Category Archives: tips

Time is Money: FreeMyApps

Do you know there are companies out there that will pay you to try their apps? FreeMyApps is one such app/company. Basically how it works is an app developer comes to them and says ‘we’ll pay you to get your audience to download our free app’. FreeMyApps takes their money, assigns a credit value to the app and tells you to download and use the free app for 30 seconds. When you do, you’ll get that credit value added to your account. In return, you can exchange those credits for things like iTunes gift cards, Amazon gift cards and currently Postagram gift cards.

It’s a win-win-win. We get gift cards. FreeMyApps gets money from the app developer. And the app developer gets thousands of new downloads of their free app which gives them a) exposure and b) help climbing the App Store charts which is how a majority of folks find out about new apps.

The question that remains is Would you like to get paid to try out apps? There is a minimum time investment, no monetary investment, and it actually pays off. I’ve been doing it for a while now. Here are the things I’ve earned on my iPhone.

IMG_15357/28/12 – $10 iTunes Gift Card
6/27/12 – $10 iTunes Gift Card
5/11/12 – Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy ($4.99 Value)
3/15/12 – iPhone ($4.99 Value)

Try not to pay too close attention to how long it took me to earn each reward because I have gone through streaks of checking the app daily and a whole lot of ignoring it for weeks at a time. I missed a lot of point generating opportunities.

So let me show you how this works.

On your iOS device, go here: http://m.freemyapps.com/share/url/ad72160a

It will walk you through the setup which does involve installing a “verify settings” profile. This just allows FreeMyApps to make sure that you had the app open for 30 seconds.

Then it’s just a matter of downloading apps and earning points. I’ll show you.

When you launch the app (web shortcut, really) you’ll see the following loading screen:

IMG_1529

When it loads completely you’ll see your credits balance as well as what apps you can install to earn points. To download, you just click the credits button next to the app. For the app below you’d click the +120 credits button.

IMG_1531

The only app I have available is The Daily however you’ll notice in the text that it says iPad ONLY! That means I can’t download it. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. There was an app on there recently called CoolIris that also said iPad only but it was a universal app that worked on iPhone. I got credit for that install. So go ahead and try the iPad apps too.

When you login for the first time though you’ll have a lot of apps listed.

You can tell which apps you’ve received credit for because they will show up as redeemed. If I scroll beneath that banner that invites me to Share FreeMyApps with Friends, I’ll see this:

IMG_1537

I mentioned I’ve been doing this for a while. I can scroll for 10 screens before I get to the bottom. I have a lot of redeemed apps.

In any event, each app has a point value. As you saw above Lemon.com Wallet is offering you 200 credits to download and use their free app for 30 seconds. The Daily was offering 120 credits. And it seems that most apps have a value of around 80 credits.

So how many credits are required for a gift card. That, my friends, is a good question. So lets look at what FreeMyApps is currently offering (as of August 1st, 2012):IMG_1533

$2 Amazon Gift Card – 600 credits.

$10 iTunes Gift Card – 3000 credits.

$15 iTunes Gift Card – 4500 credits.

$4 Postagram Gift Card – 600 credits.

$5 Amazon Gift Card – 1500 credits.

(not pictured)

$1 Amazon Gift Card – 300 credits.

$10 Amazon Gift Card – 3000 credits.

$15 Amazon Gift Card – 4500 credits.

$25 Amazon Gift Card – 7500 credits.

$25 iTunes Gift Card – 7500 credits.

$50 iTunes Gift Card – 15000 credits.

As you can see there are a ton of different gift card denominations with the exception of Postagram which is new to the FreeMyApps rewards family. There are usually some Xbox Live gift cards available too but the rewards change too. Sometimes a $10 iTunes Gift Card is available, and sometimes it’s sold out. But they have been pretty steadily available as of late.

Last week I did the math. If you get the minimum amount of credits per download and you play each app for only the 30 seconds required, then it’ll take you a whopping total of 18 3/4 minutes to earn a $10 gift card. Now what’s cool about that is the fact that you’ll get apps that are worth far more than the minimum amount of credits. For example, today’s Lemon.com Wallet was worth 200 credits. As for the time spent, that’ll probably increase because sometimes you’ll stumble across an app you end up really liking. For example, I downloaded and enjoyed No Zombies Allowed so much that it’s still on my iPhone today.

IMG_1538[1]

One last thing. The first time you load the app you’ll either be excited by all of the credit earning opportunities or you’ll be overwhelmed thinking about all the apps you have to install. If you fall into that latter group don’t be discouraged. After you run through the initial pool of apps it becomes a really easy thing to maintain because you’re just checking for new apps on whatever interval you decide works for you. You can also follow FreeMyApps on Facebook and they’ll announce when they have new sponsor apps.

You can find them here: http://www.facebook.com/FreeMyApps

Here is my workflow in case you were wondering how I handle the app:

1) Download new app through FreeMyApps which redirects to AppStore
2) Use new app for at least 30 seconds
3) Go back to FreeMyApps and see if I got credit – Is it showing redeemed? If not, I go back to the app and use it some more.
4) If I liked the app, I’ll keep it. If I didn’t like the app, I’ll immediately delete it.

If you like what you saw here and want to turn a little bit of effort into gift cards then I’d ask if you’d please use my referral link to start today: http://m.freemyapps.com/share/url/ad72160a (use this link in the Safari web browser). I’ll get 100 credits (a pittance, really) and you’ll get the satisfaction of helping the guy out who told you about this awesome service.

Thanks all. I wish you many, many free gift cards.

If this helped you, or if I’ve helped you in the past, I’d like to ask you to consider making a donation. If you’re not interested, no biggie. Forget I mentioned it. =)

How to make friends and influence people

thumbs-up-low-resLet me begin this entry by telling you that I know next to nothing about either of these two things. I’ve had the same friends since high school (and they’re awesome, so why swap them out?) and I can’t get my kids to do what I say without anything short of bribery.

With that confession you’re probably wondering what I’m hoping to accomplish by gobbling up your precious little time here. And that’s a fair question. I considered calling this post Why Jon F. Merz rocks but there were other authors and actors that I wanted to praise too.

The rise of social media has revolutionized the concept of fan mail. If I really like a book or movie, and the author/actor has a social media presence, I can shoot a message to them directly. And in some instances you can simply say something indirectly and get a response. Last year I made a passing comment about a certain Nickelodeon actress / singer and to my amazement she sent me a direct message in Twitter thanking me for the compliment [story here].

And I think this is an incredible resource for independent authors, in particular. This is probably true for most anything but since I’m addressing authors I’m going to try and focus on them.

I am a big fan of the B&N Nook eReader. So much so that I actually have a twitter search constantly updating for the #nook hashtag. A lot of authors reach out to the community by letting folks know they have books available. One author in particular, Jon F. Merz got recommended by B&N and was letting folks know his book was available for purchase and where. I sent him a tweet and told him that I’d buy his book if he’d tell the girls to go to sleep. No answer.

A few hours later I get a response saying that he would have but he was out all evening. I responded to him telling him it was not too late because my 3 year olds would likely be difficult again tomorrow. He replied. But he never told the girls to get to bed, so I never bought his book. I figured it would have been cool to take a screenshot of and tell the girls that I got a published author to shout out to them. They wouldn’t care, of course, but maybe later in life.

Despite not buying his book, I started following him on Twitter and we’ve exchanged several messages. From costume ideas for his son, to asking about the proper order to read his books in, and even offering an opinion on if he should change the name of one of his books. I finished a book and Mr. Merz was on my mind. I decided this was the time to give him a shot. I looked through my NOOKfriends and found someone who had his first Lawson Vampire novel available for lending and I requested it.

I began to quickly consume it and found myself growing anxious because I review everything I read and I wasn’t liking the book. It had a really interesting premise but there was something about it that didn’t set right. So when I finished the book, I put off reviewing it. I knew the author was active on social media. I knew he’d eventually find my review and I felt terrible telling this guy, that I grew to like, that I wasn’t crazy about his book. If this were American Idol, I’m more Paula than Simon, alright? Or maybe I’m Randy. Feel me, dog?

In any case, [I wrote it]. And I let it be. Then Mr. Merz posted a deal on his website and advertised it via Twitter. He was doing a buy one, get three free deal. If you bought one of his books and sent him the receipt he’d send you three of his other books. He indicated that there may even be a bonus book tossed in. All he asked in return was that you join his mailing list and review the books on Goodreads, or B&N or Amazon or wherever you like.

I sent him an email indicating that I bought one of his qualifying books, am a member of his mailing list and had already reviewed one of his books. In fact, I was even so bold as to actually ask for the follow up book to the one I didn’t care for, despite it not being a part of the offer. My review of that book indicated that there was too much “tell me” and not enough “show me” but I acknowledged that it was probably tough to start a new series and establish a new universe in which vampires are a bit different than our popular mythology presents them. I apologized that it probably wasn’t the glowing review he would have liked but that I wanted to give him another shot.

What I expected was a polite “screw you”. Or at least just ignoring my request all together and sending along what he committed to send. Bonuses be damned, since they were a maybe and not a guarantee. Besides four books from the price of one can’t be beat. So what did Mr. Merz do in light of my confession? He emailed me the following:

No worries about the review – I know my stuff isn’t for everyone and I appreciate an honest review any day as long as it’s not just a trash job. Took me a while to find yours, but I’m fine with what you wrote. The Fixer came out in 2002 when I was still a much different writer. Anyway, I’m happy to enclose The Invoker and the other books with this email. Let me know what you think!

Not only did he say my review was fine. He actually included the book I asked for in addition to the books he committed to send on his blog. So that’s Jon F. Merz. Writer. Ninja. Yes. Seriously. [twitter] – [website]

Then there is a guy by the name of David Pedersen. He wrote a book called Angst. The book description was really funny and the price was .99 cents for a limited time. The combination of both made it too good to pass up. I was just finishing up Fahrenheit 451 so I sent Mr. Pedersen a tweet. I told him the price was right so I was going to give him a try. I also told him he had to wait until I finished Bradbury but at least he was in good company. He responded by saying it was exceptional company, thanked me for buying the book and that he hoped I’d let him know what I thought of it.

It turns out I loved the book. Angst is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year. While I was reading it, I also followed Mr. Pedersen on on Twitter. I asked questions about his main character. Some parts of the character seemed as if they could be autobiographical. I asked about the similarities. I asked about other characters, and I got a prompt response. I even got a tweet or two from David’s editor/wife. Both of them seem like fun, great people. And interacting with the author, while reading their book is a treat you rarely often get. A treat I won’t soon forget. It was just a really fun experience. And that’s David Pedersen. Writer. Possibly middle-aged, magic wielding, sword carrier. [twitter] – [website]

My point is that these very limited interactions have established a connection between the author and the folks like me that they hope to interest in their work. Despite the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the first book I read from Mr. Merz, I remained a customer and purchased another book because I was given the time of day. And I wasn’t lying when I told you [I loved Angst] and would have promoted it regardless, but because Mr. Pedersen took the time to talk with me on Twitter I promoted his book even more than I otherwise would have. In fact, I’m going to plug it again on Twitter. Now a whole 15 people will know. =)

The moral of this story is interaction is a major opportunity. New authors (and sometimes established ones) do book tours, but without the backing of a publishing house e-promotion may be your only avenue. And despite the fact that it’s a great deal cheaper than a book tour I believe that it is just as good if not better. A picture may be worth 1,000 words but I think a conversation is worth even more… unless it’s over Twitter, in which case its just 140 characters.