How I Went From $1,000 to $200,000 With Apps

“Speed provides the one geniunely modern pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley

Consider this a victory post and how I would advise my family if they wanted to get into apps.  I can’t promise you’ll be able to replicate what I’ve done, but I wanted to share my story in case you’re able to figure out a way to apply it to your business.

Abundance is better than scarcity, so here are my recommendations on how to create an app and make money.

Apptopia sale

In case you didn’t hear, I sold my app portfolio. Woo!

Now that the champagne hangover has passed, I wanted to address a question a lot of people asked me.

“Carter, if you started over, what would you do RIGHT NOW? How would you approach the app market?”

I think this is a really good question to ask because it forces me to address the age old “if I knew then what I know now” type of thinking. Even more than that, the market is so different now than it was in October 2011 that there is a lot that I would do now that is completely different.

What’s hard at this point is that there is a sense of urgency mixed with a million different options about how to move forward with apps. It’s overwhelming.

I totally feel you on all counts.

In a lot of ways, I am starting over myself. I’m launching new apps with new models. But it’s different – I have money to play with now, I’m not beholden to a job or other responsibilities.

I’m 29 and don’t have to think about a lot that many of you do, which allows me to roll the dice a bit more. So this post is for everyone out there trying to make the TRANSITION that the internet and internet marketing have promised for years. That life of passive income and excitement that grows to a point that can be your full time gig.

Let’s be honest, this post is about how to make money as fast as possible, using apps.

Here’s what I would do…

Step 1: Buy Low, Re-Skin, Repeat. Only Make Games.


Call it app flipping, re-skinning, or just good business, the best way to enter the market is to hit the ground running.

In other words, leverage the work that someone else has done by licensing or purchasing source code. My drug of choice is Apptopia because you can get an app in the store immediately before having to re-skin. If you go to another source code marketplace, you have to re-skin the game before you can launch. It just adds time to your bottom line, although sometimes you can get powerful engines for cheap. Also, if you can get a universal (iPhone & iPad in one) you’ll have a big boost in revenue.

Typically you want to get a code engine that is “endless” or has an enormous number of levels. There are a few reasons for this:

  • More opportunities to advertise
  • More opportunities to advertise
  • More opportunities to advertise
  • Sell some In app purchases
  • Make the user happy with good source code
  • Re-skin multiple versions a LOT more easily
  • More opportunities to advertise

I’ll get to this in a minute, but the golden rule is that you want to be re-skinning GRAPHICS and not re-skinning CONTENT. That’s a huge difference.

Once you have this re-skinnable engine in your hands, move to Step 2.


NOTE: DO NOT try to build something from scratch. I say again – this is not about pride or being a revolutionary. This is not about your idea being great. This is about making money. Let me explain this further (free 4 part course – Click here). 

Step 2: Monetizing in 33 Days – How To Make Money With Apps

So you have an endless runner engine ready to send to your designer and/or developer. Awesome.

Now you need to strategically place advertisements to maximize your game’s value. This is not pretty, but it makes money.

Without fail, the best place to place advertisements is at the beginning of the game. Use full screens and don’t be afraid to layer them. I use RevMob and Chartboost for iOS and launch them at the same time.

It’s very aggressive, but it makes money.


The next is to place both these fullscreens on the Game Over action. The user jumps off a cliff and dies…BOOM you serve up both Revmob and CB.

Same with when they hit the pause screen and exit back to the main menu. If they’re trying to leave the game, try to get them to leave in a way that makes you money.

These ad networks hinge on selling installations of other games so you need to get users to click on the ads, go to the app store, then install the displayed game.

Within this framework, you should also be using banner ads. The revenue won’t be nearly as good, but it’s something. I use iAds and MoPub. I hear OpenX is pretty good too.

The trick is display as many ads as possible. Banner ads typically refresh on a 40-60 second interval, so you need to keep a user playing for about that long OR find ways to increase the number of times banners are served up.

Example: User opens game, sees RM/CB ads, picks level, starts playing, banner is displayed while they are playing. Play for 30-40 seconds, then end level or die which leads to Game Over screen. RM/CB fire off and while the the user closing those ads, you’re serving a NEW banner impression behind it all. That creates a secondary impression for the core user flow. This doesn’t work quite as well for CPC (cost per click) campaigns, but helps a lot of CPM (cost per impression) campaigns.

PRO TIP: On the game over screen, make the level score tick up from zero to whatever score they achieved. That way the user has to wait for 4-5 seconds while the scoreboard gets to their score…while they stare at the banner ad. Not only does this give the servers enough time to download the ad and increase your fill rate, it will increase your click rates A LOT. I did this on some of my runner games and it crushed it.

When it comes to IAP (in app purchase), you’re not going to make nearly as much money on these type of games. Even if you put tons of cool stuff in your store, the IAP will be a joke compared to what you make on advertising.

The best thing to do is offer some ridiculously high, very clever options for the few people that are die hard lovers of your game (maybe 1% of users). Adding things like “Unstoppable Kid Mode!” where it’s impossible to die for $29.99 type of stuff. Remove ads for $0.99 is not going to help you retire. Sorry.

The reason for this is economics – the top 1% should pay for everyone else’s marginal cheapness. People who love the game should pay for everyone else who doesn’t have the money or find the value to spend the money. NOTE: that is not a political reference so please don’t go there. 

What’s the 33 day reference?

How To Make Money With Apps - 30 day look back graph

33 days is my window for making a 100% return. If I spend $600 on a re-skin, I give it 33 days to make $1,200. I’ll watch it and update it and do whatever, but after 33 days, I forget about it. Everyone’s got their own number, but after the first month, these low quality games really aren’t worth your time relative to the value you get from focusing on the next game.

Sometimes it’s 5 days, sometimes its 100 days. I choose 33 because it’s aggressive and forces me to work harder.

That bring us to….

Step 3: Choosing Your Theme

This is something I talked about in my App Empire talk. The one difference that I had early on was that I chose themes that weren’t “hot” themes – I chose themes that would provide qualified traffic for advertisers. Revmob’s top advertisers last summer were Pocket Gems and TinyCo, so I made animal style games that crushed eCPM.

When you choose your theme now, you have a few options:

  • Find the top advertisers on the networks you’re using and cater to them (casino, mafia, fantasy, young women, etc)
  • Capitalize on popular trends (I’ve seen plenty of examples of this being an AWESOME strategy for fast ROI)
  • Capitalize on hot apps (If Temple Run 2 is coming out, might want to make a game similar….)
  • Capitalize on flashy design (No matter how crowded, if you have a sick racing icon and screen shots, it will crush it for a week or two)

Bottom line is that you should choose your theme based on where the money is and where the volume is. When you can match those two together, it’s party time.

Step 4: Publishing


The #1 thing I tell people to do when they ask where to start is to get awesome at publishing. Publishing is the process of going from having an Xcode project sent to you and then having a live app in the store. What it includes:

  • Title
  • Screenshots
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Provisioning Profiles and Archive uploading
  • In-app purchase setup
  • Game Center setup
  • All ad network setup

You’ll find that with the re-skinning model that this is almost always the bottleneck. The better you get at doing this, the more money you’ll make. Developers and designers, especially when they are using the same code over and over, can pump out projects for you. Then you have to move them to the store. Over and over. And over. Ugh.

If you don’t know much about publishing, that’s totally ok! I wrote an ebook that explains everything, including this entire publishing process. You can download it for free here.

Step 5: Repeat

Do this again. Do it often.

Start slow and do it right, then ramp up once you can publish apps like it’s a part of your body. Everyone I know who’s making $50-100K a month has gone through this exercise so many times it makes their head hurt.

They are total masters at this 5 step process. They have a lot of it outsourced, but only after understanding the mechanics first hand dozens and dozens of times.

Step 6: Go Get Started!

The obvious next question is that you have to get the source code to start with! Duh. If you’ve been watching the charts lately, you see that there’s a very clear starting point. Some of these people build their own apps, but most are buying source code somewhere.

There are a lot of marketplaces out there but I think they can be overwhelming and also FULL of garbage. It’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not. That’s why I am selling codes on my own site. I’m just getting started but also only put up stuff that’s top quality and easily ROI positive.

Click here to get started with reskinning and source codes. 

Kick Some Ass

And that’s it. These efforts will start compounding and you’ll find yourself making more and more money. It’s SUPER intense for a while and really doesn’t get less intense, but it’s how you make money with apps when you start with a few thousand dollars (not even!).

Hope that helps you guys. Everyone I know who’s done this makes more money every month than they did the month prior. That’s all that matters. Every month has to be more than the last. Do that and you will make a lot of money :)

Good luck! Keep rocking! Get the champagne ready!

Click here if you want more information on how to do this yourself »



  • Andrew February 19, 2013

    Great post! Can you name one game owned by a publisher that’s making $50-100k/month?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Andrew,

    Well, that’s kind of tricky. Some people aren’t as open as I am about their earnings so I don’t want to spill their beans. I’ve met about 5-10 individuals and a bunch of studios.

    Thanks for reading!


  • Brett Wash February 19, 2013

    Great Advice

  • Drew February 19, 2013

    So how do you re-skin and find the applications that allow us to re-skin? There are copyrights on items but where can you find “white-label” applications?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Drew – go to Apptopia. You get full rights to do whatever you want.


  • Mike February 19, 2013

    Great article Carter. Thanks.
    Couple of questions.
    1. Do you only focus on iphone – ipad apps?
    2. When you buy an app, do you care about the amount
    of current downloads or are you just concerned about owning
    the code?


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Mike,

    1. I used to, yeah. Did a few on Android. Now I’m going on iOS, Google Play, Amazon, and Mac.
    2. Mostly just owning the code. Historical data can help determine future success, but if you know what you’re doing you can make anything kick ass.

    Good luck!


  • Nick Walter February 19, 2013

    Atta babe Carter! I love how open and insightful you are. Thanks for all the inside tips. Good luck with your next project!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Thanks Nick!

  • Matt February 19, 2013

    Great post. Thank you.
    The main question I a missing is how to get the users who will generate the money from CB?

    Thank you

  • Nick Giovacchini February 19, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Thanks for continually putting out information that others charge a ton of money for.

    I am going to follow this exact model over the next year & make this happen.

    I wanted to write this comment so I can look back next year and measure my success following this model.

    Thanks again,


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Nick,

    That’s a good plan :) You are a smart dude and I know you’ll kill it. Good luck!


  • Judy Wong Dobberpuhl February 19, 2013

    Thank you Carter Thomas! Always look forward to your terrific blog posts! Terrific insights on getting a handle on the mobile app biz from your perspective! Here’s to your success Carter!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Thanks Judy! You’ve been a great supporter, thanks for your words!

  • Jeff Williams February 19, 2013

    Friggin Awesome post!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Thanks Jeff!

  • Oliver Saylor February 19, 2013

    Awesome article man!

    The only thing I’m not sure how to do properly is how you research advertisers. Where on Revmob and where on Chartboost do you see what themes are hottest so you can adapt accordingly?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Oliver,

    With Revmob, I would just click through the apps when the eCPMs are the highest to see who was paying for it. That usually worked well.

    In Chartboost, you can export your campaign analytics to see what apps paid what. Over a week or two, you’ll start to see which companies consistently pay out the most.

    Hope that helps!


  • matt February 19, 2013

    *sniffle sniffle* that’s awesome, Carter. Congrats, amigo. Huge smile on my face for you right now.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Thanks Matt. Hope all is well with you guys. We will have to catch up soon.


  • Peter February 19, 2013

    Hello Carter.

    Thanks for a new post. Reading them with joy, You write in an entertaining way.

    How about copyrights etc.? For example, using Rihannas name in an app, is that Ok? Well, there is no copyright on the name I believe, but the title “Dancing With The Stars Running Game” connects somehow to “the star”. Or for example Your Gangnam app experiment. You didn’t get any angry mail with that one?

    Tnx / P

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Peter,

    When I first submitted the game, I called it “Rihanna Runner” etc and it was rejected. They said as long as I did the “Rihanna Edition” it was all good. So that’s what I did. Boom!

    I got a few angry emails about the gangnam app. Very angry. Haha, but I made amends and now we’re all good :)

    Catch you later,


  • Jane February 19, 2013

    Carter, whohoo!! Selling your whole portfolio! A dream come true! Loving how much your success inspires me! Thanks for all you do for the App community at large!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Thanks Jane! I am so pumped to help out the community and provide inspiration. Glad to have you on board!


  • bob February 19, 2013

    Godd**n yer the man, bro.

    I owe you a beer.

  • Chuck Rayman February 19, 2013


    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge.
    Like you, I have been in the internet marketing space and looking to transition to the app development space. I am really excited what this year can bring.

    As the late Zig Ziglar once said, See You At The Top.



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Hey Chuck,

    2013 is the year, man! Zig Ziglar is the man – definitely has the most epic quotes of all time.

    Good luck to you.


  • Gerry Praysman February 19, 2013


    As always – thanks so much for the kind words on Apptopia and for an incredibly insightful post. I’ll definitely be sending this one over to some of our buyers who purchased similar apps so they can make the most out of their investments.



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 19, 2013

    Right on Gerry – you guys kicked ass in that deal and I’ve got a bunch of people ready to talk to you guys about making things happen.



  • mike February 20, 2013

    What are the steps to getting an app reskinned? How do you get the right designer? What are the best practices?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Mike,

    That’s a good question. A big one at that. I think that might require it’s own blog post. Basically you have to re-work the existing graphics files, music, etc into a new game. It’s kind of a case by case basis, but that’s also why having one source code to start can be so helpful.

    Catch you soon,


  • John February 20, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Fantastic post with gems of information that others charge good money for…

    Do you mind telling me what sort of money do you pay for the games you buy a Apptopia. What would be the range that we need to look for , say $500 – $1,000, is it more or less ???

    Once again many thanks for a great and informative post.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey John,

    Totally depends. I’ve seen some really awesome games on there (right now even) for $500 and some other good ones that are $3,000+. I tend to not look at the download/revenue history and more at the development quality. The best codes come from people who really cared about it and either couldn’t make it work or moved on to something else.

    In other words, great apps that were poorly marketed. They can be simple or complex – all that matters is that you can make twice as much as you spend on every re-skin.


  • Kyle February 20, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Best article to date! Thank you so much

    Can you give anymore insight or help on the actual re skinning process. I want to try and do this with some of my ideas but am a little stuck on how to do it. I have checked out Apptopia – but am not sure if once purchased, will the developing/re skinning need to be done by myself, or can this be outsourced/is it part of acquisition?

    Any direction would be great.



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Kyle,

    Glad you liked it! Like I just mentioned, it’s really hard to explain a overarching “how to reskin apps” quickly.

    With Apptopia, the beauty of it is that you can upload the exact version you buy. No reskin required for app #1. Once you have that code, however, you can either go to the seller or to your own dev/design resource and create a new version of it. And then again. And again.

    Good luck!


  • Lat February 20, 2013

    Another awesome post, Carter!!! You’re a great inspiration and I am GOING FOR IT!!


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Thanks Lat! You are going to crush it!

  • Andrew February 20, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    In reference to this excerpt

    “I have money to play with now, I’m not beholden to a job or other responsibilities. I’m 29 and don’t have to think about a lot that many of you do, which allows me to roll the dice a bit more.”

    What might you say to someone starting out in app dev that lacks your experience, rep and portfolio, but matches your other circumstances here-described? The path forward for those who have already made the TRANSITION to the full time app dev gig. Same game plan? Something higher risk and more ambitious?

    The original question might thus become: “Carter, if you started over, [but had the time, vitality and capital currently available to you,] what would you do RIGHT NOW? How would you approach the app market?”

    BTW, I like your piece “In Defense of Money”. Might have to start calling you Francisco d. Anconia. (:

    2013 FTW, mate.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Really good question, Andrew. Honestly, I would probably do the same thing, mostly because it’s such a great learning experience. I think it’s really important to understand how to build apps (or at least how they are built) before you can build a real business model and company.

    For example, what I am doing now is building much bigger apps that are more complex and are based on IAP + deep integration publishing. A lot of my time was spend on the QA during development and now a lot of my time is spent making deals and doing user acquisition.

    If I tried to go out and spend $25K on buying mobile traffic with no understanding on how the ad networks operated, who to talk to, how my apps would respond, how to track it, and the million other things I learned along the way, I’d waste a LOT of money.

    Even more importantly, by building a portfolio from scratch, then selling it, I realized how to package it from the start to sell in the future. I started my new company with the exit strategy in mind, which is really hard to do while you’re still learning (it can slow you down a lot).

    I guess the only thing that may change is the quality of source codes I worked with. Check out the Unity Asset Store (I mentioned this on my FB page a few days ago). This has a lot of high end 3D engines you can use for the app flipping model. It’s just more intensive and can be more expensive to develop. The nice piece is that you can export to all platforms from it.

    Glad you like the Money piece :) I gotta start writing more on that blog….


  • Ob Oberon February 20, 2013

    Great article indeed! Thanks a lot Carter. All info you’ve shared here are very useful for my app business. :)

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013


    Glad to hear it, hope you have continued success!


  • Iain February 20, 2013

    Great post as always Carter.
    Thank you for being so supportive to the community, you’re a great inspiration!

    As someone struggling to get off the ground with a full time job and two kids, your posts keep me rocking along :-)

    My plan is to follow your steps on reskinning and work on a few more complex apps as and when money permits.
    Your apptopia tip is definitely one I’ll be looking into today!

    Good luck with your new business.
    2013 FTW!


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013


    Right on man. One day at a time. One app at a time, I guess. Start slow, do it right, then accelerate. You’ll make it!



  • John Cohen February 20, 2013

    Hey Carter,
    as always another great post. i really appreciate your insights.
    i am planning to follow your suggestions and hope to make a blast :) but i would like to ask you , how would you start getting traffic to the app? or is it something you buy when you buy the app code?
    i guess this is my main concern. if i sepnd couple of thousands in an app, how can i get the users to play with it a bit so i can earn the money back with your methods?

    thank you so much

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey John,

    I only tried buying traffic once. It worked, but I couldn’t make the numbers work out, so I stopped. That’s a hard game to win and you need to have some money to burn if you want to play it.

    All my traffic came from the launch, which indirectly came from the publishing (good icon, keywords, screenshot, description). That’s why the window was only 33 days. For every 1 game that would do really well, 3 would suck or only make back 50-60% profit. That’s why it’s just a numbers game – produce more apps and your risk decreases.

    Good luck!


  • Raki February 20, 2013

    Hi Carter !

    Another awesome post. You’re a great inspiration I have already a newsstand app / Magazine that already published on the store and I love the process.

    Here questions if you don’t mind :

    – How do you choose the source code ? is it based on a game/model that is already in the top chart ?
    – Do you already know what are you looking for when you go buy on Attopia? or you just browse and choose something that you think will work ?
    – How long the re skin process take you from the day you buy the source code until publication ?

    Once again thank you so much for the great and informative posts.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Raki,

    1. I chose it based on how well I can sell advertising and also how well the game is built. Good development makes a big difference. I always say that Development = Retention. Retention is where the long term money is.

    2. I just browse. Usually I stay in the games area, but I’m always open to something new.

    3. Depends. Sometimes 2 days, sometimes 2 months. Once you find the right source and the right team, the key is to just make as many as you can as fast as you can.

    Glad I can help!


  • Marc February 20, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    great post.

    You definitely should tell us more about how to build a portfolio with an exist strategy in mind :)
    I guess that things like owning a niche, etc is a good start.
    What would be the main things to keep in mind (built to sell)?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Marc,

    Yeah, I think that’s a really good topic. In the next 6-12 month a lot of people who made money as indie devs will want to “graduate” to the next level. A few pointers.

    1. Setup a separate Apple account with an LLC that you can shift over completely. You will have a hard time selling just a few apps out of your portfolio (when you’re selling for big #s).

    2. Organize EVERYTHING. Code, Design files, revenue reports, logins, everything.

    3. Make it a “system” with documentation. The less “you” there is, the more value there is.

    I’ll def write a post about that soon.


  • Henry Palma February 20, 2013

    Love your site. Thank you for sharing.

    One question. Why 2 apps (one free and one paid)? Why not 1 app with an in app purchase to unlock all features?

    Have you experimented with this model?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Henry,

    I do both actually. The Free app is essentially the Paid app with a “Remove Ads” button. I release both at the same time because it makes more money (you’re on different charts).


  • Nathan February 20, 2013

    Hi Cater,
    Another great article from you which is free of cost and not many in the world would like to share.

    As I mentioned in my earlier reply you are my true inspiration for app development. Good news my first app ‘Story Train’ has been released yesterday. It is a free app for kids with moral stories and activities for writing alphabets , numbers and coloring. I Have emailed you a promo code.

    Thank you for your help and support to the app community.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Awesome Nathan! Congratulations. That’s a big accomplishment and a huge first step.

    I’ll check it out and let you know.


  • Sean J February 20, 2013

    Excellent informative post. Thanks for that. Quick question. With your 33 day test if your app isn’t doing as well as you wanted after all your tweaks during that period, would you try another re-skin for that same source code or would you purchase a new app source and re-skin that?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 21, 2013

    Hey Sean,

    Depends on the metrics (Flurry). For example, runner games had about a 45 second avg session length and people played multiple times. To me, that’s good stuff. I would determine that the problem was just the theme.

    If, however, the metrics were not good (like 5% retention) and it was hard to reskin, I’d think about moving on.


  • john doe February 21, 2013

    Damn man.
    You 29? all this time I was thinking you were 35+. To be honest, I was thinking you were 40-ish.

    Anyways, I gotta say man, your journey has been a huge inspiration.

    1k to 200k! In on year! DAYYYYYUM!

    Goes on to prove that if you got the will, you’ll get the way.
    Focus always wins. I’ve seen focus in your journey man; you quit your damn job, you focussed on your apps, and they way you wrote many of your articles about trying new methods and tricks to milk your apps for money more and more and more, I just knew you were a crazy ass bastard who’s out on all guns locked and loaded to do something big. That’s what I’m aiming for. Unfortunately I’m just a recent college passout hanging loose in the dilemma of waiting more for joining in the company I got placed in, in my campus placements, or just start rightaway developing apps and websites of my own personal taste and choice, and make money from them. It’s not that easy though, and here’s why – money is still required to do all that. I’m developing for Android – least amount of money required. Apple app dev still takes a lot of money in my country, because their machines aren’t cheap, and iPhones are 3x times as expensive in the U.S (import duties and what not). I hope to make it big with Android, thanks to your detailed articles and experience, and then perhaps when I get joining in my company, I’ll accumulate some savings, and then leap on to the basket of Apples from the casket of Droids 😉

    Alrighty then. Hope I see you make a million by next year. Good day mate.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 21, 2013

    Right on man, thanks for the words. Your journey starts today and you’ll make it if you really want to make it.

    Good luck to you.


  • Lana February 21, 2013

    Hello Carter,

    Do you know of any books that I can read to learn xcode quickly? Or, are there any programs that teach you how to create games without knowing xcode? I have done a full google search, which are crummy information, do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks Carter

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 21, 2013

    Hey Lana,

    Not really, unfortunately. If you check out my post of how much it costs to develop an app, I link to a few affiliate programs I’ve found to be helpful. The video course is a “how to learn to program” and actually isn’t that bad. Might be worth a shot.

    Other resources are Ray Wenderlich’s tutorials (just google it).

    Good luck!


  • Nick Giovacchini February 21, 2013

    This is marginally related to the topic and I’m having a really difficult time finding the answer, so I figured I’d ask.

    I’ve been trying to find the answer for this but I cannot find it anywhere.

    Does the publisher name count towards the keywords for Apple? I’ve been doing some searches of different companies, and it appears that even if they don’t have their publisher name listed in the keywords, it will still appear in the search.

    For instance, if I were to have the publisher name: Top Free Kids Games

    Would these words in the publisher name count function the same as keywords?

    I’ve been finding conflicting answers, so I hope you’ll be able to help me out.



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 21, 2013

    Hey Nick,

    Answer is yes, as far as I know. Also remember that you can add your publisher name (whether it’s your company name or not) to the Title. So you could name your game “Motor Racing 3000 by Top Free Kids Games” and get the SEO benefit.

    Check out David Janner at if you have more questions. He know everything about app store optimization.


  • max February 22, 2013

    Could you explain more abou how use famous people? Do you ask any permission?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 22, 2013

    Well, I re-design the games to look like them, name the game to capitalize on search volume, then hope they don’t sue me. Then some of them do. That’s annoying.

    Good luck!


  • Mo February 22, 2013

    Carter, you ROCK! Congrats on the exit. That’s wonderful! Also thanks for unbelievable info that you are spreading for FREE! Truly appreciated!

    Quick question if I may: I am working on a Gangnam Style runner (starting from a template instead of starting from scratch:) and was very interested about the troubles got into with Apple (rejections) with either the Gangnam brand or other celebrities name. How did you deal with that? Some pointers will be wonderful. I feel that many apps that normally won’t get traction can make a killing if they are associated with theme like Gangnam Style. Psy brand is kind of special since he do not seems to protect his brand (so he can spread like a wild fire!) but many brand names are pretty much of limit in the App Store..

    Would LOVE to have your point of view on this since I am sure you have the flesh wounds from apple reviewers to show for!

    THANKS! For all you do here.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 22, 2013

    Hey Mo,

    There are some loopholes, like “streaming YouTube into the app to account for the audio” and other people have done other things. At the end of the day, it just comes down to how much they want to bury you. There’s really no legal route you can take (this is not legal advice) because even if you do everything by the books, are you really going to shell out $30-40K to defend your app against a major music conglomerate?

    It all comes down to rolling the dice. If you think it’s worth it, go for it.


  • Mo February 22, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    As usual, you deliver! I agree, in term of audio, it is really how they (music companies) feel that day!

    Actually I was really thinking about the app name and keywords choices and your dealing with Apple reviewers. It seems you were able to make them happy by using the word “edition” in your app title for instance. Any other suggestions in regards to brand names and the App Store?

    Obviously if you cannot comment on public forum about this, please don’t You are doing a real service here and the last thing I want is to get you in trouble!

    Thanks Carter!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 22, 2013

    Hey Mo,

    Here’s what Apple wrote back when I originally had the Lady Gaga Runner title:

    We found your app includes features or content, in the title, keywords, and/or imagery, that bear a resemblance to the well-known, third-party mark, Lady Gaga. In order to proceed with the review of your app, we require documentation evidencing you are authorized by Lady Gaga to use features from Lady Gaga.

    Additionally, it would be appropriate to adjust the title of your application so that the trademarked title is used as a descriptor, but not as part of the product name. For example, the following styles are acceptable formats for names:

    GreatApp – “for Lady Gaga”
    GreatApp – “Lady Gaga edition”
    GreatApp – “Lady Gaga version”

    Hope that helps.


  • John February 22, 2013

    Great article. This is something I would do. But where do I find people to do the skinning on a $1,000 budget. I can’t code, program, or make graphic. Is there a video that show step 1 to the last step? I would probably pay $19.99 to see how this is done visually including the sources that were used. But it probably worth a lot more, given that this article was already free.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 22, 2013

    Hey John,

    Stayed tuned. I’m talking to someone today about making a course/product about this exact process. If we do it, it’s going to be totally awesome.


  • Anup Sindagi February 24, 2013

    Hey John, app buyers and coders,
    I was wondering if you are interested in this game I created. I think it’s a descent new game. I just could not market it well. I’m in need of money for some other projects to work on. I have listed it on Apptopia, if you are interested, please follow the link.
    Here’s the link –

    By the way, great articles. I have gone through all of them. But some of the methods could be annoying for the end users though :)

  • Lex February 24, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Great article and thank you very much. You’re a rare gem. You’ve inspired me to take the bold step. I’ll tell you my success story later this year.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 24, 2013

    Hell yeah Lex. Rock and Roll. Crushing it!


  • Max February 24, 2013

    Carther, I have a unique app in the app store is possible that I can send a promo code to you and you give me your opinion.

  • Jim February 25, 2013

    I’d love to learn more about reskinning process too. Are there any good courses about that?

    I’ve seen one on Udemy by Elaine Heney. Have anyone bought it? Do you think it’s all one needs to start reskining games and just work with a graphic designer & do not worry about finding a programmer?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 25, 2013

    Hey Jim,

    Elaine is a rockstar. Worth checking out her stuff and her blog (link is on the right side of my blog).

    I’m actually looking into making a course so that it’s very clear and laid out how it’s done. I’ll let you know!


  • John Cohen February 25, 2013

    Hey Carter,
    a qucik question about rights, you are using all kind of celeb names in your games. are you allowed to do that?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 26, 2013


    Not really. It’s all very ambiguous. I guess time will tell :)


  • thilliam February 27, 2013

    Hi Carter. Interesting article. A couple of questions:

    1. How long do you think it will be before Apple crack down on things like serving (dare I say “spamming”) ads at your users? (i.e. how long is this opportunity open to new players?)

    2. How do you find out who is spending the money with Revmob in order to target those genres?



  • Alvian February 27, 2013

    Dear Carter,

    I’ve just read about your reply for Mo above (February 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm)
    Right now, I’m facing similar situation with your Lady Gaga Runner rejection.

    I made a guide for Halo 4 game: Gun Guide for Halo 4 Unofficial. This app is facing this rejection:
    8.5 We found your app includes features or content, in the title, keywords, and/or imagery, that bear a resemblance to the well-known, third-party mark, Halo. In order to proceed with the review of your app, we require documentation evidencing you are authorized by Halo to use features from Halo.

    My question is…
    Did you contact Lady Gaga and provide the documentation to the reviewer?
    What did you do when you get this rejection?
    What changes did you make to solve this rejection?

    Right now, I’ve deleted the app from the itunes connect and re-upload it again.

    Thank you for your feedback, Carter. Your blog and ebook, really has became my no.1 inspiration in running my app business. (My app business model is emulating app. I got this inspiration from your article “5 Options For Building Your App Empire”)

    Kind regards,

  • Mo February 27, 2013

    Man, thank you Carter. I am sorry I did not see your last response until now! I wish they were a notification of response. LOL. It is simply amazing that Apple actually helped you find an acceptable name. LOL

    Thanks SO much for sharing that Apple response. It really a great pointer!

    I do not know how find the time to answer all these questions but you can be assured that many people here (including me of course) appreciate your precious time and help.

    Can’t WAIT to read your next post!


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 27, 2013

    Hey Glory,

    Hmm…good question. I can’t remember which apps I did that with, unfortunately. It’s not a bad idea though. I can say that when I submitted similar games (like, very similar haha) to the original, it was usually about 30% of the performance overall for downloads and revenue.

    If I remember, I will be sure to comment.


  • Glory February 27, 2013

    Carter, I remember you talked about on one of your blogs that you were going to resubmit and app that was underperforming. How were the results of that process?

  • Zulfiqar Syed February 27, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    I think we have some thing missing in this AWESOME article.

    First, I think, we should identify the KEYWORDS that would help in RANKING the game in the app store.

    Then, we should look into APPTOPIA on how to buy/license the game.

    Can you further elaborate on that? If I just buy an game in apptopia, reskin, and push it at AppStore, I am not sure if I will be able to make profit.

    Please elaborate. Thanks.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 27, 2013

    Hey Zulfiqar,

    Well, I’m not sure what you mean. Steps 3 and 4 are exactly how you add value to a code base. That’s where the ROI happens. You choose a theme that has volume and then select keywords around that, then publish accordingly.

    Does that help?


  • Mike February 27, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Here is the big question. Should I wait to see if you make a course or should I go forward with someone else. Of course, I would prefer to see what you have.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 28, 2013

    Haha, well as my uncle says, “Life is not an ‘or’ it’s an ‘and'” – my stuff should be coming out in a month or so (fingers crossed) and it will be killer, but I also know time is money so I can’t advise you one way or another.

    I’m the kind of person who learns best from actually doing stuff, so you may want to just get your hands on a game source code and go through the process once based on reading blogs. It might not be right or make you lots of $$, but you’ll learn a TON from doing it. Then when you take a course or whatever, you’ll get even more out of it because you can relate to it.

    Hope that helps.


  • David February 28, 2013

    Hello Carter,

    For your Lady Gaga Runner App… Did you contact Lady Gaga and provide authorization document to the reviewer?


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 28, 2013

    David – read the above comment responses I put. Answer is no.


  • Adam February 28, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Brilliant article and all steps seem thorough enough to have a quality App in the store.

    The challenge I’m facing is marketing. It’s one thing having RevMob and CB for monetization, but if people aren’t downloading or aware of your App, you’re never going to make any money.

    I find it hard to believe you solely rely on ‘Step 4: Publishing’ to generate all your sales and drive traffic to the Apps?

    There is plenty of how to in regards to developing an App and monetizing it, however it seems the secret lies in how much successful App Developers such as yourself, Trey Smith and Chad Mureta spend on marketing to grow awareness.

    When we launched our first App, we put minimal money aside from marketing as all readings suggest that sales happen by contacting bloggers etc and most of them review for free.

    This just isn’t the case as it’s near impossible to get free reviews and I’m sure you successful guys are making the big bucks because you spend thousands on marketing but won’t release the secrets as to what avenues you are using?!

    By no means is this an attack, I’m just intrigued to find the secret marketing blueprint that isn’t outlined anywhere!



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 28, 2013

    Hey Adam,

    I understand what you’re saying. The truth of the matter is, over the last year I think I’ve spent about $600 on paid installs total. Most of it was for my Jolly Journey game during Xmas. I can assure you that what I lay out here is 100% true and what I do. Having talked to Chad and a handful of other people, it’s the same story.

    With larger apps, yes – there is a user acquisition strategy. But for games such as these described above, it’s always set it and forget it.

    Please also realize that for every app that does really well, there are apps that totally suck. I’ve done the exact process for so many apps and seen some that take off and some that flop. That’s the reason why volume is so important. It’s really hard to rely on one or two apps to make you money unless they’re good enough to buy traffic for.

    Hope that sheds some light on it.


  • John March 2, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    I have tried to reach you by email about your casino app but I am afraid it got caught in the undesired box.
    Can you please confirm that you got it?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 2, 2013

    I did. I responded and the email was kicked back for some reason.

  • John March 3, 2013

    Carter, sorry about that and I have to contact my mail provider now..
    That would be very nice if you could please send me a copy of your reply to the mail address that I use to write this comment.
    Thank you.

  • Zulfiqar Syed March 3, 2013

    Hi Carter, Thanks for great article.

    I have been shopping around and I could possibly license a runner game similar to baby tiger run for around $200. But this license allows me to only skin it once. After I license, I would pay another $300 to graphics designer to build assets so I could re-skin. So my cost is around $600 out the door.
    But the problem is.. that games category with keywords like “game”, “run” etc. is SO CROWDED (3200 GAMES) that my app has no chance to rank enough higher to get downloads to be able to recover my initial investment of $600.

    Does that make sense? I would love to try out this method but I can just see that this method may not pay off. Am I over thinking too much? Stuck in analysis-paralysis?

    Please give me your feedback and I very much appreciate all your help. Thanks…

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 4, 2013


    Yeah, my initial reaction is that you are stuck in analysis-paralysis. There are hundreds of other people going into the uber-crowded market of games and they are making a ton of money. As this article states, it’s all about how many apps you can publish…NOT about making the perfect app.

    Put a ton of assets into a huge, lucrative market and you’re going to make money. Simple as that.

    What DOESN’T exist is some “secret” or any other snake oil people will sell you about “if you use these keywords” or “this is the BEST detail to fix.” Bottom line is profitability comes from working your ass off, making it happen, and repeating that as aggressively as possible. Look at what I talk about above – top level, business model type stuff, not nit picky details. Creating many apps is just as much about making ROI positive assets as it is forcing yourself into an education that’s set at hyper speed.

    There is absolutely no reason why anyone can’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of months using the system I lay out above – the difference is the people who actually do it vs the people who think about how they should start doing it.

    Good luck man!


  • Yosef Salama March 5, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Thank you for this great blog! Not much to add to all the good words that have already been said above… Only that I saw your post “Money” and found it really striking, and even more inspiring than your posts here. It seems you wrote it just before starting your app business? I tried to comment, suscribe and for some reason it wont let me. Just wanted to let you know that I loved it and I am sure more people would love to read your thoughts on a broader subject :)

    Now… Let´s go for it! Sex, Apps and Rock´n´Roll!!!

    All the best,


  • Jim March 6, 2013

    “There is absolutely no reason why anyone can’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of months using the system I lay out above – the difference is the people who actually do it vs the people who think about how they should start doing it.”

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of months? That would mean a huge volume of these simple games, therefore a pretty big team of developers and designers, wouldn’t it?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 6, 2013

    Yes, exactly. There are thousands of contractors waiting for that kind of work all over the world.

    Good luck.


  • John March 6, 2013

    Sounds like a great plan. I’m laying the groundwork for it this week, doing market researc and familiarizing myself with all the different tools. I have a good day job right now, so my plan is to do this part-time to test it out, then scale up and quit my job if it works out. A few questions:

    1. RevMob seems to have banner ads now. Why do you recommend using other banner ad systems rather than RevMob? Redundancy?

    2. How did you find out who the top RevMob advertisers were? I can’t find that in the RevMob interface anywhere, nor off a Google search.

    3. How long does uploading to the app store typically take (once you’ve done it a few times and learned how it works)?

    4. Is this simple enough to hire an individual developer for, or do you still need a separate programmer and graphic designer? Also I assume you have to hire from developing countries and be really cost-sensitive to keep this model profitable?

    It’s a lot of questions, I know. I appreciate the feedback- I’m going to start development on my first batch of re-skins before the end of this month.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 6, 2013

    Hey John,

    1. I haven’t used their banners because it’s pretty in-your-face about Free Games. Sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and vary the messaging. Seems less abrasive (hard to believe, ha).

    2. I asked them.

    3. If my dev team sent me a basic game that they re-skinned, one that I had worked with before, I could get it uploaded and ready to rock in under an hour no problem.

    4. It really all depends. If you can get a team of people, but you only deal with a project manager, that’s the best.

    5. No problem. Happy to help!


  • Ravi March 7, 2013

    Hi, Carter thanks for this wonderful article.

    i have one question. You are talking about monetizing apps here but there is other way you can make money like selling your game or bundling in app purchases those are necessary to complete the game. can you share your experience with in app purchases and selling games?

    There is games out there like Dead Trigger which relies heavily on in app purchases to complete the game and people download it and play it and also take in app purchases.

    i am thinking of porting my game Paradise Defense to android which i think may have good potential of making money using in app purchases rather than monetization.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 7, 2013

    Hey Ravi,

    Yeah, that’s a big question. In-app purchases and Paid downloads definitely work, but require much more complicated games to go ROI positive. In all of my games (except the games I’m doing now), advertisements outperformed in-apps and paid downloads almost 8 to 1 in terms of revenue.

    This model is much more about volume and monetizing volume. In-apps can work really well, but you need to have awesome retention. That’s hard to do unless you have a great game.

    Good luck to you!


  • John March 8, 2013

    Actually, one other question. I signed up for the individual developer account, not the company one. Is that going to work if I’m hiring developers, or do I need the company account so I can have my developers/technical assistant do part of the uploading process for me?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 9, 2013

    Hey John,

    An individual account is no problem at all – it’s mostly for tax reasons. You’re good to go.

  • Laura March 11, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    I found your blog packed with great info, thank you!

    But could you please clarify more on the following questions of mine?

    1) Is this app business module newbie friendly or non-technical guys friendly? I purchased a certain game source code written by Corona and now was told it only supports revmob. So how can I know before purchase that the soruce code supports Chartboost and other ads’ networks? Also as a people knows nothing about codes, how can I know the real value of a game app on Apptopia to ovoid being ripped-off?

    2) Re your suggestion of “Find the top advertisers on the networks you’re using and cater to them”, how do I find this out?

    Thank you very much in advance!


  • Fred March 20, 2013

    I have been reading your article, which is very good, but it does raise one question. Are you re-doing all those graphics by yourself or are you paying someone to update them? If you do pay someone, what can you expect to pay generally for the whole thing?


  • Erik March 22, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    First of all let me say that you are a big inspiration and have definitely given me the push that I needed to start in the app development business. First app is on the way (long live global outsourcing) and I also like your ideas on reskinning existing apps. I don’t want to steal all you secrets but any suggestions on graphic designers that are good at designs for games and cost efficient (I am just starting so we need to look at every euro in our corner of the world..).

    Thanks man and greetings from the other side of the Atlantic

    The Netherlands

  • John March 27, 2013

    Bought my first game on Apptopia. Going through Elaine’s Xcode tutorial while I wait for the guy to send me all the files. Just wondering, do you still recommend price cycling between paid and free every so often? And if so, should I release apps as paid then drop them to free later that day, or release them as free and price cycle later on?

  • Adam A. March 29, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Great post and awesome website. I have previously been reading and learning from Chad Mureta, but your information is just as insightful and enjoyable to read.

    After reading through this post and looking at some of your screenshots, a questions popped into my head that I had been thinking about for a long time now.

    It has to do with copyrights, trademarks, etc. I see you have a couple pictures above called “Rhianna Run” and “Kim Kardashian Run” and I also see a lot of apps in the store dealing with Gangnam Style.

    What are the guidelines and stipulations to use other peoples names, song titles, etc for an app? It would seem to me that those apps would be denied by Apple due to infringing on trademarks and copyrighting…

    I read one of your other posts dealing with Chartboost on iPhone vs Android. You had mentioned about the Justin Beiber game you created and submitted to both, and had also mentioned that you couldn’t name the iPhone app the same as the Android app because Apple wouldn’t let you have Justin Beibers name.

    How does the Rhianna Run, Kim Kardashian Run, and all of the Gangnam Style apps in the store get approved?


  • Rob April 9, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    What were your profits on the sale? And why, if things were going so well, would you sell at all? $200K before taxes isn’t really all that much. You’re certainly not retiring on that and it’s barely more than what a developer makes in a year. Why wouldn’t you just continue to let the portfolio run in perpetuity? You seem like a smart guy, so why sell so low for something that’s making a decent recurring income?



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 9, 2013

    Think of it this way – imagine you are making $75K at your job. You’re doing a really great job, but have a lot of awesome ideas and opportunities outside of work. Would you leave it?

    A lot of people would think a $75K salary is amazing. It is, honestly. But not when you want to make $1M a year…and definitely not when you know HOW to make $1M a year.

    The difference is that I am looking to make $30-50 million dollars in the next 5 years. I can’t do that with that existing portfolio. Similarly, the experience I got from selling a company is worth it’s weight in gold.

    So my options were:

    1. Keep the portfolio – continue to spend all my time on it, and watch it grow every month to make $50-100K each month, re-investing in more and more games, and eventually hiring people to manage it. I would work 40-50 hours a week building it bigger and bigger. The only way to get extremely rich would be to have about 5,000 apps or something. Imagine managing 5000 apps?

    2. Sell it – get the experience of working with multi-millionaires, get a bunch of cash, and focus on building something that’s going to make $1M-2M a month.

    This is step 2 of 5 to becoming extremely rich, basically.

    Hope that helps.


  • Rob April 10, 2013

    Thanks, Carter, got it. Are you getting mentorship or something similar from the buyer? That sounds like a great opportunity.


  • Kayvee April 11, 2013

    Hi Carter

    I want to thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge on building a profitable app business

    I have a question I hope you can answer for me

    How much does it cost on average to have an app made via the “re-skinning code” method?

    I read above that you gave a figure of $600

    Is that typical?

  • Will April 12, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Thanks for this great article and all of the info you provide on this website. I’d like to reskin my first app, and I plan on using the RichForest team you recommended for this process. Would they be a good match? When using Elance, do you prefer to pay for this sort of project by the hour or as a set price? Also, do you recommend letting them make changes like adding ads in the places I ask, or should I learn how to do it myself?


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 12, 2013


    Yeah, they’re great. They did all my reskin stuff. I pay by a set price, always. Just makes it easier for everyone involved.

    I’d ask them to do it, then you should go into the code after the fact and see how they did it to learn. It will save you time and you can learn on your own while the master code gets uploaded.

    Good luck!


  • Will April 15, 2013

    Thanks so much Carter! I learned how to implement ads from Elaine’s online course. Thanks for linking to her site!


  • Will April 15, 2013


    One more question. I’m using the Avalanche Mountain source code, and Brian said he will be updating it for iPhone 5 soon. Will I need all of the current size graphics anyway in order for the app to work on iPhone 4/4s? I’d like to get in touch with RichForest as soon as possible, but I want to know everything I need from them first. I’m guessing I’ll only really need them to redesign certain background elements for the big screen. What do you think?


  • Chris April 16, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Thanks for all the tips! I just had one quick question. This is my first time creating an app and I currently only have the source code. Do you recommend hiring a graphic designer and giving them the templates in order to properly finish the app? The reason I’m asking this is because I have looked at many app developers portfolios on Elance/oDesk and I’m just not very satisfied with the graphic design.

    Thank you,

  • Joe Monaghan April 18, 2013

    Great article Carter, Im gonna give this a go myself. You guys in the states have it all worked out. Im from Ireland and know one seems to talk about this type of stuff. I was telling your story to a couple of guys and they thought I was nuts. Here Goes!!!!

  • John April 19, 2013

    I’m on Odesk and not getting that many responses. Thinking about checking out eLance or Freelancer. Do you have any strong preference between the three?

  • Elaine Heney April 23, 2013

    Joe – there are one or two people in Ireland who may have reskinned an app in their life :)

  • Mark May 7, 2013

    Hi Carter

    How long would you expect an app to be developed given that the developer has a code the code and the designer needs to generate a design? 2 weeks?


  • Rick May 10, 2013

    Android source code?

  • Kyle Ransom May 16, 2013

    what is the intial investment to buy the source code and reskin the app?


  • Jerry May 18, 2013

    Anybody know where Carter talks about using the RichForest team? I would like to read it for reference. Thanks.

  • Mr. T June 1, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    I stumbled upon your website by accident. I read your blog post and I am interested in the app business. I am completely new to this concept, but what does “re-skin” an app mean? I understand you buy the source code, however, I’m not quite sure what you mean when you mention app flipping or re-skinning.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Phil June 5, 2013

    Interesting article and in theory it can work but there are some issues which stop making it as easy at sounds.

    First is as someone has mentioned copyright, I’m not a lawyer but I would of thought if any of the people who are featured in these games ever get wind of these games then they might want these games pulled, and there goes your revenue stream, does your business plan work with games that don’t feature celebrities?

    2nd is production and specifically the graphics. It’s easy to code simple games, I can code these simple games myself in 2/3 weeks no problem but the graphics take time, and time = money. Graphic artists are not stupid they know their worth and charge accordingly, even if you outsource to a far away place it’s still going to cost $200-$300 for decent graphics for even a relatively simple game. If you buy the source code for $600? that’s $800-$900 and then add on your own time or a coders (because re-skinning games is not always straightforward) and you are up to the $1200 you mentioned. 3rd, there are 1000’s of low quality games on the app store that get no downloads and make no money. The most important aspect of the app store is promotion not so much the game itself, but I see little point in spending money or time trying to push a low quality game.

    I don’t want to be a party pooper, I’m all for great ways to make money, but equally it’s important that people know just how hard it is to make money from apps/games on these stores. In theory it can work, but you have to figure out a way to a) get graphics for your games at a low price (almost impossible) b) have money to promote or have an already established network to push your games c) get code at a low price and lastly be able to do it with games that don’t feature any kind of copy-written material.

    If you can answer positively to the above then yeah it’s worth giving this approach a go.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas June 6, 2013

    Hey Phil,

    Well, here are my responses.

    1. Gangnam put up a little fight, but no one else did. If you were running a $600M celebrity brand, would you give a shit about some stupid racing game? I doubt it. I’m not saying that celebrity apps are the only way to do it either, I’m just saying that’s part of what I did. I also did small animals, photo apps, fighter jets, and others.

    2. You might be able to code games and not be able to design, but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t. I can design 10x faster than I can code. Someone else might be different. Not sure where you are getting those numbers. I also think that if you are spending $600 on a source code it should be pretty awesome, enough to make back $1200 in it’s lifetime very easily. Take a look at my Surf Slots source code on this website – there’s an example of a super cheap code that costs almost nothing to reskin and makes money. You make it seem like there is no other option when it sounds like you just haven’t looked hard enough.

    3. If you think getting graphics for super cheap is “almost impossible” and you need money to promote games, I’m telling you that you don’t. I NEVER spend money promoting small games and they still make money. Get someone on to make you an icon and screenshots, buy a code for $75, and spend a few hours researching the market for theme and keywords. Buy some stock photos or use clip art. If you can’t make that $200 back in the next 6 months then I would say you’re probably not cut out for the app market or marketing in general.


  • Phil June 7, 2013

    Well I appreciate all the information you are posting on this site, it’s certainly hard to find hard numbers on this kind of stuff anywhere else. I’m taking a somewhat different approach which is to spend time working on a high quality CoC F2P style game, I wonder what the source code of that kind of game would be worth! :)

  • Jim June 12, 2013

    Another great way to make money online is to take paid surveys.There are a lot of companies that pay you to share your opinion.You simply answer questions about their products and services, and they pay you.A lot of people think that all paid surveys are scams.Actually that is not right.If you want to find quality and legitimate survey sites and start making money today, follow my tips.1)Join ONLY legitimate and free survey sites.You can find them on Google, but DON’T type broad keywords like “surveys”, or “paid surveys”.Instead, try something more specific, like “paid surveys with free registration” or “how to find legitimate surveys for money”.That way you will find better results.2)NEVER share your credit card information or your SSN.3)Try to find more information about the survey companies you plan to join by typing “YourSurveyCompanyName” + scams, forums, review.That way you will find more information about every site, you are interested in.4)Join several free survey companies.That way you will make more money.Hope that helps.

  • murray gracey June 14, 2013

    Hi Carter

    Everybody talks about making money with apps, do you really think and be very honest with me that it is that easy to make money with apps today considering there are so many out there

  • dfred June 23, 2013

    hi carter,
    i have one question,
    could you give us a link or something which will help us to re-skinned the apps.. because me i don’t have any idea about how to do it. i found your post really logic and reasonable. i really like it. now i need the tools to reach the money. i can do the routine 1000 a day just to have few buck to pay my rent and eat peacefully my subway. i really need your help

  • Pat June 24, 2013

    I have to express my appreciation to you Carter. There are so many bogus sites online claiming to show people the process of monetizing apps effectively. My research so far indicates that your method and explanations are viable.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas June 24, 2013

    @Dfred – working on something for you. Stay tuned!

  • Matthew July 10, 2013

    I read this article dozens of times today so I would completely understand and get what youre trying to say here. I have to say, I LOVE what you wrote and said here. This is completely brilliant. The only thing I need help with is how to do it, lol. When I look on apptopia all I see is apps that are thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars and you say go buy a code for 75$. Where can I even find a code for 75$? Doesn’t have to be $75 just not hundreds of thousands of dollars LOL. Also, when I buy a code couldn’t I just use the same code and pull out a bunch of games? Please get back to me asap! thanks so much !!!

  • Karen July 11, 2013

    I agree with dFred. Interested in reskinning but what’s next? I’d love to see the actual process of reskinning.

  • Presley July 12, 2013

    You Would love this is free and to the point

  • amalia July 15, 2013

    Hi I started to trade binary options with special app that copy trades from professional traders to my account . I don’t have time to trade or experience as I work in other job and in the past few weeks it works well. I started with 500$ and it makes me 25-50$ a day so you should check it out : Hope I can help

  • amalia July 16, 2013

    Awesome article. Thanks a lot for sharing with us this. I recently discovered an app and it’s amazing. You want to find out more info you should check this out. Hope I can help you change your life. Good luck! 😉

  • Matt July 17, 2013

    So many questions for you but my most important concern is that I am IT literate but not X-Code literate at all or much coding for that matter I mean I can do the very basics in Objective C. How X-Code literate were you when you started and how do you recommend I pick it up, while going through? Taking a separate course my original plan was to look at the code outsource some coding like building in adverts and then see what they did to do it and then learn how to do it myself. If this is a bad idea can you please tell me and what would be a massive help is if you could point me in the way of someone who could get me up to speed with making small changes and integrating adverts etc… E.G. to where I need to be or to where you are now


  • Chadwick Wilson July 18, 2013

    Would you build me an app or apps for a fee?

  • Lori August 1, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Congratulations on your success with this. It’s really an amazing concept you came up with.

    I was trying to learn more about creating an app and stumbled upon your article.

    A couple questions – First, do you feel there is any sort of market for non-gaming apps?

    Second can anyone get into this? Do I need a computer or technological background?

    I am really intrigued and would love to hear back from you.


  • Guillaume C August 7, 2013

    So sad i cant use Chartboost and Mopub with titanium appcelerator… :'(

  • Jason August 8, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    Apologies for asking this question but I can’t seem to find an answer on your site. I am looking to buy some card paying code but my developer friends have said that the source code on your site is Xcode only and they don’t have MACs to use for coding. Is this the case and if so, are the game available in another language? Apologies, I am new to the coding scene.

  • Anvith August 9, 2013

    Nice article..

  • BenL. August 14, 2013

    Carter, this a great blog :) I’m completely new to the app game, and I want to be where you are at now. Can you recommend anything for this greeny?? p.s. I have never made an app before.

  • Roy Perez August 16, 2013

    Hello Carter,
    I’m 20 years old and a full-time college student. However I do not have a job, and would like to make some money via the app industry. I have a total of $1500 dollars to my name. Is there any specific advise you could give me to turn this into a feasible income?


  • Marc Murphy August 19, 2013

    Hmm, this advice no doubt works but it’s not exactly inspiring creative or high-quality apps. I do have to admire the up-front, pragmatism expressed in the article: “DO NOT try to build something from scratch. I say again – this is not about pride or being a revolutionary. This is not about your idea being great. This is about making money. ” Nice.

    Before paying any serious cash for an app it’s wise to understand what a jungle it is out there. Here’s my take on how much apps make (most do not do well at all) and the right way to monetize them:

    Games are the best money-making platform in the app world. Then again, you might be able to make an app will millions of users and sell it for a cool billion.

  • Pierre August 22, 2013

    Hey, thanks for your motivation, I like the idea but im still a little confused. can you please clarify. So im gonna look to see what games are popular but then i have to go buy a code from a different game and try to correct the popular games errors, how can i improve one with the coding of a different game. Am i thinking the wrong thing? i Have a lot to learn, I WILL LEARN NO matter what!! Thanks

  • Derek September 5, 2013

    It may help future readers if you put dates on your post! I have no idea when this was posted, or if it even applies today!

  • Yakubu Olawale September 30, 2013

    Hi, hope you got my message on Linkedin, i need an app expert to partner with on a product i’m developing for the telecommunication sector.

  • Jimmy J. October 1, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    You say “This is step 2 of 5 to becoming extremely rich, basically.”. I like that you approach things methodically because this is what I found basically gets things done. As I want myself to get extremely rich, I’m curious what are the other 3 steps? I hope my question does not come across as silly; or you could reply privately to my email address if that’s OK with you.

  • Martin October 2, 2013

    Wait what? You or the ones you know make $50k or more per month with it? With how many games out?

    P.S. Wow!

  • Brt October 2, 2013

    So you make >50K a month and you sell your portfolio for 200K? sorry that’s not a really credible story …

  • A REAL designer October 3, 2013

    You’re a shady piece of no-talent shit. You should know that.

  • Naim Shaikh October 4, 2013

    Very inspirational. I’m reluctant to sell my technology niche website Any ideas from you guys?

  • A concerned individual October 4, 2013

    I agree with the guy two comments above me. You are a slimy hack and you should be ashamed of how you milk this garbage.

  • Paddy October 4, 2013

    People like you make Hitler seem like a decent guy.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas October 4, 2013

    Sigh. Haters gonna hate. Funny thing is the apps I make are probably better than half the shit most indie developers spend months of their lives on…then go broke.

  • Muller October 5, 2013

    Carter. Your honesty in your blog post is just amazing. Keep up the good work.

  • tojefuk October 5, 2013

    Carter Thomas: “You are my hero” :-) (almost) thats a bussines approach! I dont understand the poor other guys throwing sh*t on you. I find nice that you shared this insight info, i wouldnt probably :-). Good work.

  • Pixel Perfectionist October 13, 2013

    Hey Guys. Sorry I’ve posted to couple times on this site but wanted to let the new reskinners know that I design beautiful games, characters, screenshots, icons, logos, etc. I’m an expert with reskinning. I know exactly what stands out from that crowded app marketplace. Simply tell me which game you would like reskinned and what type of theme/character you are interested in for your game. All final design will be delivered to you SLICED (same image name and image size) and in exact folders as the original Resources folder. You would simply send those to your developer or reskin yourself if you’re a developer. That’s it! Contact me for any questions or to get started

  • Jeff October 15, 2013

    A lot of my students struggled with using RevMob and Chartboost because the software they were using to make games didn’t let them embed 3rd party SDK / code like RevMob or Chartboost so I showed them how to create their own Affiliate revenue stream. It is easy, you just set up an affiliate account with an ad partner, choose which game or app you want to promote, download the creatives (banner & full page ads), place and stack those ads in your game towards the beginning like Carter mentioned. Here is a quick video of how we use it.

  • Me October 16, 2013

    I personally do not see the problem with what Carter is doing. This is business. And there is an audience out there that wants it.

    So if he is successful at this, then more power to him.

  • Chris October 17, 2013

    Umm, pretty sure Rihanna’s, GaGa’s and the others’ image rights managers and lawyers, plus the Dancing for the Stars producers will be tearing down your apps pretty quickly. Also, anyone reading the reviews for these “games” would never download them.

  • Anonymous October 22, 2013

    Sorry Carter, but I am allergic to BS. First of all, this is not impressive, because whoever bought your portfolio is mentally insane. Second, if it was this easy, how come everyone isnt doing it? I appreciate your straight-forward thinking, but I pray for the idiots actually listening to you.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas October 22, 2013

    @Anonymous – Thanks for staying anonymous.

  • Matt Courchesne October 23, 2013


    I can’t believe the hate man! You’ve helped a LOT of people change their lives. Keep inspiring those who aren’t afraid to take action!!


  • Aurelie November 9, 2013

    its a man eat man world.. man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. grow up you idiots. keep it up carter! X

  • Andrew K November 10, 2013

    “its a man eat man world.. man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”

    True, Carter is a successful business man, but only with the proviso that Aurelie so aptly captured above. So go ahead Carter and be successful in your own way, just make sure you get the hell out of dodge before capitalism collapses on itself.

  • Wajuniorgames November 10, 2013

    Hi Carter I am a developer from brazil working already 5 years developing games and software for companies. I work with both android and ios, also PC and Mac too.I am tracking your posts about monetizing games since day one.I really like to ask you something throught email, as a huge fan from your vision i need a little help about getting fast revenue here.I am finishing my new game and liked to use both revmob and chartboost with Iad too.As i am working really hard in months i have´t updated my facebook or twitter page. As a developer i know how hard it is to develop nice games and get nothing in return just for the passion.Please I ask you to contact me so i can ask you a question.THX for your visions and grettings from Brazil ^^

  • vlad November 12, 2013

    You won’t need to choose whether your app should be native or HTML5 as there’re lots of cloud-based services which allow making a single app that’s distributed to all major platforms such as iOS,Android and HTML5. I’m using Snappii service currently because they offer great features that can be implemented even without coding

  • Frank November 13, 2013

    I get how the apps are being made & reskinned, but how are you marketing these apps? How is it not lost with the 1000’s of other apps in the app store? Are you purely relying on ASO?

  • Bridgett November 13, 2013

    Great tips and advice, thanks a lot!

  • vlad November 18, 2013

    Different web services can offer a great number of various apps which can be used in the field one needs. For my apps I used Snappii web service and truthly speaking I got pleasure. Did anybody have the similar experience? Unfortunately I’m not a programmer and find such services a real and probably a single low cost possibility how to make an iPhone app.

  • Muller November 19, 2013

    @Frank “Are you purely relying on ASO?” Yes. That’s what Carter always says in interviews

  • Leo November 27, 2013

    here is an article with 7 models of app monetization

  • Naim Shaikh December 2, 2013

    Nice inputs!
    Carter, can you write something on Affiliate marketing? Specially on Amazon affiliates? I’ve setup an affiliate site and want to know how I can make it a HIT. Any suggestion is welcomed!!

  • Ayush Gour December 12, 2013

    I appreciate the energy of the idea. Thank you Carter, thank you very much indeed, nice article.

  • Austin Gibbons December 15, 2013

    There must be a balance between just flooding useless apps out there, and actually making decent apps. I am not saying this is a bad idea, and hey! if he enjoys it, and he is successful at it there is no need to bag on what he does! But personally I like to know I made the money by creating something of my own. I would rather be poor, and doing what I love, than be forced to do something I don’t enjoy, and be filthy rich.

  • Josh Kocaurek January 14, 2014

    Hey Carter,

    I just took your advice and finished my first app reskin called dental diamonds!

    There was definitely a lot of roadblocks and it ended up taking longer than I originally expected but its was definitely worth it. I learned a lot through this project and am excited to start my next one ASAP

    heres the link:

    lemme know what you think!

    Thanks for inspiring me and keep up the good work!

  • Wilfred January 14, 2014

    Hey Carter,

    What kind of people buy app portfolios? Why do they need app portfolios?

  • theobromine January 17, 2014

    App portofolionists do

  • Ehsan January 26, 2014

    @Carter, you did it and you did a great job. This is what every businessman should do. I like your churn and burn strategy.

  • Patrick January 27, 2014

    Interesting concept about reskinning Apps Carter.

    I have started my own app journey and am making a blog about my progress after buying a number of source codes from you and other websites.

  • jeff February 5, 2014

    what a douche

  • WelshPixie February 5, 2014

    “Sigh. Haters gonna hate. Funny thing is the apps I make are probably better than half the shit most indie developers spend months of their lives on…then go broke.”

    Difference is, you don’t make them, do you? You just regurgitate the hard work others have done before you. I pity you; it must be terrible living life without creativity; without the ability to dream, to imagine. What a sad and unfulfilled life you must lead.

  • Your Friendly Nieghbourhood Batman February 5, 2014

    This a laughable con to get people to buy his app codes by first pitching them dreams of fame and fortune. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet people. Good try though mate, I’m sure you got a few hooks based on most of the comments here.

  • NotaName February 5, 2014

    People like you are the reason why the mobile games market is so shitty. I am pretty sure the developers of the new Dungeon Keeper game would love to have you on their team.

  • Heph February 5, 2014

    You must really feel great about yourself when you tell other people you made a mini-fortune from ripping off other people’s work. Good business, sure? Bad ethics, you bet. You’re a schmuck and should feel like a schmuck.

  • BobDobbs February 5, 2014

    To anyone who comes here thinking that giving this scam artist money is the way to riches:

    The promises he makes are, like the apps he makes, likely nothing but worthless shells.

    Firstly, look at the apps on the app store, read the reviews — there are positive 5 star reviews (with some 4’s thrown in for “natural” results) that are obviously paid and there are usually an equal number of single star reviews that come much later in the process that show the true nature of the apps. In all likelihood the positive reviews were paid for (probably part of a larger download payment process, wherein his company pays for enough downloads and positive reviews so the app gets on an app store list, where his actual target, the unsuspecting consumer, will hopefully download his worthless “game”). The comments on this website are likely of the same source — paid shills. So, don’t trust overly-positive reviews of his apps, his service, or his results.

    Secondly, before you or your company invest in some of the crapware that is being sold here, know a few things —
    1) You will have to be able to make morally ambiguous decisions. Be prepared to invest more money in fake reviews and downloads to achieve these results. If you are unsure that you want to scam people into downloading a worthless app and immediately deleting it after your popup storm, don’t spend a dime. If you aren’t ready to change business names (don’t do this under your own name) and attempt to stay one step ahead of lawyers and ban hammers, don’t spend a dime.
    2) Be aware that you are dealing with a scam artist, and you are the mark. He will likely attempt to flash his “wealth” when you meet him, you will speak to his “employees”, and everything he says will seem on the up-and-up. This is all an act, as he may very well make $50k a month, but it is not just off the app store, but also off suckers like yourself. The more legit he seems, the more likely you’ll bite. Be aware of this fact
    3) Your new business model, the one he has laid out to you, also relies on the continued existence of ad networks and “app networks” that are also either shady or unstable. You will quickly find that they are mostly run out of places beyond the grasp of financial regulation and your lawyers. The ones that are in business long enough to pay you may not actually pay you. The ones that pay you may try to screw you. You are now either relying on ad revenue from them, or reselling the junk you just bought from this guy.
    4) You will have to repeat this process ad nauseum to maintain your business. This is not a “next big thing” way to make money. Millions may come your way, but you will have to continually pump out garbage instead of refine a good idea, find investors, and keep users. Be aware that the big companies whose app stores you are relying on (or attaching to like a cancerous polyp) are fickle and don’t like their good names sullied — which your worthless apps will certainly be doing. They may find ways to block you, your apps, and possibly your company (did I mention changing company names?) Be aware that your newfound business could be algorithmically erased from the app store at any time. Don’t rely on anything.

    Good luck!

  • Hurf February 5, 2014

    > Funny thing is the apps I make are probably better than half the shit most indie developers spend months of their lives on…then go broke.

    This is a shallow judgment that appears to be based on an incorrect idea about how success may be achieved. Ask a professional poker player, to get a pure view of this. You can speak expertly of your own experience, but you cannot ever know how much you really relied on luck. It’s impossible to know that. I mention professional poker because, in that business, a good player will generally need a conscious understanding of the fact that, in order to do a good job, they must NOT deliberately achieve success (i.e., winning money)–because that’s impossible, thanks to the luck of the draw. Instead, they must do something more abstract: Carefully and skillfully maximize the CHANCE of success. This can be done deliberately and consistently–and still, even if it is done perfectly, every game may end in loss. But if you maximize your chance of winning and then lose a lot, you’re still a better player, in a very important way, than a person who plays stupidly and then gets really lucky and wins anyway. And, obviously, you are MUCH better than a third person who simply never bothered to play at all and therefore knows nothing about the game.

    With respect to money, it obviously appears that you’re a better player than these indie developers are–a more skillful one, and a more winning one, both. With respect to quality, though, you set yourself up looking like that third person I mention above. You make garbage, which, yes, is better than some other, uglier garbage. But as a creator of potentially good work, you are far inferior to somebody who at least TRIED to make something good (and failed). They gave themselves a higher chance of succeeding at that type of creation than you did. Your chance was always approximately zero. Their chance might have been 5%, or 10%, or 50%, or anything else, depending on the quality of their idea, the extent of their skill, and the strength of their passion. You are nothing compared to many of those failures–in the quality game. It’s silly to even bring it up. Your article here is about business, not product quality. If you really only care about business, then you don’t need to be trash-talking anybody on quality, because quality is irrelevant to you. If you do in fact care about quality, then you’re in the wrong business… and, apparently, you don’t even know it.

  • //////////////d February 5, 2014

    i sincerely hope you get aids

  • fu February 5, 2014

    Greasy talentless scumbag.

  • Jess February 6, 2014

    I have a better idea – make a fun, unique, intuitive game with the player’s enjoyment in mind rather than the money you’ll make. I get it – you need to make money. But making shallow clones of games just so you can capitalise on them is wrong. You, and people like you, are the problem with the gaming market.

  • Edward February 6, 2014

    Oh boy, the phone game market is going to crash so hard!

  • Raoul February 6, 2014

    Unbelievable…glad that your site has been exposed for what it is…the irony is that if you click ‘Carter’s’ name on one of his responses, the first post that comes up is him condemning the Flappy Birds creator for supposedly using bots to increase the five star reviews of his game…calling the behavior ‘fishy’ and whatnot…like his entire business model isn’t…the ultimate in the pot calling the kettle black…I had hope for this industry at one point, not so sure anymore…unoriginal, uninspired, uncreative, unethical, inhuman, and immoral business practices…welcome to America, folks…I wish nothing but the absolute worst for your life in every possible way, because no one deserves it more…I may spit vitriol, but at least I’m not marketing it for some easy money…

  • Rob February 6, 2014

    You are kin to people selling get-rich-quick books on TV Infomercials at 4:00am.

    No, I take that back. Those people at least have a tiny modicum of talent.

    The chickens will come home to roost, Carter. Here’s to them roosting on your face you greaseball cocksucker.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 6, 2014

    @Everyone – thanks for all your spirited comments. I’d just request you read my other blog posts before you judge too harshly. Good luck to all of you.

  • Chunder February 6, 2014

    I generally agree with the negative comments.

    You are not making anything. You are not creative. You are stealing from real game developers.

    You and people like you will cause the mobile game market to crash.

  • LOL February 6, 2014

    ” Carter Thomas October 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm
    Sigh. Haters gonna hate. Funny thing is the apps I make are probably better than half the shit most indie developers spend months of their lives on…then go broke.”

    OH Wow! Thank You, you’re making the world a better place, really thank you.

  • Daniel February 6, 2014

    I got mixed feeling with the post. It’s inspirational in a not-so-good mannter. Teaches something about software reusing. It’s a remarkable “business” to find. I should look for analogies all around the world (probably less malicious). And there are programmers who may get value ($ or non-$) creating some skeleton code and non-programmers capable of making $ selling it.
    However, I understand you aim at dork teens. Somehow like selling drugs to kids. And that you cannot be too honest in this business (as in honest reviews as commented earlier). Jeez, this is the most revolving part.
    But, hey, in the end, you are just a domestic/donwscaled/cheapo version of Electronic Arts. So, best luck. Get as much as you can, invest in weapons, long-lasting food and hidden bunkers, and wait for the crash. And protect your children from people like you.

  • god February 7, 2014

    youre a bad person and I really hope you die slowly and painful

  • Sein oder Sollen February 8, 2014


    This is a great post in my book – and I’ve read a lot since 1992. The discussion/comment thread is equally interesting – some rather ‘deep’ knowledge can be inferred from it.

    And my professional perspective: as a business lawyer, I’m completely used to team & incremental efforts, procurement of half fabricates for further development and in general the adage ‘beter goed gejat dan slecht verzonnen’ – yep I’m Dutch.

    Writing that last line, I also remember the aha-moment when my father pointed out a painted steer in a Paris museum and asked me how original a painted steer can be… Have seen many since – and I ain’t never been to Texas, BOY 😉

  • Max February 9, 2014

    “Everyone I know who’s done this makes more money every month than they did the month prior. That’s all that matters. Every month has to be more than the last. Do that and you will make a lot of money :)”

    This article summarizes so much of what is wrong with capitalism.

  • JP February 9, 2014

    So glad I have adblocker on my browser whilst reading this. I don’t care how much money you’ve made out of this, you are creatively and ethically void and one of the reasons that the proper hardworking indie devs go bust – because there’s so many other corrupted people making a fast buck out of others’ hard work, flooding the app stores with copycat clones and burying the original content from the light of day.

    You are scum. I hope you lose all your misgotten gains in multiple lawsuits.

  • Nick March 1, 2014

    This article is deceptive. It sounds like apps being made by you are useless and of no value, to the advertisers or to the users. The market will eventually recognize this and a purge will happen.

    Apps should be developed with a purpose and with value. No doubt this aspects of making money is available, but eventually even the advertisers will know that they are wasting their advertising money and will not utilize such service.

  • Francine March 31, 2014

    great article! I don’t understand why there’s so much hating in all the comments. App flipping is a business just like any other business. No different then flipping condos.

  • kathy April 8, 2014

    Doesn’t apple tend to not approve apps that have been reskinned too many times? I’m reskinning one of my apps and I’m worried that if I do more than 3 reskins of this app that on the 4th I will get refused…they are all different graphics, sounds etc..but have some similar elements as they are part of a ‘brand’..and it’s my brand but still I’m concerned and I can’t get a straight answer from itunes about this. Please help.

  • Igor April 15, 2014

    An interesting article, and so very true about mobile stores nowadays. I’m (or WAS) an indie developer myself, lost maybe 1.5 years and thousands of dollars on a few projects which never earned much on mobile (didn’t even cover their costs). Until I finally found a type of apps which pays out and, just as the article’s author says, I keep pumping them out like hell. It’s all digital recycling. My only difference is that I am a programmer and write all the code myself (and do the publishing myself), so it all goes at a much slower pace, and the quality of my apps is much higher. Yet, in the end, it’s all just about ads, ads, and more ads.

    Thanks for the great article! I’ve certainly learnt something. So, I’ll use the lesson to increase my revenues. Basically, I need to speed up and care less for quality, prefer quantity instead because, well, my user don’t give a shit about quality. They need tons of crap.

    To all the haters: guys, I understand you completely. I hate what I have to do with all this “digital recycling” but it’s the market which dictates this. Who is playing mobile games anyway? I don’t play them myself. As a hardcore gamer with 20 years of playing experience and years of experience as game reviewer in specialized journals, I can’t stand the free-to-play model and don’t enjoy any of that “endless runner” crap or similar games. Still, there are millions of people playing that garbage. Who are they? Low-IQ kids? Their low-IQ moms? I don’t care really. If this ads-raping works for them and if their tastes are so low that they can endlessly swallow this garbage, why not make use of it and at least accumulate SOME money which you could later make use of in your other, serious projects. It’s still better than sitting in some shit company like Dilbert and “exercise in futility”.

    Where is the world going… Idiocracy as it is. And this new world has its new heroes like the article’s author.. At least give him credit for his good math skills and the entrepreneur’s drive. It’s not his fault that there are so many stupid people out there who play crap. He just adapted to it.

  • Jake April 26, 2014

    Very interesting read! I’m very interested in pursuing this, however the high initial outlay of costs is a little daunting for something I have never tried and may not be able to achieve, but I spouse if I scrounge the cash together one day I might feel comfortable to just take the plunge. I have one question though, how do you go about creating your new themes? What sort of software/websites/companies do you utilize to produce all the imagery required for new themes?


  • Haden May 9, 2014

    So much negativity. .. Thank you for your information even though I’m not making apps but I did get some good ideas on marketing. … I’ll get back to you when I’m a millionaire not that money means that much to me when I just really love what I do…filming!!! it doesn’t matter what I film but am happy if even one person enjoys it and if someone purchase from rites to advertising so be it. And there are apps that are just dedicated to selling on all platforms big and if some one decides to follow the above well great they are making a effort towards bigger things.

  • Justme May 12, 2014

    Good way to make money but like with everything it probably does not work any more since so many people now know about it. Reading about this guy, I would say most of the negative reviews here are by him :) He is using negativity to generate interest :)

  • Matt McCann June 5, 2014

    I am currently a soon to be sophomore in high school looking to start a new hobby (creating apps) and possibly make some cash doing so. Where do you recommend I start? Do you think I should start by trying to create something on xcode or…? I appreciate your time.

  • Asher June 12, 2014

    Good idea. Stupid people make creative people rich.

  • ronin June 20, 2014

    No matter what people say here. I thank you for taking the time to share some valuable help and experience. Agree or not Thanks.

  • LM June 26, 2014

    I can’t believe the losers who come here to criticize you for having a brain. Thank you for sharing. I’m amazed at liberal idiots turning this into a political arena to bad mouth capitalism when you are sharing your hard earned secrets with them, what are they sharing with you? They are sharing jealousy and hate. That is what people who are complete losers do, they claim some altruism and say that capitalism sucks and the 1% sucks but they expect handouts from those same 1% and they are never the ones to donate or help anyone with anything. The best is the people who say that apps are supposed to be developed for a purpose. Really? They wrote the universal app law? If I create an app that tell you to go f yourself then that immediately has a purpose. Anything that someone creates has a purpose, but these morons think only their purpose is a valid purpose. I thank you for your advice and for trying to help your fellow man to achieve what you achieved. Not only is your work totally ethical but your article shows true initiative and integrity, you are not forcing anyone to buy your apps, they download them at their own leisure and I applaud you for giving people what they want and making a profit on it. Great job.

  • Peter July 19, 2014

    Love this post. Great money making strategy in the short term.

    Since this post is written in 2013. Whats the best way to market the reskined games in 2014 and gain 100% roi in a month. I dont want to spend too much on marketing.

  • Gabriele July 23, 2014

    Guys, he wants money, he gets money, he is doing fine, i’m happy for him. What he does is lame, yes, i agree, and that is because he is a skilless person trying to carve his own way in this world. I don’t think he is wrong in trying to do that, and when you are untalented anything you do will be lame at most. And why all the hate? If you are trying to do great games mood up, shitty games and great games are not in the same market and don’t share the same customers, he is not a competitor of yours.

    That said, it seems to me this is a big commercial for his startup, so i doubt he really got half the success he advertised.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas July 24, 2014

    @Gabriele – Thanks for the comment. What makes a “great” game vs a “shitty” game?

  • Thompson July 25, 2014

    Thanks man, I’m inspired..

  • idan August 10, 2014

    Hi Carter! thanks for the great article.

    I have a question, why in your opinion people even sell their apps on apptopia for $200 if they claim the app is making so much money for them.

    I’m just trying to understand the way of thinking because I saw an app that I thought was worth while to buy but than again I thought “why is this person selling this?!”

  • collin August 16, 2014

    I just have a question or if you can give me a clear understanding because right now i am on the process of developing an app, so my question is how can i make money out of my app?

  • valery noah September 4, 2014

    So carter, i just purchase a source code on your website. Well i looked at my bank account and the money was taken. But , i still haven t receive the code!!!!!!!!!!! It ‘s been two days!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 5, 2014

    @Noah – thanks for your comment. I’m responding because we’ve have a few emails back and forth and you really wanted me to publish this comment so the world can see,. In your words: “you have to post my comment or i will make sure that other peoples see your true color.” Unfortunately, this may have not worked out well for you. After we went back and forth a few times on email it turns out:

    1. You received the dropbox links IMMEDIATELY after purchasing, you just didn’t realize it.
    2. After you sent an email to Jess, she ALSO sent you the links, you just missed them.
    3. You pointed out that you’re an electrical engineer with a double major in math + engineering so you definitely know what’s up…
    ….but then also said you wanted a refund because you were under the impression that: “that after the purchase of the code, you will help your customer with the reskinning. What i mean by that is like a free tutorial that show how to reskin. I know a little bit of c,java but i don t want to have a headache. I just want to change the pic, the d, the music like. you said.”

    4. So I gave you a full refund, even after you told me you would go buy immediately from a competitor if I did not provide the free tutorial you requested.

    In any event, good luck to you.


  • Jagjit Bhatia October 30, 2014

    To all idiots bashing Carter: Wow…..such harsh comments? This guy is offering you people GAME CHANGING and GENIUS advice, and this is how you repay him? By writing a crap ton of dirty comments? You guys should be ashamed of yourselves! Those of you that are saying that Carter is not creative are probably not creative yourselves. Or at least your not creative enough to realize that what he is doing IS creativity. It’s business man! Instead of a nice “thank you”, you guys are calling him things I wouldn’t even say as a JOKE to my friends…..this deserves a true facepalm.

    to Carter: Thanks a lot for sharing this advice! I am actually thinking of going into some app development as a small, high school job. It sure sounds like a lot of fun XD. Either way, keep up the great work!

  • David Morales November 2, 2014

    This is something interesting I didn’t knew about. I’m going to try this approach but I don’t have the money to invest in source code right now, though I know how to code, so I’ll be generating my own source code copying from some popular game apps.

    I really need to get out of the rat race and this seems the most profitable idea I have met so far.

    Thanks a lot for the info and ideas.

  • vinodh November 14, 2014

    I am a java developer for 15 years.
    trying to learn android apps making.
    I have no experience in gaming programming.
    Is it possible to publish gaming apps in anroid.
    any website from where I can learn gaming for android.

  • blanko November 16, 2014

    Thanks for the write up. Its very impressive

    Am a software engineering major from africa with a lot of passion for app development. I’ve always faced challenges getting into this app world due to the fact that am from africa and don’t have a credit card or bank account.Also, app developer accounts are not permitted in my country. Currently i have a windows pc so i can do android and windows apps but i don’t own a mac but can use a service like macincloud for ios temporarily till i get a mac.
    Any idea on how i can join the app business with this challengesWolf of Wallstreet

  • MARC December 3, 2014

    Interesting. well i willing to pay someone if they can teach me how to create app and how to make money of it. i willing to learn please contact me…

  • Ted March 6, 2015

    Alright, as an entrepreneur I feel as though you shouldn’t just stick to games. Yes, you made a nice percentage profit. However, where’s the real money in games? 200k, well, I guess I would maybe let you buy the RM off my wrist for that. I have my team working on an app based around the stock market. That could potentially change how day trading is performed. Congrats of course, I just don’t believe games is where you’re going to get the fortunes that everyone dreams of. For everyone else, I’ve personally made my fortunes. Start today ! Because guess what, tomorrow you’ll wish you had started today. F@#k what anyone has to say about your ideas, if you think its great put your heart into it. The first programmer I hired told me my idea was absolutely impossible and not feasible what so ever. Ironic because in his email he had his signature set as some Steve Jobs inspiration/innovation quote saying to push the boundaries. Haha, if I had listened to that jerk off, I would probably have a real job right now. NEVER BECOME DISCOURAGED! & always push the limits of everything around you, that’s how innovation prevails.

  • Scott March 10, 2015

    Looking for help making an app for scoring baseball, football, etc for youth sports

  • Glitch Krackhead March 16, 2015

    Thanks for your article and advice. I found it to be informative and helpful. I get that not everyone sees or agrees with what your saying, however I don’t agree with them. Most of us develop our games for free in hopes of good ad revenue in return. This is a good form of capitalism, to think one wants to work for free is absurd and insulting to suggest it. My point is don’t let these haters think your article is unworthy of merit or respects. Thank you again and I’m look forward to reading the free ebooks.

  • Peter pottinger April 14, 2015

    You’re in the wrong business pal, you’ll make 1000x more selling coke and mdma to kids.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 14, 2015

    @Peter – thanks for the feedback! Sounds like you know what you’re doing. Is that what is (from your email address)? You must be killing it on the deep web, sorry to hear about the Silk Road.

  • Ninchaokin May 2, 2015

    Year old article zing!

  • djsinging May 2, 2015

    Thanks carter nice informative and pointer to the right direction.
    Everyone wants to make the fast buck in the current latest trend. Whats the harm in spending the money, time and effort in following your steps.

    //Comments directed to you end here – PS:Programmers will be Programmers :)
    This is hilarious!!!
    GODs comment — was the worst
    ‘Vinodh’ the most hilarious – dude read the blog from the start once again. What do you need a electric shock or a USB stuck up ur nose to suck up info??? (dont exemplify what 80% of indians are doing, BEING IGNORANT) The informed lot made rich or moved to another continent 😉

    Looks guys – carters not a preaching nor are any of the negative comment writers moral judges.

    Screw you if your moral fiber is the size of mount Everest. Who do you think will be laughing their way to hell ones who slogged away to a life of nothingness, or the ones who drove gas guzzlers and helped others circulate and make rich with the ‘so called problem with capitalism’.

    keep your religion and moral commitments out of how you meet your needs – what would you call the mafioso? How many of you haven’t played gambling games / strip poker – how is that justified?

    Digital Recycling – as one above said – is perfect, im wasted and failure at software engineering 3 years gone, project manager 3 years gone, export/import manager-3 years gone. Now back to working as a developer just to avoid being bankrupt. Well i have 10 years of experience and I report to a 8 years younger fresh college pass out?
    Irony – NO – Stupidity – YES, I concentrated on the WHAT to do right and not the HOW to do it right

    Dude i cant even write my own latest responsive website – cuz i got outdated with the pace of things in tech going up.
    After going through things like – Cobol, Extjs, jquery, Jsp, Java, JS, Php, the current html5 trending .js , Oracle, MySQL and the bouquet never ends – i realized the only reason i was a developer in my company and my boss the boss was because he spent his college years writing app designs in EXCEL which he hired developers to make instead of pouring his head in books for passing exams with distinction.

    This is not just applicable for APPS its same for all… fields / products / manufacturing / services

    I live in a country now where everyone thrives on CONVERTING (not india), re-branding / own branding , heck a company manufacturing spaghetti has like 18 brands of the same fricking product with no difference at all except as CARTER SAYS the SKINNING (other than the logo and wrapper graphics) all else is same and they sell 180,000 tons of it a year… locally and exported to nearby countries.

    SO suck it up and f**k off – My plan of action starts with carters blog and hope to see a 6 figure bank balance in 1 year – HAHA – IRONICALLY I got the wake up call on LABOUR DAY – so much for freedom from labour.

  • Girlwithwords May 13, 2015

    I actually signed up for Carter’s course. I did my research first, and there’s nothing illegal about it (or even immoral for that matter). Several years ago I started looking into programming (just as a side “hobby” believe it or not). I was working part-time and in grad school. The job I was in was entry-level IT but pretty mindless, mostly connected customers to wireless, etc. So on down time I would write (stories, poetry) and watch programming videos on

    After telling a few people about my new hobby they looked at me like I was crazy. Especially computer science students that hated programming. Well life happened and I got distracted and ended up quitting the learning process. But I had a much better understanding of what programming is and a basic understanding of languages like Python and Javascript.

    I have always wanted to make apps (not just games, I have various ideas) but I know it takes a LOT of work. I’m down for the work, and understand the learning curve. I think it’s interesting but in the meantime, I’d like to make money and learn so reskinning it it.

    The thing some people in the comments don’t understand is that their hypocrites and don’t even know it. We use ALL types of products (especially online) that have been re-purposed. My mom, brother, and husband all work in various areas of technology…and I’ve dabbled in web developing starting from templates (which is what most clients want anyway).

    So, with this long comment I’ll say do some homework first. Maybe it’s not for you. But no one is making you do it. No one is stealing (except for thieves and that’s not what he’s promoting).

    1. Entrepreneurs (some of them developers themselves) are paying for codes (being SOLD by the original developer or re-seller with a license)

    2. Changing graphical elements (and in some cases tweaking codes for ads, etc.) to create “new” games…don’t blame the lack of “creativity” on the makers. That’s consumerism. People complain about wanting something new, but only things that are slightly innovative at most win big. Or do you think Zuckerburg created social networking? lol (MySpace, Black Planet, etc.).

    3. All the people that are complaining should be challenged to name at least 3 little known “original”, “super creative” indie apps that they support (and you can’t know the developer). For one, I bet you they’re not that creative (not hating, just saying in 2015 everything is in some way a riff off of something- read Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist). And if you can’t do this, you are PART of said “problem”…so create you’re own super successful app from scratch. (I hope to do this one day, but in the meantime…)

  • Thomas and Carter May 15, 2015

    Hello carter Thomas or max or someone with app making Skilllls. Would anyone like to help me make my app and help me make some money for my family while you make some also. I have some really good ideas for apps that would make it big. But I need help obviously and I have a lot of questions such as how much do you actually make off a good app. And how do you get paid and other questions that we can get into if anyone wants to do it with me. My email is email me if you would like to and with some info about going about this. Thanks Thomas

  • minenhle May 26, 2015

    Hi carter, I’m very new in this app world and know very little about it..when you make money from the advertisers it goes to your credit card?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas May 26, 2015

    Great question minenhle! I mean the whole reason for advertising is to get paid, right? In my particular case, my profits get deposited every month into a company bank account. There is such a huge variety of Ad Networks now days, payments come in all forms. Via mail check ,Credit Cards, PayPal… but the most common is bank deposit.

    Good luck, I’m knocking on wood you get a big check in the mail soon!

  • Sam Spade May 30, 2015

    Well, at least we have a guide. People who see value in this will follow the guide and make a bit of money (which no one ever complains about). Those who don’t may always complain about what a crappy place the world is! So thanks Carter for the insight.
    One question, Carter, I understand choosing games because of their inherent popularity. Do you think the same might work with a utility App, like a chat app, a notepad app or something like that?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas May 31, 2015

    What’s up Sam! Great question. Games is the most competitive category in the market, but it is also the most lucrative. There are huge incentives to jumping into subcategories like Utilities, Social Networking, and Productivity, etc. The trick is to first find an area with a demand. Secondly, don’t create apps that will compete with sluggers (ex: uber, instagram, whatsapp), unless you have the team and resources to do so. Instead a unique app, or an app that has low competition and high demand – Start small, measure everything, and constantly test and update.

    Catch you on the flip side!

  • Andrew Meservy June 9, 2015

    How do I sell a source code on Bluecloudsolutions?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas June 9, 2015

    @Andrew: Hey buddy, pumped you’re interested in selling your masterpiece source codes on Bluecloud. Send an email to with a link to your app(s) + as much information as you can and someone from our team will get back to you. Nice guest blog post by the way!

  • Ryan June 19, 2015

    To all those sticking their noses up at Carter. What are skateboard manufacturers doing? Or t-shirt designers? Or even donut makers? Very little functional design updates but 100% aesthetics changes. Same thing, no? Maybe we’re just precious about apps because ‘code’ seems more like an artform than the shirt on your back.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas June 21, 2015

    @Ryan – Great examples and mindset. Thanks for the support!

  • Rez June 26, 2015

    Thank you so much for this article! This is an insightful snapshot of how the business actually works. Those protesting you showing how to do it aren’t going to create anything, trash or otherwise. Thanks again.

  • Bond July 8, 2015

    Hey Carter. I know a little about python as I am a starter but have a degree in business. Where can I go to find programmers and business partners to write up a few apps? Appreciate it buddy.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas July 8, 2015

    @Bond – opt in for the ebook on the sidebar – you’ll get 150 pages of free information, the second module is all about hiring a developer.

  • Yves July 23, 2015

    Hello Carter. I was wondering if you had a trusted program that gave novices like me in depth lessons on how to enter this market. If not, where could you recommend me? And also, how much money do you think is needed to start slow? Thank you for your time.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas July 23, 2015

    @Yves – are you looking for coding courses or for overall “how to start with apps”?

    If you want coding, you can get awesome courses for iOS or Android here (taught by Bluecloud Members):

    If you want Overall how to get started, you can get that here:

  • ahura September 7, 2015

    This article is crap its one of the reasons why people cant enjoy high quality games anymore its cash grab bullshit, advertising and reskinning using the same code is a joke your literally trying to sell the same crap multiple times and really just clogging the app market this idea reminds me alot of doing business online with people from china – sell a shitty product that is either cloned, bad quality, not functional or a harddrive with dynabolts and a modified flash chip to everybody ONCE and then change it up a bit so it looks different then sell it all again ONCE (no intention of repeat business) honestly developers like you have ruined mobile gaming alot of people wouldbemore inclined to buy apps if they knew they were actually buying something worthwhile not buy something and then realise they need to buy like 1000 gems to continue lastly when you look at the next generation of kids and ask why so many are so stupid/incompetent just remember you have an impact with your shitty ass rhianna dressup app.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 7, 2015

    @Ahura – Serenity now, brother.

  • kevin+Hooper September 16, 2015

    I have just launched a local city shopping app..that promotes all shopping areas in my hometown.

    My App concept is way ahead of other advertising companies in my hometown.

    My App…Shop Portsmouth…brings branded shops and Independent shops together on a user friendly modern platform..I have over 600 shops advertised.. please download NOW…Enjoy
    Kevin Hooper…Publisher.

  • Jim Bob October 23, 2015

    Hey Carter, great article! Now anyone with an ounce of decency knows to avoid you at parties!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas October 25, 2015

    @Jim – luckily, I’m not much of a party guy.

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