(from the latest issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter)
A new bipartisan US Congress bill wants to split app stores:
A new bipartisan bill in the US Senate would bring dramatic changes to the App Store and Play Store. Founders should be prepared for a plethora of new opportunities upon its passage.
The background: Thanks to a new bipartisan bill introduced in the US Senate and House, dramatic changes may soon be impacting mobile app stores. A CNBC report notes that:
App developers have complained to Congress and in court that Apple and Google maintain a tight grip over their businesses through control of their app stores, which are the gatekeepers of access to mobile app consumers.
As an app developer, this bill would place limits on Google's Play Store (3.1M apps) and Apple's App Store (2.1M apps) which would allow you to:
The opportunity: If this law passes, it will open up a lot of new gaps for indie hackers to fill. You could create new app stores, app-store-friendly external payment integrations, SaaS for price promotions, and so on.
The news: TikTok was the most downloaded app in July for the sixth month in a row, with 63M installs. Also, TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020. The app is crushing Instagram, Facebook (53M installs), and others in download numbers.
Copycats: All social media companies are trying to adopt TikTok-like features. The latest on the list is Reddit. The social network has quietly rolled out a TikTok-like video feed for iOS users.
The opportunity: Short video as a format is becoming extremely popular. The nice thing about it is reusability; you could make a vertical video and then re-use on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Reddit in order to gain more organic reach.
Can you demonstrate your app value in a video in 15 seconds or less? Focus on the before-and-after format: The beginning of the video would be the "before" (unideal) state, and the "after" (the end of the video) would be the perfect state of the user.
Promotions: Apparently, online gambling companies like Stake and Roobet are using Twitch streamers to promote their platforms. This practice has gotten so widespread that Twitch announced that it's forbidding streamers from posting referral links to gambling sites.
If you're creative enough, however, you can also use Twitch to promote a SaaS product.
How to use Twitch for promoting SaaS: Find a way to turn your SaaS into a game, and get Twitch streamers to play it.
For example, if you have a tool for scheduling social media posts, you could make a Wheel-of-Fortune-like game that showcases viral social media posts from the past month. After the wheel stops on a post, it could show more details about it, like the number of likes, comments, and why it got popular.
The opportunity: Take simple gaming mechanics (like Wheel-of-Fortune, slots, and other casino-like games) and replace the content with something relevant to your niche. Then, partner up with relevant streamers and get them to play it, giving them an affiliate link or sponsorship revenue in the process.
What do you think of the new legislation? Share in the comments.
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🚫 Facebook and TikTok will continue their bans on Taliban-related content.
📈 The S&P 500 has doubled from its pandemic low.
🤝 This crypto firm has offered a job to the hacker who stole $610M.
🛍 People now spend more at Amazon than at Walmart.
💲 This meme artist raised over $2M in five hours to rescue Afghans.
Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.
Harvard Business School estimates that at least 30K products are brought to market each year. One major determining factor in a product's success is how well it is launched. Read on for the ultimate checklist to help you prepare for launch day!
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A quick primer on social proof: Above the fold social proof is about credibility. Below the fold social proof is about inspiring action. It's a free pass to sell your product.
Use existing customers to bring to life the value you promise.
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Hey indie hackers! I’m Christopher Dengsø, and I’ve founded several businesses, including a board game, a marketplace platform, and a SaaS company. Here, I'm focusing on the two software-enabled products:
2\. Moderation API is an automated text analysis tool that can be used to extract and hide data, or run general analysis to detect sentiment or spam.
When the pandemic was at its peak, running an event-based business didn’t seem like the best bet. So I started Moderation API. It was born out of the tech I’d already developed for Cueup, so it was a quick launch earlier this year.
I found that DJs had more time to look around for products like mine during the lockdown. So I tried to make sure to get noticed and provide what they were looking for when searching on Google.
I did this by creating content like blog posts and other useful tools to attract users, and as some competition seemed to tap out, I saw my pages starting to rank higher. Signups increased from there. One of my biggest hits was the DJ name generator.
I figured that if I could make the product work during the lockdown, it would work even better after!
95% of users come from an organic search on Google, or from finding the app on the App Store or Play Store. The rest is probably word-of-mouth.
Earlier, I was experimenting with Facebook ads for acquiring DJs, which worked pretty well. I also manually posted in relevant Facebook groups, which yielded mixed results.
Commission: In my opinion, this is the holy grail if you can solve the problems that come with it. It scales naturally with supply and demand, and forces you to provide actual value. But it comes with some hard problems to solve, like preventing people from circumventing the commission fee and figuring out accounting.
Subscriptions: These work well in volatile situations, and they're easy to get started. It also provides some amount of predictable income. I think that the most important thing is to make sure that your product provides tons of value continuously to justify a subscription, which can be hard.
In my case, the DJs churn if they don't get any gigs for a month or two. However, the Moderation API will automatically provide value every month without me doing much. I think that running a marketplace is much harder than running a SaaS. With a SaaS, if people like the service, they pay.
With a marketplace, you're dependent on countless external factors, like supply, having different people agree on a deal, and bringing about a successful execution of the deal. I just think it's awesome when it happens, and it makes it all worth it.
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Darko, Priyanka Vazirani, James Fleischmann, Harry Dry, and Christopher Dengsø for contributing posts. —Channing