12 REASONS WHY MOBILE APP STARTUPS FAIL

It might be pretty unbelievable but most of the startups investing in mobile app development are not able to set foot in the market from the very outset. Though the number of mobile apps are growing at an increasing rate, but the revenue from each are falling gradually.

According to Gartner (An American Information Technology research and Advisory company) statistics reveal that:

“In 2009, worldwide mobile app downloads amounted to approximately 2.52 billion and are expected to reach 268.69 billion in 2017.”

Hence with such a vast user base and thousands of devices being in circulation, there are innumerable app developers who wish to create the next best mobile app in the market but are unable to do so. Most of the new apps that are developed gain no or very little attraction and the mobile app startups fail miserably.

Why?

It is important to understand the following factors which cause this to happen so that an app developer can keep it in mind before developing his next successful app.

1.Wrong business model:

According to Gartner, “Less Than 0.01 Percent of Consumer Mobile Apps Will Be Considered a Financial Success by Their Developers Through 2018.” This is a depressing data in the world where people are using apps as pulleys to lift themselves and their business up. Neither focusing too much on technology is good nor on marketing. There must be a clear line of separation between the technology organization and the product organization. The right pricing must also be determined to keep the product competitive.

2.Premature marketing strategy:

In case of any business, marketing plays a vital role in taking the business to great heights. Failing to own a strong and well-knit marketing strategy will automatically prevent the product or service to fail no matter how good it is. App developers often concentrate more in developing and executing the app overlooking the marketing process which in turn makes the app a failure. Often neglecting the market competition leads to slow adaptability with the market reality. Therefore people with the right skill-set and the right vision must be given the task to get the app enough promotion.

3.Research of already existing apps:

The owner must make sure of gathering as much information as possible about the competing/similar apps already available in the app market, and analyze their differences. Slowness in app launching or launching it too early without standard publicizing may also prove fatal. It is the owner’s responsibility to launch an app that is different from other existing apps in its own way which will mark its uniqueness. He must also pay attention to the fact that how much better his app is serving its users than the other apps. Along with an exclusive name an app must also be useful to its users to sustain in the market for a longer period. Name can be anything, but it should just be catchy enough for people to remember it.

4.Poor app design:

Statistics reveal that around 8 percent of all app submissions on various operating systems fail or are rejected only because they have a bad design. Bad designing basically means that the app is not user friendly. This results in the app not being able to create an impact as expected and the app gets discarded immediately and fails miserably. A successful and well-designed app must have a proper user interface, high resolution, perfect placing of buttons and must offer a good user experience.

5.Undefined target audience:

Any app is built for a specific audience of users. The better it’s specified, the fewer are the chances to make a half-baked product. Thus the developer must see the needs, the goals of the app, the problems it will solve – and thus the most needed features will be defined and implemented. A startup owner has to think of mobile customers in the first place.

6.Consistency of the app:

If an app does not perform equally well on various devices, operating systems or networks, users become frustrated and often the mobile app fails. An app developer should update and test his app from time to time and ensure that the app works on all spectrum smoothly. This will also ensure maximum performance and user satisfaction.

7.Too many co-founders :

Some times too many co-founders add a lot of confusion with too many suggestions and ideas which not only delays the process but also results in the app’s failure. Again on the other hand a single co-founder lacking leadership qualities, can act as a silent killer too. Thus it is better to have not more than two co-founders who must have mutual understanding as well as free will on each others’ ideas. And in case of a single co-founder he must possess all the qualities of a good leader who is capable of guiding his team to win success.

8.Expecting too much:

It is very obvious as well as positive to have expectations. But expectations shall never be great. Especially in case of Gaming apps the app owners must not have too much of expectations. It is necessary for the owner to keep in mind that people will not play a game lifelong, they will gradually get bored of it at one point. Whereas Games launched for any series or movie promotion are nothing other than gimmick. Such apps tend to fade away in the competitive market in no time. Hence it is better not to invest in such short term ventures.

9.Updates:

The App market is changing at a constant pace. As per customer requirements the app trend too keeps changing. That is why the developer must be quick and resolute to make a decision that will push the startup higher, react and adapt efficiently and quickly, be ready for changes in the plan. If apps are not tested frequently, not marketed rapidly and and not continuously delivered it will not be able to reach the desired success.These changes may not be that radical; but it’s never bad to be prepared. A good app developer shall not prolong the next release and instead focus on frequent updates and bug fixes making the app reliable and favorable.

10.Flawed customer support:

To figure out the reasons behind the failure of an app, it is important to pay attention to the user’s comments. The feedback that a developer gets from its app users explains it all. Genuine users are particular to leave comments which can help a developer realize what is truly wrong with the app and how it can be saved from drowning. User’s point of view can also help revive a drowning app and make it a favorite among the users if only the comments and feedback received are taken into proper consideration.

11.Security (Too Much or Too Less):

Even in case of a highly attractive app if there are too many layers that the user has to pass through to access his/her data then chances of that app to survive automatically diminishes and probably soon it gets replaced by another one. Whereas if on the other hand there are no security protocols followed, then the users may not be able to trust the app and the data feed in the app at all. As in case of Banking apps there are usually a number of security checkpoints which generally irritates the user. Hence it is important for the app makers to strike a balance in the security systems, instead of hyping it up or completely neglecting it.

12.Not every idea is that great, and not every failed idea means failure:

The development and execution of an app is vital and forms the app’s basis come what may. Ideas which are inferior and fails an app to create an effect on the users are the ones that the developer should instantly be done away with. As the developer will only end up wasting both time and money on developing a useless app. The startup owner must be sure to gather as much information as possible about the competing/similar products, and analyze their differences. Slowness in app launching or launching it too early without standard publicizing may prove fatal. The idea needs to be closely scrutinized and checked for actual potential before one starts working on it.

Wrapping Up:

These are twelve reasons why a mobile app startup may fail in the app market. Following only these notions does not guarantee success – there are many other factors that may tip the scales against you. And the percentage of failed startups is high. As for instance sometimes it is sheer luck which changes the destiny of a single app. A lot of it is affected by unfortunate timing. If an app is launched on a Monday morning, during a period when there is a money crunch prevailing in the country’s economy or in case of a gaming app if it is launched during the exam seasons in such cases the app does not meet the expected target. In such situations it is found no matter how nicely the app is done it never picks up, it just gets lost in between the millions of other apps.

But this is business, and moving on, keeping these things in mind, will increase your chances for success in the mobile market. Ignorance of even a single issue can be the reason for the failure of a startup business and mobile strategy.
What are your personal experiences? Do put them in the comments below – I would love to hear them !

Slow and steady wins the race.

The Amazing Chinese Bamboo Tree

Recently I came across a small story which is quite famous. The Chinese Bamboo seed is planted in the mud. Constant watering the seed is essential. Fertilizers are put in, but no matter what, very little seems to happen the first year. Despite your efforts, only a tiny shoot pokes out of the ground.

You do the same for 2nd year. Nothing happens. You feel perhaps two years of effort are lost.

3rd year, nothing happens.

4th year, nothing as well.

5th year, nothing. You seem to lose patience.

This continues to 8th year.

Then, suddenly after 8 years of fertilizing & watering, the bamboo tree sprouts & grows 30 ft in just 3 months!

Did the little tree lie dormant for years only to grow exponentially in the 8th year? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer is, of course, obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew.

These days most people don’t have the capacity to focus on something long enough to make it work. If it’s easy, it won’t last. How big are your dreams? Are you willing to do what it takes?

Had the Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth.

Here is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that is as true today as it was when he wrote it over 100 years ago:

“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward through the night.”

Live from Ballarat

Today’s my last day in Ballarat out of my 3 day visit here and I just love the city. Its one of those cities where one could think of settling in after retirement.

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Ballarat is a small city about an hour and a half from Melbourne. Its a historic city which got up during the gold rush. Its very Victorian with all the heritage buildings reminding me of UK.

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The best part of Ballarat is that its got everything you’d need for your daily living – Food, Entertainment, Business along with the peacefulness of the much needed break from the city rush and hustle.

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The roads are large and concrete with a good traffic management system. There are a few uphills and downhills but nothing unpleasant.

I also couldn’t find a 3 storied building in Ballarat, perhaps there isn’t any need for it. I personally stayed at an AirBnB accommodation near Strut street in Ballarat and the house was just lovely. Below are some pictures:

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Myself being a fully vegetarian was not at all a problem. There’s a subway, a Chinese 100% veggie restaurant and plenty of other Indian restaurants where I could fatten myself. I am sure I must have gained a few kgs in these 3 days.

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You don’t need a car in Ballarat – you could go almost anywhere walking within 15-20 minutes or so.

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The roadside shops are mostly glass and no shutters. You just lock your front gates and everything is just fine. I hardly saw a police officer – Not sure if they need the police 🙂

I was in Ballarat on a short business trip. I came to the city to meet a client and am heading back with lovely friends. The people are just so very friendly.

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I didn’t get time for any sight seeing at all, but I wish to come back again with my family for just a small holiday!

Dear Startups, What are you actually selling?

A question comes to my mind which I always want to ask to all startups.

Dear Startups,

What are you really selling? Is it a product or a service? Or your own company ?!

——————————-

When I was a child, I never knew what a start up was. I only new business, businessman, customer, buy, sell, expenses, income.

Today’s jazzy world has come up with fancy names for everything. To start with, some of them are: Entrepreneur, Startups, Meetups, B2B, B2C, VC, Angel Investors etc and what not! A mere Google would reveal hundreds of them. Look for yourself : http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2014/08/29/40-start-up-jargon-words-you-need-to-know-to-raise-money/

I said to myself: wow, People have so much energy to bash around the jargon lingo, I wonder if they put the same into customer relationships and better service!

Honestly, until a few years ago, I didn’t know what was B2B and B2C – I guess I am only a third generation businessman ( My father being second and grandfather being the first generation ). I am yet to learn the tricks of 4th gen kids!

Almost all big companies in today’s world have a customer care. We as a consumer just hate their template based replies, don’t we ? Why not focus your energy on building something beautiful and substantial. There’s no marketing better than word of mouth. Look at Google, do they need to market their search engine ? Any kid learning the internet goes to Google as his first website! Word of mouth peeps!

“Many business people focus on what is static, black and white. Yet great algorithms can be rewritten. A business process can be defined better. A business model can be copied. But the speed of execution is dynamic within you and can never be copied. When you have an idea, figure out the pieces you need quickly, go to the market, believe in it, and continue to iterate.”

Wise words from Gurbaksh Chahal, the founder of Radium One – but sadly, I do not find many startups paying much heed to it. People sit on perfectly good business ideas for too long, and are then in a mad, mad rat race to outsmart its ‘perceived’ rivals. And then, when their startups start moving south, they wonder – “Where did we go wrong?” Well, Sir and Madam, plenty of points.

Today’s startups are more about fundraising than actual work. What’s the big hullabaloo over ‘raising X million dollars’ via IPO?

Why as a customer I should worry about how much money you make. This is a false psychology built up in the mind of the customer. New reports like X company raised Y million dollars makes the public think “wow, they raised so much money, they might be a good idea”.

Rather focus on your core strengths. I don’t say marketing is wrong, but excess marketing without a firm backbone will leave you in a lurch.

Get this – you are not Jack Ma (you might become one day, but that day is not now), and no one is interested in knowing how much your startup has managed to raise. Stop showing off with such flaky announcements – and instead, try to focus on building a stronger base first. You may ask me that for building a stronger base – You need investment – Well, you’re right – You do need investment, but now a days where is most of the investment going? Not all funding are bad or should be avoided but its just that the hype now a days is just overrated!

“You need to know where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves.”

                                                                                — Bob Parsons (Founder, Go Daddy)

But, dear startup owners, most of you are too fond of over-analyzing things. As unpleasant as it sounds, for a company in its nascent stage – advanced accounting concepts like ‘valuation’ and ‘payback period’ and ‘MVP’ and ‘discounted payoff’ really do not matter. Even if you spend (read: waste) your time and resources to calculate them, the figures would be a fraction of that of the market-leaders. Why bother?

There is a simple saying – Don’t count your chicken’s before they hatch. Right now you not only count your chickens, but also count the chickens from the chickens! You’re just overdoing it guys!

I am not suggesting that business figures and metrics need not be monitored though. When you are gradually building up a company from scratch, estimate the following two figures:

  • Cost of Acquisition (COA)
  • Lifetime Value of Acquisition (LVA)

(And yes, put all the other complex calculations on the back-burner).

Accept projects for which LVA > COA, and run a mile from those for which the reverse is true. Bit by bit, your profit figures will grow, and after a few years, you can turn your attentions to more in-depth indicators of your company’s accounting health.

Next up, what’s with the overwhelming urge to go out of your way to please customers? Don’t for a minute think that I am saying customer-satisfaction is not important (it is THE most critical factor), but do not go about providing free service to everyone under the sun. As a startup, you simply cannot afford to spend time, money and man-hours on a project, and not get paid in return. If a client does not ‘show you the money’, do not be at pains to show him/her your expertise.

Case in point: Xmarks, which offered free service for four years, and then went kaput – because it could no longer pay for its hosting expenses, and even failed to pay out salaries to employees. Don’t get into such a sticky mess.

Another example: There was a company called “Caltiger” which offered free internet in Calcutta in 1999-2000. Went for a toss when the model failed. What do we have to say about all the money lost?

Why I personally hate VCs ?

I simply hate VCs – Sorry but I do, but not all of them, there is a cattle class of VCs whom I dislike particularly. In my story, I once approached a VC who failed to look beyond. Honestly, VCs are bunch of people who don’t bother about anything than money. It doesn’t matter to them if the product / service is right or wrong. VCs are not businessmen, they are just opportunists. They have no interest in your company to nurture them. In my honest opinion, they are guys with lot of extra cash and have no plan what to do with it and hence look out for ideas of others and slowly suck everything out from it.

About 8 years ago, I was presenting my company to a bunch of investors/VCs. There were 100 other companies in that event doing the same. The VCs present there had immediate funding options. My pitch was rejected outright because they didn’t understand what I was doing! A blessing in disguise. About 5 companies were chosen for funding that day. I didn’t have any reactions at that time but now when I search for those company which got funded are all shut down and  have no presence. And about 5 odd companies are still alive from those 100 companies and I’m proud to say our company is one of them. Now when I look back, I think to myself – Those VCs weren’t actually smart enough.

The point being- Startups now a days aren’t selling anything like a service or a product really. The end product or service is just a bait to actually sell their own company. The commodity is their own company rather than a product. The name of the product is just a sham and this I simply cannot approve it! Not in my business ethics. A company is like your child and it makes no sense for me to sell it if its already doing good business. Dear startups, would you sell your child? Or is it that you’ve started a new business of producing children and selling them ?

Business is not just about making money. Its about who is making it and how dedicated and how passionate they are about it.

Startups like Nouncer whine about how ‘Twitter/Facebook stole their thunder’. Strangely though, there is no dearth of startup companies which do not think beyond getting acquired by a big, well-established company. They will, in all probability, lose their identity (sigh, Nokia, sigh!) – and disturbingly, they are not bothered about it at all. Dear startups, if you lose your brand name…you lose everything!

About a year back, the world of business was all abuzz about the $19 billion acquisition of  WhatsApp by Facebook. With all due respect to Mark Zuckerberg and his tremendous business acumen – was this acquisition a good thing for WhatsApp? On a personal front, I do not think so, since being viewed as ‘a Facebook product’ would hardly do WhatsApp any favor (except, perhaps, expand its reach globally).

The ease with which Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is snapping up startups left, right and center seems even more weird. I mean, Ms. Mayer is strengthening the base of her company, but why are so many startups readily agreeing for the acquisitions? The fat paychecks from these deals have started a new trend – entrepreneurs are launching startups SOLELY TO COME TO THE NOTICE OF THE BIG PLAYERS – and selling them off for a nice, big sum. If this continues, that day won’t be far when the entire concept of ‘startups’ will get obliterated. Totally.

So, what is the right way to go about? For starters, resist the temptation (and the shortcut) of creating a company only for the sake of selling it. No one in the world can become a millionaire at 30 years of age, and remain so, only by selling his/her company to a big fish. Do not make products that impress the big-shot in your industry – and focus on customer preferences instead. The initial years will be difficult for a small fish in a big pond, but if you stick to your guns, your company can emerge as one of the big fishes.

“Do you want to be a small fish in a BIG POND, or a BIG FISH in a small pond?” – take a stand on this very, very carefully.

Although Coca Cola is one of the biggest companies in the world, there is a lot to learn for startups from it too. Just think – if the much-hyped and universally-hated ‘New Coke’ had not been withdrawn within 90-odd days – the company probably would not have survived till now. The key takeaway from this is, the makers were flexible and clever enough to understand that they had made an error. Coke Classic returned, and all was hunky-dory again.

“A good idea is not enough. Business aren’t just about ideas, businesses are about execution. Don’t get too enamored with your own idea.”

— Brian Sharples (Co-founder, HomeAway).

Strangely, this willingness to accept an error is lacking in many startup owners. Most newfangled entrepreneurs feel that their ideas are the best on earth – even when the chinks and cracks become apparent. Money is spent, resources are wasted, and employees are heckled, to run after impractical, unfeasible dreams. Every corporate leader makes mistakes – but only those who are smart enough to own up to them survive. Got my point?

As a startup owner, you can also face a myriad of other problems – ranging right from incompetent employees, lethargic partners and workplace conflicts, to unforeseen cash outflows, unfulfilled sales projections and competition from already well-established rivals. I would love to see you guys put up a fight, stay committed to your startup company – and you never know when you will be standing at the cusp of success.

“If you are doing something that has a universal, timeless need, then you need to think of the company in a timeless way.”

— Scott Heiferman (Co-founder, Meetup)

Bottom line? Any good act gets recognized, no matter how small it is. Keep doing your good work, focus on the things you really have to rather than getting attracted to do something large start with something small and one day you will definitely be rewarded !

Keep going, folks!

Open letter to Didi Mamata Banerjee

Dear Didi,

My response is to your Facebook post about “The Ease of Doing Business in Bengal reaches a new level.”.

I don’t think its easy to do business in West Bengal. Specially when TMC License department and WB sales tax department officers never bother to entertain commoners without bribe. If Bengal has to progress, first you must remove all the co
rruption in the very first step of starting a business. Each Trade License is charged at Rs 1000-2000 bribe. WB tax registrations cost about the same. The Babus never talk to anyone except the so called agents. Dear madam, first you must analyze the ground reality of Kolkata and then take necessary action to improve it and make everything online. I bring to your notice that it takes almost one month to register a new business which is not only a problem to the owners but a loss to the government. If the government removes corruption, more owners will be welcomed when the middleman is cut off.

West Bengal is the land of agriculture, but when it comes to the ground reality, the poor man is not earning anything even after working the hardest in the sun. The prices of Potatoes are lower than cost of producing it. Why no farmer wants to product potatoes anymore? Why so many farmers committed suicide? This is all linked to corruption. Do you think the news is not going to the investors about corruption in Bengal?

As a commoner, any government work which can be done by individual is given to the agent. Without agents the work doesn’t progress. Why this Agent-Babu relation is encouraged? Does the government pay less to the Babus for which they ask more bribe ? If they don’t ask for bribe, they start troubling. Didi, I think you know all this very well, I just wanted to re-iterate the facts for your reminder.

Dear Didi, If we, your own countrymen are facing problem, what will the foreigners face? How can you promote brand Bengal with so much corruption at every stage?

In so many interior parts of Bengal, there is no business. Do you think Business is only about cities? What about villagers? They have no hope. Again, rich becomes richer and poor is becoming poorer. In many areas, farmers are selling off their land as Agriculture is no more profitable. Why? Bengal has 97% cultivable land and yet this is the sad state of Agriculture.

Compare it with Denmark. Bengal is as big as Denmark in area ( Slightly less). But look at their transparency and process of work – It has made a name in the world as the country for most high tech agriculture. Why this cannot be in Bengal ? Why more focus is given to outside investment when we can be self sufficient. Bengal is very rich in its soil. Why then middlemen are making most money ?

Its my humble request to improve the internal policies to build a non corrupt system and then the investments will come by its own by looking. You have to set an example of how friendly the businesses are in Bengal. Only seminars will not help. If any foreign company will inquire about Bengal, they will only get a report about corruption – Who will invest ? Dear Didi, imagine yourself as a business owner, will you ever invest in a country where without corruption, nothing works. The simple answer is no.

Yours Sincerely,
A Common Young Entrepreneur in Kolkata.

Back!

After almost a break of 4 years I’m finally back. I must apologize to my readers for taking the time off. I am honest enough to admit that I was focusing on minting money and that I had lost interest in writing anymore. Suddenly, I felt like writing today which has not only broken my writer’s block but also given me an opportunity to talk directly to my readers.

I remember one of my employee who was an avid reader of my blog come to me and ask about why I stopped writing. I hope he’s reading this as I still remember his words while I am starting to write again.

Over the last 9 odd years, I have been blogging continuously and except for the last few years. I have blogged from technology to religion to politics to personalities. Almost anything which came in my mind.

So why was I away?

Just two reasons and nothing else.

– I was busy in expanding and focusing on business
– I had a writer’s block – Just didn’t feel like writing at all.

So what’s changed over the last four years?

– I have been catching up with few of my childhood friends. I took a trip to Leh/Ladakh in Kashmir which was quite a memorable one.
– I am still a vegetarian – Going strong.
– I am married and have a little baby girl now.
– My skin is growing old and I have started to realize that I’ve lost the evergreen look – I am working on it to get it back soon.
– I have grown all the more spiritual in my research. Performed Hajj in 2014.
– I have stopped listening to Mr. Jagjit Singh after he died. I do listen to him sometimes, but I feel as if the sparkle has gone. Sometimes I listen to old Rabindra sangeet songs and Pankaj Udhas when I feel like, but with him gone, the music’s gone too.
– My patience level has increased exponentially. I have become very calm and tolerant
– My talks have become more logical and convincing.
– Felt almost 4 earthquakes in last 4 years.
– I have moved to a larger office wherein I feel like home – Only thing missing is a bed.
– Expansion operations at office have started for Australia and Sweden.
– I miss conferences and events as I’ve not been quite social these years.
– And many more things..
– The most important thing is that I am happy and content with everything around me and I am thankful for everything.

I don’t know if I’d continue writing or not. I make no promises but I do promise to try.

Why Indians should stop buying GOLD?

Why are we Indians fascinated about Gold so much?

Having a friend’s or relative’s marriage in future? Mere 1 gm of gold coin costing about <3k INR would sound mightier than a washing machine costing about 8k INR. Over the last 5-6 years, Gold has been the most promising investment. Giving about 25% returns in a year. However, there is a problem. Gold is just a shiny metal which is over-hyped. I remember I attended a workshop in Bombay stock exchange where in the ex-president of the BSE just ridiculed Gold as an investment.

Some of my thoughts:

1. Gold is very trustworthy metal. It has a proven record in the history of mankind to bring them out of trouble in times of need – Be it marriage, Be it war, Be it a big loan repayment – Gold comes in handy. About 6-8% of human mind in India revolves around Gold. Whenever they want to go for ‘shopping’ when they have large amount save, they would buy GOLD. I know many people who would spend their entire savings only to buy GOLD. There are Gold schemes in India which encourages everyone to invest a part of their salary in GOLD every month!

2. Fact: Gold is not mined in India so much. Gold has to be imported. Like OIL, Gold is very less in India but the increasing demand has created a lot of Gold imports in India.

3. Gold is nothing but a stagnant yellow metal:  You practically can’t use Gold to do anything. Just sit back and relax while its locked in your locker. Its just a useless metal which has blocked minds of innocent Indians with its glittering sparkle! Btw, over the years, I’ve found one great use of gold. You can make Gold wires in your homes electrical cabling. Gold is a very good conductor with a very low power loss in transmission! I.e if you care for electricity bills and I.e if you’re super duper filthily richie rich!
But hey, for an average Indian, a locked asset in their locker – which they take a look at only to see that its safe, gives them mental peace and a feeling of superiority over others which is far more satisfying than a good meal – So yes, Gold does bring mental peace to Indians which is an Irony understated.

4. What next: Once you have all this Gold which is already imported into India by millions of buyers, what next? Since Gold has no other practical use, no one wants to trade gold with one another unless something important comes up like financial crisis or war. What’s the probability of such happening and to how much percentage of the general public? So basically it becomes a lumpy piece of metal lying in your locker giving you mental peace ONLY without any economic growth.

5. India doesn’t sell Gold. May be it does but the percentage is very less. Why would someone want to buy gold from India. Yes, Iran would get gold from India because India cannot pay them for the imported Oil – Due to the dollar problem (Not that Indian cannot pay)

In Conclusion: What can you do as an Indian ?
Its practically impossible to tell any Indian “Stop buying gold”. It would be like telling an Indian “Be there on time – Sharp”. What’s recommended is that do not buy Gold if you have excess cash. Invest in something else – in may be a business! Or something else..! Give a percentage of it as charity..

Mark my words when I say this: The more Gold India imports, the more liability will it add in the future. So its my very humble request to all you super duper richie rich fellas reading this blog – Invest wisely. All that glitters is not gold!

Apple iOS in-app purchase hacking – How to prevent specially com.zeptolab.ctrbonus.superpower1 hacks

Today I am going to list of various mechanism used by hackers to overcome our in-app purchase utility of one of our top apps in books section called “Story Time for Kids”

As you are aware apple stores each purchase receipts and allows developers an interface to verify each receipt before delivering the purchases (unlocking). Recently many jailbreakers have tried to hack into our system and unlock in-app content for free. I will discuss some very popular mechanisms and how we’ve tried to solve them:

1. Change the DNS of the iPhone. Hackers changed the DNS of the device and instead of redirecting the verification of purchase receipts to Apple servers, they could redirect it to their own custom server and send a custom verification. This way the app would get unlocked and no one would ever come to know. However, the good news is that Apple has patched this and now its kinda safe.

2. Change of DNS of the server side verification. If your in app purchase verifies the receipt via a server, then hackers could change the url via a firewall / middle-ware in between which could return a positive purchase of the unlockable item. There are many apps in Cydia who can do this and you as a owner will never come to know that the purchase was unlocked. Unfortunately there is no out of the box solution except your app keeps checking periodically with an online database if it was purchased or not.

3. Change of Product ID – Spoofing : Many jailbroken iOS devices just change the outgoing purchase receipt to an existing valid purchase receipt. (There are background apps to do this). Our server will then send this to Apple server for verification and guess what, apple will send a confirmation! A sheer good trick. But we’re smarter. Before sending the receipt for verification, unpack it (base64_decode) and extract out the product_id from it. Then check if the product_id is your genuine product or not. If not, just cancel it out. The most famous spoofed product id is :

com.zeptolab.ctrbonus.superpower1

If you encounter any product ID apart from your own, then simply block them. They are not genuine at all!