With the Apple App Store having paid an estimated $50 to $115 million in revenue to app developers--with one indie developer reportedly making $250,000 in two months--even the technologically impaired now dream of winning the iPhone app lottery. MEDL Mobile has built a business around that desire: The company turns ideas for iPhone apps into actual apps (which are then sold back to the people who submitted the ideas). The hardest part was not getting the ideas--people submitted 20,000 of them to MEDL's Web site in 90 days--but choosing which ones to pursue.
The company winnowed the list down according to five (subjective) criteria: Originality, functionality, simplicity, revenue opportunity, and fun. And this week, the first dozen apps made from user-generated ideas will be released. The winning concepts include Problem Halved, which invites others to provide anonymous solutions, and This or That, where friends help you choose between two things (like a black dress or a blue dress).
What does MEDL get from giving "ordinary people around the world an opportunity to become the next iPhone success story?" Seventy-five percent of the profits. So if you really think you have a million-dollar idea, you're probably better off hiring a developer.