An app reskin is taking an app and making an identical copy of the source code to make it look different from the original. The source code of both apps remains 100% identical, with the change only being in that of the logo and designs.
For example, if you owned the source code to the popular app Angry Birds, you could create a reskin copy called Crazy Cats, where you launched kittens out of a slingshot to hurt mice. While the game would look differently, the source code would remain completely the same, with the only change being to the graphics of the game.
The reason we require all mobile app sellers to clarify if they are selling a reskinned app is to let buyers know if there might be another app that is near identical to theirs.
It’s important to note that buying a reskinned app isn’t necessarily bad. There are many reskinned apps on the marketplace that do very well. That being said, if you buy a reskinned app, there is nothing stopping the owner of the source code from turning around and making 20 apps that are nearly identical to yours.
Looking to Buy a Reskinned App?
Now that you know what an app reskin is, as well as the potential pitfalls, it’s important to understand what you can do to mitigate any risk on your part.
The first thing is to check to make sure the seller has the right to sell the source code. If the source code was licensed, there is a good chance that they do not have the right to sell the source code. If you’re unsure if the seller is allowed to be selling an app, and they cannot provide you with proof, please report the seller and we will investigate the issue further.
As mentioned earlier, one of the big drawbacks of a reskinned app is there can be a near identical copy of your app out there on the marketplace. This can create a competitive nightmare for you in the future, as the seller may also be selling different versions of your reskinned app. To combat this, you may want to discuss with the seller to gauge the impact of the reskinned app competition. Things to look out for include: The number of reskinned apps, and how that may impact your app’s future performance and revenue. One suggestion is to utilize certain contracts, such as a non-compete, to limit the level of competition from the seller.
So, Are Reskinned Apps Safe to Buy?
The simple answer is yes. As long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls of a reskinned app, these operate the same way (and are not any less safe) than a non-reskinned app. Reskinned apps require a lot more due diligence for the buyer, but they can also be found for a fraction of the price compared to a uniquely coded, non-reskinned app. If you don’t have much money to spend, reskinned apps can provide a great introduction into the apps marketplace.
Regardless of if an app is reskinned or not, it is always recommended to perform your due diligence and research on if an app is right for you. Buying an app is an investment. Apps can provide tremendous revenue and can be a great source of alternative income.
For a more detailed guide on app due diligence, look out for our Apps Due Diligence Guide, which is coming soon to the Flippa blog.