didn’t I think of that?”

    Personally, I’m a Blackberry kinda guy. Is it me, or do the Blackberry apps seem more practical?

    Stories like this makes me wonder, how many of us have million dollar ideas that we don’t know about or don’t pursue?

    Random Act of Kindness

  2. MJ Wolfe 1 June 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Hi Scott – I just traded in my Blackberry for the iPhone 3G last month – I am very pleased with the iPhone, although the Blackberry was easier to text with!


  3. Bristolboy 8 June 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    I read an article today from an expert in California who recommended that people develop for Android. His reasoning was such – there are over 225,000 apps in the iPhone market but only 60,000 in the Android market meaning there is greater competition on iPhone. However, at the same time, Android is predicted to get close to, if not exceed the total number of iPhones in the future, so it is better to get in whilst there is less competition (rather like the inventor of the iFart app did).

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