Monday, June 15, 2015

Screw Samsung, I am doing it myself!

In my previous pos I told you how bad Samsung's Seller Office is (the site that developers are supposed to use to add/update apps, view downloads/sales statistics, buyer comments, etc.)

One thing I complained about, was that there was no easy way to tell actually how much your app has sold. There are "Statistics" and "Accounting" sections on this site.

Statistics break way too often - in my last post I complained they are broken for the 3rd time, guess what - they are still broken.
When they work, they don't reflect all the data (I have proven that in my last post) and the numbers they give you are "net" sales - before Samsung cuts their 30%, some countries take VAT, some mobile carriers take a percentage too. At it varies from country to country and from carrier to carrier.
Still, when they work, they are somehow useful as a rough estimation.

Accounting data seems to be more accurate. I guess they had the common sense to put someone with at least half a brain in charge of accounting data. But whoever designed the features on the site ... well, let's say he is not the brightest star in the sky. Not by a long shot.

So, until now, I had to choose between Statistics that don't work and accounting data that looks accurate but is too raw - too much useless information and no overview (e.g. no "Total" fields).

There is one way though - in the accounting data, there is this button labeled "Excel". When you click it - surprise, surprise - it downloads an excel file, containing the same raw information. It takes some search-and-replacing to transform the data they give you to something Excel actually recognizes as numbers. But then, you can select the last column and, lo and behold, you get a total number of dollars. For that month. Repeat this for all months, sum the totals and you get the total amount of money your app has made! It takes less than half an hour to get this number! I really wanna slap someone.

But yesterday, after statistics have been broken for 4 days, I thought - "Hey, wait a minute! The information is there, in the accounting excels. Yes, it takes some fiddling to get to the totals, but this process can be automated. Like, what computer programs do. And I happen to create computer programs for a living, as well as for fun."

So, I created a computer program :)
It looks like this:

It scans my downloads folder" for xls files, parses them, recognizes the ones containing Samsung's sales information, extracts the data and presents it to me in the shape I want it.
That is - with grand total, monthly totals and "daily" totals. Well, technically it is not "daily", it is "between 2 samples", but if I download this excel every day, it is daily. It also gives me per-country breakdown for each of these categories. It even works fast - I haven't measured it precisely, but it takes less than half a second from double-clicking the shortcut icon to presenting the data. Pretty neat.
Oh, and it took me a couple of hours to do it, and that is because I have very little experience with C# (I chose to do it with C# for learning), so I had to google how things are done like every 5 minutes.

I wish I could scrape the info from their website, instead of having to manually download the excel files, but I can't - there is a login I don't know how to get past from my program (i.e. how to simulate user/pass entry). But it is not really a big deal - once a day (with my morning coffee) I have to log in, download the excel and run my program. And I check the site often anyway, to check for buyer comments, because they don't have the option to send me an e-mail when a new one arrives (or an old one is edited), so I have to poll.
Ideally, if I figure out how to get past the log in, I could make my program get the sales data AND buyer comments, analyze it, notify me of any changes ... and have it displayed on my smart home server, just because I can :)

Now, I can only hope Samsung's accounting data is indeed accurate and updated daily.

For the moment, it looks like it is updated way more often than once a day - this morning I got different data in several tries within less than 2 hours.

What is a bit alarming is the numbers it shows - there is no way I have done so many sales for one day!  At least according to their statistics, my app usually sells between 10 and 25 copies a day, with rare "peaks" to 30+. For my app to make $100+ it has to have around 100 downloads (it currently costs $1.99 and almost 50% of them go for taxes and commissions).
So, there are 3 options:
1: My app suddenly started selling exceptionally well, just after I made the program to track it - doesn't sound very likely, does it? This only works in the field of quantum physics :)
2: The data actually reflects more than 1 day (since today is Monday, it could be reflecting the whole weekend) - this sounds most likely to me
3: There is a bug in my code - completely possible, but looking at the raw data confirms the results.

Anyway, time will tell.

By the way, as I am looking at the data they give me more carefully now, I am starting to realize what a big mess it is. I think it deserves a separate post with many examples and pictures, so stay tuned.

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