Michal Kacmar, the developer behind Jumpy Bee (previously known as Flappy Bee) was gracious enough to give us a moment of his time to discuss his whirlwind ride on the iOS app store. Like many appreneurs, Michal saw an opportunity when Flappy Bird rose to fame and then infamy when it was removed from the app store. He quickly created and launched Flappy Bee which soon rose up the Free Apps charts to take a Top 5 position. Unfortunately, Michal would soon discover that the app store can be a fickle place.
[Update: We have just learned that the art assets from the original iteration of Flappy Bee appear to be lifted from another game called Bee Leader. We are reaching out for comment.]
Our interview with Michal Kacmar, developer of Jumpy Bee (Now Available on the App Store)
How long have you been developing apps?
Michal: I have been developing apps for about 3 months so I am really new to the game. I mostly buy source codes and make reskinned apps since I am not that good of a programmer.
When did you decide to make Flappy Bee?
Michal: About 10 days ago. When I saw Flappy Bird rising I told to myself that I can make a better game and people will likely find it since “Flappy games” was a rising trend. Good decision right?
Did you code the game yourself or did you purchase code from an app source code marketplace?
Michal: As I mentioned earlier, I purchased the code and reskinned it.
Did you do any special promotion or app store optimization around it? If so, could you please describe some of the things you did?
Michal: I did not pay a single dollar for promotions. I just caught the trend rising and I got to number 4 overall in US appstore. I think that is crazy and I know that big companies pay about a million dollars to get to top 5 overall. The game ranked even higher when Flappy Bird was removed.
How long did it take the app to rank on the Top Free charts?
Michal: It took just 4 days which was really crazy. In one day it jumped about 180 positions up the charts.
When Flappy Bee ranked in the Top 5 of Top Free apps on the app store, how much ad revenue was it generating (estimate, if you feel comfortable releasing info. Just a ballpark figure.) How much is it generating now that it has dropped out of the Top 5?
Michal: Everybody kept talking about Flappy Bird earning about $50K a day. I figured out that by our own experience that that number is definitely too high. We think that Flappy Bird was making at most $10K to $15K a day. Because today’s eCPMs on banner ads are really low – especially on AdMob which Flappy Bird was using. The eCPM average is just about 5 cents to 20 cents.
Why did you change the name from Flappy Bee to Jumpy Bee?
Michal: 2 days ago I received an email from Apple that forced me to change the name of the app and all the keywords because in their opinion it was leveraging the Flappy Bird name – which was not even in the App Store at that time. They told me I had 48 hours to update the game with completely different name and different keywords. The next day we fell 200 places down in the Top Free Apps charts.
We feel like this was not really fair from apple and cost us 99% of the revenue and 99% of the number of downloads. We think that if the Flappy Bird-inspired games were in top charts that it meant that people want to play these kinds of games and that Apple should not decide for themselves what will be in top charts.
Any advice for new app developers looking to launch an app in the app store?
Michal: Use full screen ads and don’t bother too much with banners because that doesn’t generate much revenue. Look for rising trends and try to go with the flow. Unfortunately, now you also have to argue and compete with Apple since they will probably try to stop you from doing that! Good luck!