Home of:

Developer Resources, Mobile Advertising

Featured Mobster: TextPics

July 13, 2011

“Smiley Faces Are So Last Year” – the motto of TextPics, a Creative ASCII Art app that enables iPhone to iPhone customizable SMS text art–and also our newest Featured Mobster! In case you are wondering, text art, or “textpics”, are images that appear hand-drawn and are made up of printable text characters, allowing them to be easily transmitted through text-based communication channels such as SMS. Textpics also provide the ability to customize your own text messages with funky text styles, whether it be celebratory designs, animals, even food! We had the opportunity to chat with Austin Butler, the founder of FTW Innovations, about developing TextPics and his experience with Mobclix.

Total Downloads: 1,500,000

1) What inspired you to build the app?

As an old-school web developer and guy who grew up with chat rooms and the like, I’ve always loved retro internet fads like 8bit graphics and ASCII Art. One day as I was randomly browsing ASCII Art archives, it hit me how awesome it would be to send some of the smaller pics (like our current icon!) as text messages. All at once, the idea for the app hit me, and it was just a matter of finding an Object-C programmer and whipping up a good design. Unfortunately, it took a lot more money than I expected, and 6 months just to get the prototype app built–but it was worth it!

2) Why does the ad revenue model make sense for you?

For a few weeks last year, TextPics made it to #3 on the US AppStore, and my numbers of downloads for the free app were staggering. I realized that people were very happy simply sticking with the free app, since it worked exactly the same, and actually came with a pretty good selection of free pics. I began experimenting with using ads as a revenue model without upsetting my user base. I struck a balance of ads and giving more free pics, which ended up being a good choice and has been bringing in solid earnings since.

3) Why did you choose Mobclix?

When I looked into placing ads in TextPics Free, I did a little research and it seemed that the mobile ad market was extremely fragmented, with different programming APIs all over. Mobclix brought this together into a single unified API with a simple setup process. This kept my development costs down, while giving me access to a huge number of ad providers.

4) What tips do you have for other developers?

The mobile market is the Wild West of the technology world. A single issue can cause your ranking to plummet, and a mention from the proper sources can reap you earnings like you would never believe. A good idea will be cloned within weeks. Charging more than pennies makes you greedy. The bottom line is that even though it feels like walking a minefield sometimes, there is still amazing possibility for rewards and creativity. Just be very careful to think through every change extremely thoroughly!


Leave a Reply


See What People
Are Saying


“T-Mobile was able to delight customers with a fun game that could work across virtually any phone, with Velti making it possible. Velti was great to work with & their commitment to the success of the program was excellent.” - Chad Hodge, T-Mobile USA

Pic Stitch_logo

“The thing I love about Mobclix is its simplicity--sign up & you have instant access to over 35 ad networks. Not only that, but I’ve already seen a 400% increase in revenue from March, and 12M impressions a week!” - Alex Keim, Creator of Pic Stitch, Big Blue Clip  


"Mobclix greatly helps manage & control the quality of our ads, and as a result, our Fruit Ninja app made over $400,000 in April 2012 alone off of ad-network sales." - Jared Oats, Advertising Manager, Halfbrick


“TinyCo is thrilled to be working with the Velti Exchange—we’ve seen great results from the campaigns we’ve run so far and are excited about the future of our relationship!” - Growth & User Acquisition Team, Tinyco


“We strongly believe that mobile marketing and advertising is here and we have already taken the first successful steps in partnering with Velti in this new era for the mobile industry.” - MTC Russia


“Velti has shown consistent respect for policies and procedures, in addition to designing and implementing the campaigns. We look forward to continuing this fruitful cooperation in the future.” - MBC Group

Follow us


Who is Velti?

Subscribe to Newsletter