Tuesday, February 23, 2010

R-Line App featured on New Raleigh blog

The New Raleigh blog was kind enough to mention the R-Line app in a story this week. Check out their blog post.


Break out the champagne, we've just made our first dollar in advertising. For you ad gurus, that's a Net eCPM of $2.42. I suppose it could be worse for a user base of about 100 mobile phones.

Monday, February 22, 2010

R-Line App Updates

What's New?
  • Directional bus markers
  • New stop markers
What's fixed?
  • Missing bus location data
  • Bus marker not centered over location
  • Moved ad to top to avoid zoom buttons occasionally overlapping ad.
  • Maintains map state (zoom, etc) when rotating device.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Generating Revenue with Ads

If you've downloaded my R-Line app, you'll instantly notice the somewhat obnoxious banner advertisement at the bottom. Actually, it's not that bad, if you're lucky enough to see an add from a more mainstream advertiser. I've seen a few tasteful and well done ads from Netflix, Dish Network, and others. Some of the ring-tone advertisements are unfortunately very ugly.

It's been a week since I published the R-Line app and it's time to give a quick assessment of what I've seen with respect to ad revenue. I had level expectations moving into this project. The R-Line app has a very limited audience. It's limited to people in the Raleigh, NC area, those of whom ride the downtown circular bus. That's typically downtown workers, bar hoppers, and bus drivers.

So how much coin did I rake in? 14 cents.

Here's a frame of reference for the interested. There's been roughly 100 downloads, and 50 people who've kept the app installed. Each day there's an average of 35 ad impressions (how many times a new ad showed), and I have seen a total of 12 clicks. Not too exciting, is it?

I have had questions about the low rate of keepers. Why have so many been quick to uninstall? The ad data helps reveal some answers. It appears there's plenty of people in Singapore, United Kingdom, Russia, and all other the world downloading the app. But why!? It's English only, and clearly states that the app is specific to Raleigh, NC. Who knows, either way, I expect these are the uninstallers.

I'm going to post the shameless "donation" version of the application, without advertisements. Let's see what that does.

Updates on the R-Line

I've made several improvements/bug fixes to the R-Line application. Here's some noteworthy changes:

I've changed my ItemizedOverlay for the moving buses to return false for draw(). I previously had it return true to force the maps API to redraw the overlays. The API docs tout this as a way to "animate" the layer. Unfortunately, this creates continuous drawing and high cpu usage. Instead, I created another listener to my data service to call the postInvalidate() on the MapView. This forces the map to redraw the overlays whenever new data is downloaded.

Also, within my ItemizedOverlay, I added some synchronizing to the data collection storing the buses. Inside draw(), we can't see it, but it's iterating over the collection. It's possible to call createItem(int i) on an item that no longer exists. This created a rare force close when panning/zooming the map and an overlay item disappeared. Using a Collections.synchronizedList() call to create a synchronized List was not enough. Instead I added some synchronizations to draw() and the method where I update the collection.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Building on the R-Line App

I've added two new features to the R-Line app. First, you can now select between Map, Map + Traffic, and Satellite map modes. I've also added a pop-up legend to help with identifying map markers. Touching the screen dismisses the legend.

Both features are accessible via the pop-up options menu by pressing the phone 'menu' button.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

R-Line App

I just published an application that displays real-time status of Raleigh, NC's downtown buses. Currently, Raleigh's monitoring is limited the R-Line route.

The two buses show up as black dots. Red markers are bus stops. The blue line is the primary route, and the red lines show the evening (after 6:30PM) modified routes.

The app was fun to create. It leverages web services, Google's Map APIs, and Quattro's advertisement APIs. Sorry about the ads, but I couldn't help myself to try it out. They should at least be occasionally targeted to the RDU market.

Data updates every 5 seconds, although the bus data is usually only updated from the buses every 30 seconds.

Future enhancements I hope to include click-able markers to display the stop name, bus name, etc.

Make sure you've upgraded to version 1.16 to ensure you continue to receive bus location updates.