Sutro Media Appears to Have Suspended Its Travel App Publishing
Dear App Customers of Lee Foster,
This note is to the invisible thousands of customers who would have downloaded my three Sutro Media travel apps if they would be available in the course of normal business.
This note is also to the 79,617 customers who have downloaded my three Sutro Media travel apps (San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide) between 2009 and November 3, 2015.
The apps were distributed by Sutro Media through the Apple and Google stores at $2.99 per download.
On the right side of my website at www.fostertravel.com you will see the cover images of my three Sutro travel apps. These visuals are now like literary gravestones, suggesting the existence of objects no longer living. There is an element of Author grief in this display. Many other Sutro Authors may have similar perceptions.
The downloaded apps continue to work on your smartphone, but potential new customers cannot now download the apps. The apps are now invisible in the app stores. The downloaded apps cannot now be updated by the Author, so they will age gracefully in their present state unless something positive happens.
Sutro Media as of November 3, 2015 appears to have shuttered its publishing effort and brought a final pause to the 450 travel apps for which the founders contracted. Sutro Media was founded in 2009 by two talented young men, Kevin Collins ([email protected]) and Tobin Fisher ([email protected]). They engaged the services of the highly-talented and hard-working acquisitions editor, Kim Grant, who knew or could source the major players worldwide capable of producing credible travels apps.
However, both founders gradually moved on to other endeavors, shifting their focus away from this large and revolutionary travel app publishing enterprise. Some frictions between them appeared to arise that prevented them from cooperating to keep the back-end software needed for updates in order. Kevin Collins recently suggested to app Authors that he might spearhead a Sutro 2, but his sustained interest in this in uncertain at this time. An opportunity exists for an entrepreneur desiring to do travel apps to contact the founders and consider purchasing and revitalizing the asset.
Meanwhile, app Authors such as me (Lee Foster, [email protected], 510-549-2202) are free to look for another app developer or app publisher for our apps. We are also contractually free (and always have been) to publish our app content as websites and in ebooks or print books. I will pursue all of these paths for myself, but it takes time, and there is some sadness in the lost opportunity that the Sutro app option originally projected.
It is likely that all my travel app content will eventually be presented on my website (www.fostertravel.com) in a manner parallel to my book/ebook/Chinese translation of my Northern California Travel: The Best Options. This “book/ebook” is also a cluster of 30 articles supported by ads on my website at Norcal. We travel journalists must learn to present our content beneficially to the public in the manner they want it, including “free” for those willing to endure ads. My three Sutro apps will likely eventually become books/ebooks visible on my Amazon Author Page. However, these arrangements will take years. I can’t just snap my fingers and wish this transformation to occur.
Each of the 450 Sutro travel app Authors will have his or her own perspective on the Sutro situation. My own view is that Sutro was (and is) a brilliant software displaying travel content, and there remains an opportunity for an app travel entrepreneur to make it flourish. Many lost opportunities for marketing the Sutro content on the Internet and with in-app purchases have occurred between 2009-2015, and these lost opportunities, which could have enriched the founders and all the app Authors, are gone forever. However, I remain optimistic that those of us dedicated to serving the traveling public with engaging travel content will find new structures, app or otherwise, to present that content and connect with our audiences.