Monday, December 22, 2008

UK Press Release

Just posting our UK press release from today...
GASBAG LAUNCHES IN THE UK TO FIND CHEAP PETROL ON THE IPHONE

Free software from jamcode LLC will help commuters find cheap gas prices anywhere, anytime, while on the move

Mountain View, Calif. – December 23rd, 2008 – jamcode LLC, the leader in rich-mapping applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, today announced their best-selling iPhone application GasBag is now available in the UK and Australia. This easy to use application enables users to locate gas stations and the cheapest gas prices while on the move, and is available for FREE from the Apple App Store.

GasBag was launched in the US in late August and has grown at a staggering pace, with a user-base of hundreds of thousands of dedicated users. jamcode is now looking to leverage that experience and a partnership with WhatGas LTD to drive a similar community in the UK.



A video of GasBag in action can also be viewed at: http://blip.tv/file/1067165/.

“The user take up of GasBag was far better than we expected; we hit number 1 in the Navigation category within the first few weeks,” said Mick Johnson, CEO and co-Founder of jamcode LLC. “By focusing on the user interface and making it as easy as possible to submit data, the user community expanded rapidly, which in turn drives the accuracy of our data.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with the jamcode team in introducing GasBag to the UK market”, said Alistair Taylor, WhatGas LTD. Our company, www.whatgas.com, has been providing a web-based gas price data service to users throughout the UK with a large dedicated user-base. By teaming up with jamcode we can now collectively share gas price data feeds and leverage the rich-mapping functionality GasBag provides on the iPhone platform.”

To provide users with information about gas stations and prices in the immediate area, GasBag takes advantage of the location platform on the iPhone and iPod Touch. GasBag works best on these devices because they are the only ones that use location from Skyhook Wireless.

“The iPhone's location platform offers GasBag instant location results, regardless of environment,” said Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook Wireless. “As the mobile application market matures, applications that offer useful information based on accurate user location will be the most successful. GasBag's early popularity serves as an indication of this market direction.”

A critical part of jamcode’s monetization strategy centers on delivering targeted mobile advertising to its users in an unobtrusive fashion. By partnering with companies such as Mobclix, GasBag features ads that can be targeted to users.

"We are excited to be working with jamcode in serving mobile Ad's to the GasBag community," said Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of mobclix. Our business at mobclix is all about increasing the monetization opportunity for developers, and given finding cheap gas is to everyone's interest, working with jamcode so we can serve Ads to GasBag is an ideal application scenario."

Monday, December 15, 2008

World Domination

Well, it's a big day at jamcode HQ... actually that's not quite true: our HQ dweller is in FNQ at the moment, but we'll get to that. Today is a big day because GasBag has just launched in the UK and Australia!

In the UK, we've partnered with Whatgas as a provider of pricing data. Whatgas have been great to work with, and we're looking forward to what should be an awesome year of saving UK drivers cash.

In Australia, we're relying on you -- we've populated our database with a pretty respectable selection of petrol stations, but we're relying on our users to make this work. So get out there now, grab the application and start using it. In case you're thinking "why would I use this thing when there's no prices in there?" well, GasBag is a great way to find petrol stations, which can be more useful than you think: stations that are closer together tend to have lower prices just through competition. But that's not all! It also includes a nifty mileage tracker that you can use to work out how much you're spending on petrol and how efficient your car is. Better yet: every time you use the mileage tracker, we'll calculate the price you paid, and use that to update our database. It's a win-win situation.

We're also pretty proud of this achievement, because it's the first time an application like this has scaled across multiple countries, which has been a pretty significant amount of work, both for our servers, and for the iPhone app itself.

But what are you doing still reading this? Go download it now! And tell all your friends, or Lillian's cousin, Bazza, will attack.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Price aging

We do get queries along the lines of "Why will i update a price and the next week it is gone to $0.00". We have to find a good balance between conflicting goals here:

- Display accurate prices
- Constant price data
- Feedback on user input

After 2 or 3 days, a price is normally too out of date to give any meaningful information for comparing stations in a given area. For this reason, after that time we stop showing that price. By coming up as 0.00, this also alerts other users that this station needs to be updated again.

We start showing the age of the price in days to give people a bit more information on this as well. If the price is still accurate, you should be able to just tap the "These prices are still correct" button and we'll reset the age stamps on those prices.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finding your UDID

A few people have asked, so here's the quick and easy way to find your UDID:

- Plug your iPhone / iPod Touch into your computer and wait until iTunes recognizes it.
- Select your iPhone / iPod Touch from the Devices list in iTunes and click the "Summary" tab.
- To see your UDID, click on the word "serial number" beside the picture of the iPhone / iPod Touch.
- You should see the word "identifer" and an alphanumeric string – this is your UDID.
- To copy it, just press command + C on your Mac's keyboard (or control + C in Windows)

This helps us do a couple of things:
* Identify any error messages your phone in particular has sent through to our servers
* Potentially create a debug build of GasBag that you can install on your phone using the Ad-Hoc distribution method

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today: The Server, Tomorrow: THE WORLD.

Last night, we rolled out a new version of the server code that runs GasBag. This is the nuts and bolts that runs behind the scenes and makes sure that all the prices you've been submitting are made available to all the rest of our community. The new server rollout adds a lot of new stuff, most notably it will be more lenient about what kind of submissions it will accept from our users (hopefully reducing frustration that price-updates don't go through), and it introduces support for international operation (Pounds, Aussie Dollars, Litres, Kilometres and so-on). There's also a lot of other features deep under the hood, but if we've done our job properly, that's all stuff that no-one should ever notice, except that the quality of our data should improve over time. We're pretty excited about it all, because we're planning to use this as the platform to take GasBag to the rest of the world.

This is a move we've been planning for the last couple of months, and is the culmination of a lot of work at our end, and a lot of great feedback from our awesome beta-testers.

That said, if you hit any glitches in the next little while, it's probably because of the new server. We'll be keeping a pretty close eye on it and will be rolling out fixes as soon as we can get them done, but bear with us during this transition period, and we'll try to keep everything humming along.

- James.

Friday, October 31, 2008

NY Times review


Peter Wayner from the NY Times posted a general article about iPhone applications related to cars. This covered G-Tac, Dynolicious, Car Care, Rev, Car Finder, and GasBag. You need to register in order to read the article at:



http://nytimes.com/2008/10/30/automobiles/autospecial2/30phone.html



I do still think it's a smart move to source user data and present it in a useful fashion for a free application, although it also presents its own challenges.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SMH


We just got a great article from the Sydney Morning Herald describing our collective lack of sleep :-)



http://www.smh.com.au/news/smart-phone/sleeps-for-the-weak-iphone-goldmine-for-geeks/2008/10/14/1223750013791.html



I think it's important to note that GasBag is the result of very hard work by everyone at jamcode - while it's fun for me to be a face on the page that doesn't really reflect the reality of what everyone's done so far.



And I was watching Die Hard when that picture was taken :-)

AustralianIT coverage


Mahesh Sharma from the Australian wrote a great piece on jamcode and how far it's come in the month we've been around. 



http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,24486900-15306,00.html



Mahesh said "An Aussie-led Silicon Valley start-up could be one of the first groups in the world to develop an advertiser-supported business model for an iPhone application."



I think that's really key to long-term success in this market, building services that actually run at a profit while still being really useful to users.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

100k

Dear all,

Well it's been quite an amazing journey since we started this a few months ago. In the 6 weeks we've been on the App Store we've had 100,000 downloads in the United States - a number I never thought we'd reach in such a short time. 

The energy and enthusiasm we get from the user community is great! We're in every state of the US now, and we're hearing a lot of requests from overseas to bring GasBag there. Stay tuned for more details :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

iTnews coverage

Liz Tay from the iTnews.com.au wrote a great little piece on GasBag coming to the Australian market. 



http://www.itnews.com.au/News/85960,iphone-startup-brings-fuel-price-app-to-australia.aspx



Liz Tay noted: "Another challenge could be competition from Google, which recently partnered with petrol price monitoring company Motormouth to provide a similar Web-based application."



MotorMouth have a great system that works quite differently from our own, so I'm looking forward to seeing how both types operate in Australia over the next year or so.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

More from TechNation

Kim from TechNation did an update on us, particularly with reference to other developments in fuel price mapping for Australia. Good job Kim!


"....the GasBag iPhone app is so much sexier than the google version that on pure usability alone they should come out in front!"

Obviously we've come a long way since the initial post - 2 and a half months of development, 4 weeks on the App Store, and 75,000 users later, I think we can say we've learnt a lot. The trans-Pacific thing has been a challenge but so far we seem to be meeting that. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

TechNation coverage

Kim Heras from TechNation just the first ever piece on jamcode! Great article on where we want to go.


Kim noted "It’ll be interesting to see if they can do the trans-Pacific development thing and if they get the necessary pickup of GasBag to reassure them that they’re onto a winner." I guess that will be one of the key challenges for us - working together effectively despite the time and geography differences.