Oct 4, 2016 - Business

Adam Howell, local technologist, hit #1 on the App Store with $.99 Phoneys – but not for long…

Adam Howell, a designer and developer in Charlotte, created Phoneys which hit #1 Top Paid and #1 Top Grossing in the iMessage app store a few days ago.

Adam wouldn’t give me an exact dollar amount, but he told me that he’s made “tens of thousands of dollars in a few days.”

But Apple isn’t a fan of Phoneys… The company firmly explained to Adam that he has until Thursday to fundamentally change the app or it’ll be killed.


What does the $.99 Phoneys app do?

Phoneys is a simple iMessage sticker pack that allows users to replace a friend’s text with a iMessage sticker – thus making it look like your friend texted you the message.

Adam describes it as “Stickers that look like blue iMessage text bubbles, that you could place over top of your friend’s texts, making it look like you put words in their mouth.”

For example, if  my wife texted me “Hope your day is going well” – Phoneys gives me 28 options of stickers to place over her text – stickers that look take the place of her iMessage.

The 28 Phoneys options include the following gems:

  • “How do you always look so amazing?”
  • “Teach me how to be more like you”
  • “Country music has really grown on me”
  • “My political views are totally wrong”
  • “Oops I just pooped myself”

The origin of Phoneys

After launching his first sticker pack, Guises (full Halloween app), Adam started thinking of what to work on next. And he tried out the Phoneys concept on his cousin Kyle. “At first I stupidly made them gray, but then Kyle made me realize they needed to be blue,” explained Adam. “When I tried it, hey look at that, it worked!”


Given the fact that Apple lawyers hate it, here are Adam’s options for Phoneys

“Apple’s lawyers weren’t happy that Phoneys got through the review process. The stickers couldn’t be blue or green, they couldn’t use San Francisco as the typeface,” said Adam.

“On the one hand, if I update the stickers over the next week like Apple has so generously allowed me to do, I will be ‘breaking’ Phoneys for everyone who has already bought it. On the other, if I don’t make the updates, Phoneys will get pulled from the store next week. Plus, obviously, I’ll no longer continue making money off of an app. I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do.”

Brilliant marketing move

In a brilliant marketing move, Adam Howell created this excellent post on Medium describing his process and the decision that he has to make.

I love Adam’s closing lines, “… But one thing I do know for certain, is that the days leading up to Thursday — or possibly sooner if Apple sees this article and takes exception to it — are the last days an app like Phoneys will ever exist on the iMessage app store… if you ‘get’ the idea of Phoneys, and haven’t bought it and tried it out yet, you might want to hurry.”

Brilliant marketing move to create immediate demand. I for one will be purchasing the app and look forward to fooling all of my friends.

Enjoy my $.99 Adam, you earned it.


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