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(My app San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide was declared a Staff Favorite by Apple in their iTunes App Store on Thursday, 5-20-10. By Saturday sales exploded. I had 58 downloads on Saturday and ranked as #45 among all paid travel apps. I write up this saga for your amusement.)

By Lee Foster

I awoke on Friday morning, May 21, to a normal day in my life. I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some oatmeal before sitting down at my computer to go through my email and check in at some websites that I regularly visit.

San Francisco App Cover
As usual, I wished for sales of my apps. I now had three apps in the Apple ITunes App Store. I searched my name to see them and check if there were more reviews.

I then went to my Appfigures account to check on sales. I had been getting a few sales each day, OK but not anything extraordinary.

After all, the competition was considerable. There were a lot of travel apps available. There were 636 pages of travel apps in the Apple iTunes App Store, with 20 apps on a page. Doing the math, there were about 12,720 travel apps vying for consumer attention.

My San Francisco and Washington DC apps were both travel and photo apps. There were more photo apps also competing for market share. In fact, there were 173 pages of photo apps, or x20 there were about 3,460 photo apps.

So, it was not so easy to get the attention of buyers and stimulate sales.

However, I noticed in my Appfigures account that morning something unusual had happened. For my San Francisco app, 23 sales from Thursday were reported.

I was not sure why. I had been promoting the app, but was not expecting anything major. I was pleased to see the upturn in sales, but went on about my day without thinking much more about it.

On Saturday morning I went into my Appfigures account, wondering if the Thursday sales spike was a fluke. I noticed there were 44 sales of San Francisco on Friday. This was positive.

I began examining the App Store more closely. I noticed that I was the #53 app in sales for paid travel apps. By afternoon I was at #45. By evening I was inching further upward, at #44.

I observed that I was selling more apps that day than any of the various Lonely Planet and Rick Steves apps, which were in the 50-100 group of paid travel app sales.

This merited a further look at the App Store in an effort to understand what was happening. While browsing on the front page of the store, among the Staff Favorites, I noticed that my San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide had been picked as a Staff Favorite, and was #3 from the left on the top of the picks.

This was cheerful news. Somehow, someone in the inner sanctum at Apple had taken an interest in my app. I had no personal knowledge of who the staffer was and how they made the pick. However, I had just re-released my app, with some new functionality, such as allowing user comments in the product and allowing users to email an entry in the product to a friend.

On Sunday morning I saw in Appfigures that 58 sales had occurred on Saturday. My rank in sales was #45 among all paid travel apps.

Appfigures also provides a summary of sales in the last month. It will be interested to view the numbers on June 22 and determine what becoming a Staff Favorite meant for a month of sales. I will report in again then. Sutro Media pays me 60 cents of each $1.99 sale, so I suspect there will be some positive cash flow from San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide) coming up.

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