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You Can Thank Me

You might have stumbled upon my site because of the variety of iOS development topics I am covering. I generally try to make any interesting thing I’m learning myself into an educational blog post. There are the things I stumble upon myself, those I document in the Recipes section. And whenever somebody sends me a question I try to answer it with code, examples and so that both our knowledge increases.

Let me summarize the ways how you can express your gratitude. There is a variety of options you have and if you make use of them I will be happy. Which in turn causes me to write more. Win-Win.

I understand that you probably don’t have an inclination to just send me money on PayPal. Here are 10 methods that you can use to build up some good karma.

1. Link to my articles

If you find an article enlightening then you should link to it on your blog or tell your colleagues about it.

Search traffic is in part based on the concept of authority. The more people link to a page the more authority Google thinks this page has.

A site like my own lives from the traffic it gets. Yours as well as thousands of other developers who pop by every day. On February 22nd my unique visitors peaked at 1772, my article on In-App Subscriptions caused a bit of controversy.

From this tendency of increasing traffic as well as comments made to my articles the consensus appears to be a favorable one. Interesting to see that people seem to prefer coming to me on weekdays.

Checking the keywords that this – mostly organic – traffic is coming from we see a variety of topics that I wrote about, first and foremost how to make a Pull-To-Reload TableView.

I also love to see how more and more people are referencing my posts when answering questions on Stack Overflow or the iPhone Dev SDK forums.

2. Follow me on Twitter

The concept of authority can also seen at work on Twitter. Just recently I split my iOS development utterings @Cocoanetics from my German language personal tweets @OliverDrobnik. This way you won’t ever see me tweet about personal issues, but are guaranteed to see tweets and retweets that are relevant to the iOS and Mac universe.

Of course I get spam followers, but generally I am followed by tweeps who are interested in iOS development. Take for example Christopher Oxley, a 26yr old iPhone app developer . Or Guy Couture, Vice-president of DCEsolutions. Or Marouen Ben Moussa who is iOS Software Engineer at Proxymit. Those are just three that mentioned their iOS passion in their twitter profile and followed me just now.

By following me as well you will be part of a greater social network comprised of really smart company. And once you followed me be sure to recommend the same to your followers as well. Follow Friday was invented for this purpose.

And of course my network is also available for you to crowd-source information or resources. If you tweet something funny or interesting nudge me to retweet it if I have not done so already.

3. Flattr me

In the past some people sent me donations to my PayPal account (same as my e-mail address), but generally this is the exception. Being self-employed and really busy makes me sufficient money to live from. So you probably assume that I would not appreciate any small donation you might be able to make. That’s why Flattr was invented.

Flattr is a play on the words Flatrate and “to flatter somebody”. It’s a small European company that makes it possible for you to do micropayments for a variety of things, mostly well written articles and blogs. The idea is that – if you like what you read – you find the nearest Flattr button and click on this.

At the end of the month your “means” will be evenly divided (minus 10% fee for Flattr themselves) amongst all the articles you clicked on. The minimum amount for your monthly means is two Euros. You can add to your balance every time you like and set a slider to what monthly amount should be taken from your balance for these flattr’ing means.

Also just recently Flattr introduced subscriptions which is automatic the process of flattr’ing multiple times over several months. If you click on a flattr button once it counts only for the current month. If you click a second time you can choose to have flattr repeat this click on the subsequent months.

From this screenshot of my Flattr dashboard you see that so far I am earning between 2 and 4 Euros per month from people flattr’ing my articles. At the same time I have a subscription for the Cocoaheads Austria homepage. So if I don’t click on any other Flattr buttons my entire 2 Euros will go to them automatically.

4. Advertise on Cocoanetics.com

I can never hope to achieve a significant income through ads alone. But I can use the ad revenue to offset the cost of my server, approximately 60 Euros per month. Those banners you see on the site from Google AdSense average around 8-10 Euros per month, so that’s why for January and February I experimented with finding sponsors willing to pay me a bit more than that.

Your choice of ad spots are:

Location: Frontpage
Stats: seen by 10% of overall visitors
Size: Block 300 x 300
Note: this replaced the entire block including the extra text on the lower right site

Location: Blog Article List, 2 Slots after first and second article (part before MORE tag) repeated on each page
Stats: seen by 5% of overall visitors
Size: Banner 728 x 90

Location: All Individual Articles, at the location where the MORE tag.
Stats: depend on popularity of article, e.g. my multitasking article gets 5% of daily visitors
Size: Banner 728 x 90
Note: Currently these are inserted manually, they are spread around popular articles. Development is done to automate in about 1 week.

Location: Specific Articles that you think match your offerings really well can be selected manually as well as the position in the article.
Size: Banner 728 x 90

One such sponsor was the maker of the Cyberspace web browser for iPad/iPhone. With the help of Google Analytics we saw that his payment got him 67 click-throughs at 0.29 Euro each. Not bad for an app that costs $3. Now imagine what conversion rate you might get for YOUR service or product if it is in the least relevant for iOS developers.

I have several spots available and the only wish I have is that together I can achieve to have my server paid for. I have not set sponsoring rate, just make me an offer. There’s not exactly a queue. If you see Google ads in a spot then that’s because nobody is in front of you.

5. Let’s affiliate

I’d love to have more affiliations. Generally if I am using somebody’s product or services I’d love to be sending them additional business. The easiest way for me to do that is if you have an affiliate link for me. Have a look at the footer of every page. Right now there’s an affiliate link for Dropbox and Mobfox, both services that I use white a bit. Thus the affiliation.

From Dropbox I’m getting more free storage with every sign-up. I use that quite a bit to share project files with customers and also for certain kinds of backup scenarios. What’s also great is that via Dropbox I can get to my files on Mac, PC, MacBook, iPhone, iPad and even from Linux.

MobFox on the other hand is a new Ad network based in Vienna, Austria which pays an order of magnitude more than AdMob. I built their SDK and that’s why I added support for it to DTBannerManager. If you sign up with MobFox via this link then I’ll get a small percentage of your ad earnings.

In both cases I consider it a thank you if you visit my affiliates via these links. That’s one way of thanking me.

The other would be to have a service that’s relevant for us iOS developers and make me your affiliate with similar benefits as these two examples.

6. Review my apps

I’ve given up on trying to get blogs to write about my work long time ago. So I have a big pile of promo codes for every app of mine and this pile is getting bigger with each new version I release.

If you have a blog – however small – then just ask me about a promo code and you will get one. If you don’t have a blog, then you can still have a promo code if you promise to post a review on iTunes. I have to rely on your honor in this case! Many people asked me for a code but never got around to actually stating their opinion on iTunes.

Hey, I won’t mind, even if you give me work less than 5 stars. If that’s the truth and my app sucks than I will see it as a nudge to go back to the drawing board and improve it. On the other hand, receiving a response like this is what makes me smile.

My dad owns leaflet business and I occasionally help at weekends, I have been using the breadcrumbs section of the app to track what streets i have been down and have noticed it is very accurate in recording where I have been while doing this I can periodically upload my data to my google account with ease and retrieve this information
The app is very well thought out and has been a big help to me and I will continue to use this app.
Jonathan Heald

This review is really cool because it shows an unexpected use of my utility app GeoCorder. But it does not have to use as many words, check out this other review. You don’t have to understand Italian to know that this is something favorable:

Ottima applicazione!!
– Riccardo Rossi

Here’s another example of a good review, for SpeakerClock.

I use this a lot when I teach or speak. Helps me keep the time and looks great at the same time. Educator must-have.
– Chris Marquardt

Leaving reviews on iTunes is in a way similar to what I wrote about about authority in web pages and about linking to my articles. If something is liked then I know that I am the right track. If something is missing then I know what to put more value on once I have some time to further development on this app.

In general I just love to hear your comments, because it tells you that you care about my work. Here’s the most amazing testimonial, ever. Accompanied by a photo.

So cool! We’re all playing with your app in the TED office. Here’s
TED’s June Cohen and Chris Anderson.

If you didn’t know, Chris Anderson is the curator of the TED Conference and June Cohen the Executive Producer of TED Media.

You don’t have to be famous, your opinion is valuable even if you are not.

7. Comment

Speaking about your opinions and insights… I am just human and I cannot know everything. For the most part I am just slightly ahead of you because I’ve been developing the iOS platform since the first SDK came out and full-time for slightly more than a year.

Feel free to let me know about omissions or factual errors in my posts and tweets. If you have something to contribute then do so below the article that it belongs to. The advantage for you is that your comment is seen by thousands of other developers and if it is a good one then this will add to your reputation just the same.

If you have a blog you can also comment there in the form of a new article referencing mine. Modern blog engines like WordPress will ping my blog and this ping will show as inbound link next to the comments.

8. Cocoapedia.org

This is a hobby of mine, sort of a Wikipedia for facts which are of interest to the Cocoa/Mac/iOS body of knowledge. I consider it a favor if you add yourself to the Wiki and give some interesting facts. I’m also looking for volunteers to patrol new entries and add stubs for people, companies, conferences and books that fit in there.

Lately there where a couple of spam entries which showed even more the need of a few more admins. If you have a bit of a journalistic tendency then join me in procuring Cocoa facts. The idea is to have a place for all the knowledge that is not sufficiently relevant for Wikipedia, but highly relevant for us Cocoa developers.

By volunteering on Cocoapedia you can definitely get on my good side. The simplest activities you can do are:

  • make an article for yourself
  • look at the recent changes and remove files and articles that are spam
  • add stubs for other developers, or Cocoa facts
  • link to Cocoapedia articles in your own blog posts so that your readers can quickly get facts about people or companies you mention

Cocoapedia is using the MediaWiki engine which also powers Wikipedia. So by learning your way around Cocoapedia you also learn how to create and edit Wikipedia articles. Not a bad thing to have on your CV, I think.

9. Open Source Social Coding

Most of my code I keep close to my heart, be it my apps or my components. But every once in a while I am open-sourcing something that I feel would be of benefit to the public. Generally I would do that for projects that I have no plan to make money with or where it would be hard to achieve a level of support that’s necessary for a professional component.

Just recently I open-sourced my mobile report downloading app MyAppSales and NSAttributedString+HTML. You can thank me by contributing to these projects by fixing bugs and implementing features that are on the issue lists there. Just now there is a problem with downloading financial reports in MyAppSales, that would be a good way to show off your skills by fixing that.

Even if you don’t feel up to the task of contributing yourself, you can reuse code you find in these projects as they are BSD-licensed. It’s only required that you mention me as original author of the code you borrow. You don’t have to feel ashamed if your work is in part based on mine. Rather I consider my mission a success if my work enabled you to produce successful apps. Just give credit where credit is due.

If you find issues then just add them to the list of issues on GitHub. This allows other more capable developers to go in and solve the problems you found. What’s also great on GitHub is that you can fork (i.e. create a copy) of my repositories and when you are done with your changes you can send me a pull request to enable me to pull your changes into the master repository.

10. Let’s network

Having thousands of visitors every day and thousands of followers on twitter does not mean that there are no opportunities for us to network. Above I mentioned a great deal of ways how you can get me to notice and appreciate you. This is a good base to also build a business relationship on.

I recently mentioned that I tend to have too much work for myself alone. But honestly I have very few people that have made an effort to earn my trust. By picking one or more of the above options you can easily get into my “inner circle”. Being there will give you even more access and accelerate your own business and learning.

As the iOS market grows so does the amount of opportunities. I try to keep an open mind and I am interested in your novel ideas. Let’s discuss this on Skype, record it with AudioHijack and then call it a new podcast episode.

I designated 2011 – the second year of my full-time iOS work – to be my social year. I am making a conscious effort of meeting my peers in person, attending meetups like the monthly get-togethers of the Cocoaheads. I plan to attend as many conferences as economically possible and sensible. A bar camp in Graz is coming up. And this might also be the first year that I will be able to afford attending WWDC.

To cut a long story short, I would like to meet you, in person, if at all possible. Then you can thank me personally for anything smart that you once read on Cocoanetics.com.


Categories: Administrative

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