Releasing a Mobile App – Using your own App Developers Account or Not

August 7, 2018

When development on your mobile application is complete, you’ll have a couple of choices to make regarding the account under which it will be released: 1. Does your app require a standard or an enterprise account? 2. If it requires a standard account, should you create your own or have your custom software development company release your app under their account? While the answer to the first question is decidedly simple and straightforward, the answer to the second question is by no means one-size-fits-all. Rather, the best decision for you will depend on your business’s priorities.

Standard vs Enterprise Developer Account

  • App Store – Standard Account: A standard account is the proper choice for an organization releasing an app to the general public via the App Store. Apple developer accounts cost $99 per year to maintain.

  • App Store – Enterprise Account: An enterprise account is the proper choice when releasing an app privately within one’s organization. It will not be available in the App Store. Apple developer enterprise accounts cost $299 per year to maintain.

  • Google Play Store: For either scenario, you’ll simply need a Google Play developer account, which requires only a one time $25 registration fee. Enterprise apps then require the use of an API for distribution within your organization.

As previously mentioned, this is a simple decision guided by whether your app is for public or private use. The next section is where things can become less clear. If your app is for private use, this will not pertain to you – by nature of your distribution needs, you’ll have to create your own enterprise account. On the other hand, if your app is for public use, your app development company will likely ask whether you want to release your app under your own account or under their account. Read on for information regarding the implications of that decision.

Releasing Your App Under Your Software Development Shop’s Account:

  • Visibility: Perhaps the biggest benefit to releasing your app under your development shop’s account is that because this is the business they’re in, they likely have many other well-regarded apps on their account, too. This builds their “authority” in the app stores, similar to how domain authority works on the web, and will cause your app to rank higher in search than it would under an account with only an app or two. The resulting increase in visibility is absolutely crucial to acquiring users. Seriously, we can’t overstate the importance of finding ways to improve your position in search. In fact, we’ll be publishing a lengthy post all about App Store Optimization soon – keep an eye out!

  • Convenience: Setting up an Apple developer account for your organization requires a D-U-N-S® number. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to apply for one, which can take several weeks. This may delay the release of your app, so if timing is a top priority, this alone could be the deciding factor. If you have your developer release your app under their account, you don’t need to bother with any of that. Plus, you’ll also get to avoid the $99 annual account fee and never have to worry about account maintenance, like keeping your payment information current. A note: the Google Play Store has less cumbersome requirements, but if you’re having your development shop handle your iOS app release, you may as well have them do both.Convenience, higher visibility, and a quicker launch are worth a lot, but there are also a few reasons to consider releasing the app on your own.

Releasing Your App Under Your Own Developer Account:

  • Optics: Frankly, having your own company listed as the developer on an app that you’ve created looks good. It is less potentially confusing for users trying to locate your app and it lends an air of credibility to your brand. Additionally, if you intend to create more apps in the future, your name in the developer slot will serve as a link to your other offerings.

  • Access to Tools: Members of the Apple developer program are given access to beta OS releases and the newest software development kits. While your development partner can give you access by proxy, it creates an extra step for you. Especially if you have a developer on staff to do maintenance on your app, you may want to eliminate the nuisance of a middle man and save some time by receiving them directly from Apple.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Finally, if your development partner ever goes out of business, you’ll have to go through the trouble of creating your own account after all in order to transfer the app over so that it doesn’t get removed from the store. While probably the least compelling reason to go one way or the other, it was worth a mention, especially if your experience with a developer has left you wondering whether they’ll be able to stay afloat.

As you can see, the choice you’ll want to make is really dependent on the needs of your particular business. Hopefully this post helped demystify what can seem like an unimportant or inconsequential decision, but if you have further questions be sure to bring them up to your developer. Part of their job is to give you unbiased information and advice that will help your application succeed.

If you have any additional questions regarding this topic feel free to contact us at 303-325-2607 or send your questions to [email protected].

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