Can you help me validate this idea?

Hi everybody, i would like to validate an idea which is not a mobile app but a service that could help mobile developers in promoting their apps…or at least i think it could!

So, this is the idea: i would like to create a promocodes service.

It would allow mobile apps (but even web apps) to call the service to verify promocodes validity so that developers can easily integrate the service within their apps, and have a gui to create and manage all the promocodes (with analytics about usage). I think this should help developers promoting their apps: dev could give promocodes away to blog reviewers or as a sort of bonus for another app or for other services to users.

I’m honestly asking your opinion about this idea and would like to know what do you think about it. I would be very gratefull to hear anybody’s opinion, so please, post a reply and give me feedbacks!

Thanks in advance.

Your idea sounds interesting, however you have to consider fraud and how the service would appeal to hackers.

As soon as your SDK would be implemented in a number of apps, people will try and find ways to break your system - by faking server communication and/or simply modifying the apps SharedPreferences to benefit without paying or acutal promo codes.

Even Google is facing this issue with both their Game Services and their IAP solution, of which both have been broken in the past.

And that although Google is investing a lot in security plus have a much deeper access to the system, their own licensing servers and DRM integrated into Play Services and much more.

So I think this would be the biggest issue for your idea, because as soon as it takes off and has a larger publisher base using it, it will be attacked and probably broken.

Yes you are right, security will be crucial, but (it may sounds naive) i would be happy to face this kind of problems, because it would mean that the software got success!

Do you think there would be a specific kind of app that would benefit from a promocode promotions (ie game apps vs office apps)?

Thank you very much for the feedback.

Well I think that any app which is offering IAP right now could benefit.

Another problem might be that developers who tightly integrate with Google’s Play Services probably rely on their management of IAP and consumable goods which is relatively secure and neglects the need of user tracking / managemant.

It’s impossible to wrap Play Services with your SDK, so unless you come up with a revolutionary approach, your service would always require a fair addtional amount of work to integrate.

I am not sure if I am understanding your idea well but I think it’s against Google terms of services.

http://play.google.com/about/developer-content-policy.html

Developers offering virtual goods or currencies within a game downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play’s in-app billing service as the method of payment.
Developers offering additional content, services or functionality within another category of app downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play’s in-app billing service as the method of payment, except:
where payment is primarily for physical goods or services (e.g., buying movie tickets, or buying a publication where the price also includes a hard copy subscription); or
where payment is for digital content or goods that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g., buying songs that can be played on other music players).

Ok, just to clarify my idea: i would like to create a web app which allows user to create/generate custom promocodes (not the ones you can require from Google for paid apps) and exposes an easy api to perform promocode validity checks.

I think this doesn’t break Google’s policy, simply because promocodes are given free to app users and developers still use IAP apis to charge money to the app user, when it’s time to let the user pay.

As an example, you can create a free app where features and functionalities are unlocked using promocodes (suppose permanently using specific promocodes that you give to a blog reviewer for example so he can have a full app at no cost, or just temporary unlocked as a trial period for common users). When the user decide to buy the paid-version of the app, he can still buy the paid-version from the PlayStore or permanently unlock the free version, directly from the app using IAP apis.
I think that it could help engage more users in games apps where user buys virtual goods, because you could post special promocodes on blogs or somewhere else, to give them free goods so to let them be interested in having a look at your blog or somewhere else where you can drive a different way to promote your apps (tips and tricks, promote other apps and so on…)

This is the basic idea. Do you find it interesting? Would you use it in your app or find it usefull? Is there something wrong i’m missing?

Any feedback is really appreciated, thank you very much.