‘Indie App Santa’ returns, offering 40 deals on free and discounted iPhone apps this year • TechCrunch
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for free and discounted iPhone apps, that is. Here’s your reminder that today marks the return of Indie app goblin, started an initiative to help smaller app developers reach new audiences without having to pay for expensive App Store ads. The event, which started in 2020, is now in its third year, and offers both a Twitter feed of offers as well as a separate advent calendar app where iPhone users can unlock one premium app either for free or for a significant discount each day.
The deals start today, December 1, 2022, and run through January 10, 2023. It’s kind of like a month-long Black Friday event, but only for indie apps. While TechCrunch doesn’t usually write about sales or promotions, this one is worth checking out as it inevitably turns up some undiscovered gems and helps support the indie app developer community.
This year, the Indie App Santa event will feature 40 offerings across an expanded number of categories, including mobile games. Although the names of the apps have not been released in advance, Indie App Santas creator François Boulais says there is at least one app that won an Apple Design Award that emerged this year. He also notes that half of the offers shown will be for free downloads of otherwise paid apps rather than just discounts.
Boulais credits two friends who help him run the event, back-end developer Jean Delasalle and front-end developer Thibault Saint-Germain.
Although participating developers must offer discounts to join, they end up reaping the rewards in other ways. Beyond the initial increase in users, the increased exposure often helps them become long-term loyal users who also leave higher ratings and reviews. It also gives their app a boost in the App Store charts around one of the busiest times of the year for downloads – the holidays. And the apps that offer other in-app purchases have the opportunity to profit from increased sales in the days following the listing of the deal.
As Luilux’s developer, Christian Lobach, noted last year: “I’ve spent more money on search ad campaigns with much worse results [sic].”
This year’s event started with today’s launch of Position Pal, a mobile app that cleverly uses the motion sensors in AirPods to help you improve your neck, shoulder and back posture without the need for an additional tracking device of any kind. Instead, the app tracks whether your neck tilts and sends an alert. Normally, the Pro subscription is $14.99, according to the Indie App Santa listing, but users today can go into the app’s settings and choose a Lifetime free plan.
Additional offers will be released in the coming weeks, which you can stay tuned for The @indieappsanta Twitter feed or by downloading the app. If you choose the latter, you get the experience of tapping little festive windows that open to reveal the free or discounted app’s icon. You can then tap through to learn more about the app and make an appointment and install the app on your iOS device. If you choose to support the program through a $4.99 in-app purchase, you’ll get access to other features like push notifications to notify you of deals as soon as they arrive, alternate app icons, and soon widgets. Many don’t necessarily pay for the feature set, but they pay to support the program itself — and the app lets you increase your donation, too.