Box pays developers to bring in more apps

The cloud-storage company rolls out a new program to grow its platform by paying developers for apps with active customers.

Box

Enterprise storage company Box will pay its third-party developers for users that help grow the platform, the company announced Thursday.

The company's new developer program, which launches with 10 developers but will expand to all developers within a month or two, will pay app creators based on user activity.

The focus is on users who not only spend a lot of time on the productivity apps provided by Box's OneCloud platform, but also draw in others by sharing files with people who are not Box users yet. Box already tracks how customers use various apps, so it's easy for the company to add a revenue based on how many customers use the app, according to Chris Yeh, Box's senior vice president of platform.

"These kinds of behavior are really interesting to us. We can get more sophisticated in paying developers," Yeh said.

Box launched its OneCloud platform with 30 apps in March 2012 and has grown to 500 apps within the last year. It lets developers access Box's 15 million cloud storage users, and lets Box distribute more business apps and attract new users.

When a user chooses a third-party app from OneCloud, the user is sent to the App Store to download and purchase the app. Box's new program gives developers another revenue stream.

The traditional app revenue structure pays developers a percentage based on the number of downloads, but that model favors game apps, which generate a lot of downloads and in-app purchases. There's much less money in productivity apps in that structure, according to Yeh.

Update, 9:41 a.m. PT: Clarified how users download and purchase apps through OneCloud.

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