It has been a few months since my last post about unseating Dora from the App Store’s top 25 list, and I wanted to give an update on where Go Go Mongo! is headed and where the industry is heading.
One of the first indie partnerships in our developer group was formed when Madhavi of the iLuv Drawing apps added Mongo into the iLuv Drawing People app as a sticker. This was a great first step and I was able to promote her apps through the Go Go Mongo! Facebook page and website, and she was able to promote the Go Go Mongo! Lite app through a cross-promo widget in her iLuv Drawing People app.
Although neither of us are seeing massive improvements in number of downloads through cross promotion, the reality is that we need more apps cross promoting each other. The network effect will only come into effect after we have 10 or so apps working collaboratively.
I’ve had numerous conversations with other developers about licensing Mongo in their apps, and I think it is a good first step, and will help build the cross promotional engine we need.
I also had a chance to reflect at the Dust or Magic conference, which is where I met many of you. I gleaned a few more things we all need to do to unseat Dora.
Build wildly innovative games for our kids
By building wildly innovative games, Toca Boca and Duck Duck Moose are the leaders in this space and are able to easily surpass Dora. Duck Duck Moose had the first mover advantage, where they built incredibly high quality content from the very beginning. They took the hard route and built engaging experiences, far more advanced than the typical flashcard apps that continue to flood the App Store.
Toca Boca came in later but had the backing of a larger company to hire the best engineers and creative minds to build incredible experiences for children on the iPhone and iPad. Each company has over 10 apps that all cross promote each other and parents eagerly await their next products. We need to learn from this and build unique solutions like these. I reiterate my earlier point: QUIT MAKING FLASHCARD APPS!
Build a distribution network
Another company that we can learn from is Oceanhouse Media. I remember hearing Michel speak about his company almost two years ago when the iPad first came into the market. His business model is to license classic books and characters and bring them to life on the iPad. By building a great team, Michel is able to produce volumes of books, and because he is using licensed classic characters, his apps are easily searchable. Through his initial successes, he has been able to build a library of applications that cross promote each other.
While I applaud the success of Michel and Oceanhouse, I feel it is really difficult for us to do what he did as independents today. There still isn’t a large distributor/publisher of kids apps/educational apps. The platform companies, Fingerprint, YogiPlay, and Smartots are trying to do this, but it is still too early to determine if this strategy will work. What we are lacking is a Chillingo of kids educational apps.
Build more apps
I saw this strategy at first when I met Emmy at Abitalk. Emmy has built a formidable number of niche apps specializing in phonics and early learning. The cumulative effect is enough to sustain a family business. However, to make this into a big business, we need to band together and start building tons of apps, while at the same time significantly increasing the quality of our apps.
Can we unseat Dora? Yes! We are making good progress, but we now need to accelerate, band closer together, and work off of our strengths as a collective.
Written by Ahmed (a.k.a. Mongo. Follow him on Twitter!)