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ZonderHarry18 karma

Thanks! I spent a lot of time writing it because I wanted to tell my entire story and let people know how important this mission was to me.

Regarding online ads, companies and startups are stuck in a situation where it's much better to use less resources to make a poor product, while dumping most of your money on Facebook and Google ads. If you instead choose to spend most of your money to create a great product, with little leftover for ads, you'll likely fail no matter how great your product is, because nobody ends up seeing it.

And also, we've done some tests and Facebook lies about how many clicks/conversions you get in their dashboard. During a trial, 1% of people who "clicked" on our FB ad (and we paid the click cost for) downloaded the app (according to our backend), while every other source was between 30-40% conversion. So that sucks.

Anyways, I'd like to see companies spending more on creating better things, instead of spending most of their money trying feverishly to outbid each other for a slice of the same pie.

ZonderHarry12 karma

Thanks for the question and compliment!

The overall design process was really hard. I didn't have any app design experience at all when I started - only a dream of making a fun travel game. I made a lot of design variations that failed - but each one taught me something, and got slightly better.

By the 3rd revision 2 years in, I managed to get something resembling a usable mobile app. But I kept going because I wanted Zonder to be a great experience for players. What you see today is the 5th major revision of Zonder, and I believe it's as good as any other travel app on the App Store.

Overall, I would estimate that it took about 7000 hours of design alone to get to its current state. I have a big graphic showing all 5 of our design revisions in my Kickstarter, so you can check it out through my website.

Making the startup was also pretty hard, especially the hiring process and getting users, but overall I think I worked about twice as many hours on the design as everything else.

I didn't code the app personally, so I'll see if I can get my lead developer to answer that part.

ZonderHarry11 karma

Honestly, that's fair and I understand why you, and other people believe that. And it's because statistically, you are correct. Most mobile games will sell out (and some sell out from the very beginning) - that's been the theme of the industry and the problem.

Even if you don't believe what I'm saying (and that's completely fine), you can believe the money. I'll just preface this by saying that data-selling is overblown because any app can gather and sell user data. There's no reason to make an app of Zonder's caliber just to sell user info, I could make a simple travel journal in 2-3 months and spend the rest of my money buying Facebook ads to sell user info.

Hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to make a lot of money in the future, I could just add pay-to-win features (buy XP boosters or bonus landmarks to earn!). The returns on those FAR outweigh data selling, you can look at any of the large mobile apps to see the revenue potential.

But I haven't added any pay2win features so far. If you check out the app, you'll see that I haven't even added any features to keep players addicted and spending money. So if I were trying to make tons of profit, I'm doing a pretty bad job of it right now.

Hope that helps you understand a bit without having to trust only my word for it!

ZonderHarry9 karma

I think it's kind of a misconception that selling user data is a great way to make profit. It's actually pretty low value per user.

Selling data is the best way to make profits....if you're bad at actually building anything of value. Like if you only have enough skill to make a newsletter or to copycat someone else's app, then sure it's the best option you have.

Great games generally don't resort to selling players' data to make money because happy players are willing to spend a lot more on the game itself than the data is worth. That's what we're aiming for.

For Zonder, there's two main ways we're planning to make profits. The first is premium customizations, features and perks in the app. For instance, in the future you'll be able to purchase decorations for your profile, a place to show off more of your earned achievements, or possibly bonus premium tours for your favorite cities.

The second way is we're going to connect with tourism and city organizations to see if they want to promote their city with any special tours. They can pay us some money, and we'll put a tour they created into the app, which features some cool downtown locations they might want to draw traffic to. Players also benefit because they get to learn about some interesting attractions they might never have known were there. So it's a win-win.

ZonderHarry9 karma

I used to be a big fan of Foursquare as well! Collecting places was very fun.

The problem was the Foursquare was more of a concept, and never really fleshed out as a proper game. It had a very basic game system where you just collect places and complete on a single leaderboard that reset weekly, with some simple stickers to earn. In gaming terms, it was like the equivalent of an FPS game that had 1 gun and 1 map, which is more like a demo than anything.

We're adding a LOT of different ways to play by traveling. You can collect normal places just like in 4SQ, you can race to visit world landmarks, you can compete to support local businesses in your hometown and track your total distance traveled. Just to name a few. You can play single player and just focus on your own achievements, or play competitively in many different challenges.

But the biggest innovation is that players can earn locations in the background, meaning they don't even need to take their phone out of their pocket. This is a game-changer IMO and makes it much easier for people to play without interrupting their vacation.

A few years ago I was pretty sad when it became clear that 4SQ wasn't going to keep improving their game features and pivoted to selling location data to businesses. That's one of the reasons I made Zonder - because I believe the travel game concept can really go far if we give it a real chance.