03-19-2011 04:03 PM
Don't even try switching anything from FREE to PAID.
1, It will still show as FREE for days, and even present a Download button, make them enter their ID, and then say it's not available. Then, it changes the page to PAID, or does that sometimes right after they clicked on the listing, or after they viewed screenshots and came back to the description. It makes the developer look like a scam artist, even though all he did was try to find what's best -- whether it promotes exposure of ads and sales of other apps, or does not and is therefore best upgraded and then charged for.
2. If you take a free app that was doing well, add features to make it worth paying for and then switch it to PAID, the users who got it free will get an update notification, but then App World says the app is "not available". Users end up requesting support, or just hating the developer and App World.
03-20-2011 03:12 PM
With respect, that is a fairly obvious response. I know I get pretty upset if someone charges me for something I originally enjoyed for free.
I'd suggest redeploying the app prior to the upgrade as a free app, with a prompt to buy a new pay version.
Then take your upgraded version and deploy as a new app ("xxxx Plus" or similar) and make that Try and Buy.
When the trial expires you revert the app to the reduced feature set.
For the moment seeing that it's free to deploy, it wouldn't even cost you anything.
03-20-2011 03:50 PM
I disagree with br14.
Deploying an app as free and then charging for it sometime after the initial launch is a legitimate marketing practice. Get people hooked 1st and if they really like it then they'll want to buy the latest version. Giving your app for free is a great way to build an audience and reputation quickly. Once you have done this, you may not wish to offer your app for free anymore.
You could offer your app as a trial, but unless the trial is built into the app/SDK then having your customer download a separate paid-for application is cumbersome. Plus a separate paid-app has its own reputation and it's much better to have one app.
In any case, where you agree with br14 or me is not the point. There should be fixes for the issues that mlamagra brings up in the original post.
03-20-2011 04:21 PM
But if you believe giving people a free app is a great way to get them hooked, why would you stop using the marketing technique by charging for the app?
Might as well give away for free a limited version and also generate sales from a pay version. That way you get to continue the marketing approach continuously.
And I speak from experience. I had a lot of negative response when people thought I made my free version into a trial version (when the trial expired it became the free app again). People thought the app was no longer free and my inbox filled rapidly. There's too much competition to annoy people, not to mention the waste of time responding to avoidable emails.
I know if you start charging me for something I originally got for free without a major improvement in feature or service, I will head over to the competition. But if you give me something for free and link to your pay offering, I might just check it out.
Since I took the mutiple app approach with a free app linking to a try and buy app my sales have doubled.
As for getting App World fixed. May I suggest you haven't been developing for BlackBerry long? It may be legitimate marketing practise but this kind of problem has plagued App World since it was first launched. If only it was the only issue. I'm currently issuing download links and product keys every day because of Try and Buy issues. (Basically once you deploy an app with a particular pay type and license type it's best not to change it because there always seem to be problems!!).
Looks like RIM has created a monster they can no longer control. I shudder to think what their code looks like. Generally speaking I'd suggest it's better to try and manage the App World issues than wait for them to be fixed. You could be waiting a long time and losing customers every day you wait.
03-20-2011 04:26 PM - edited 03-20-2011 04:40 PM
If surplus books are given away free by a store, and later the same editions are sold for money, someone who got one free and lost it will feed bad because they'll have to buy it if they want it again, but the vendor doesn't owe them a new free one just because they originally got it free. The vendor can charge for new copies of the same, unchanged item after it was previously free; that's completely legitimate regardless of the motivation. There was never an implied contract, "this will always be free".
It would be different if the vendor changed his mind after you were out the door with your free copy, and then charged you, or disabled the item and said if you want to continue using it you'll have to pay. But that's not what's the case here; someone can keep using an app they got for free, until they lose it. They could have, and should have, backed it up.
I think iTunes doesn't let you re-download new copies of songs if you lost the original download? That's something they're looking to change, but up to now I think it's been just like a book or CD -- if you lose the copy you were originally given, you're not entitled a new copy from the distributor.
03-20-2011 04:49 PM
It's not about whether its legitimate to make people pay for something they originally received for free. Of course it is legitimate. For some products it might even be advantageous.
You can do whatever you like. Free. Pay. Pay to Free. Free to Pay. The question is whether it is effective.
Just think for a minute of something you currently get for free. Like submitting an app to App World.
Now consider how you will feel when you have to pay $20 a time. If you genuinely had a choice would you stick with the $20 a time version? I doubt it. RIM will still retain developers because we have no choice. But all of us who experience the price increase will be disappointed at the change.
The worst case scenario is the one described here. Making a once free app a pay app. You're going to annoy a bunch of people who already own your app and are therefore able to review the app. And the last thing you want is negative reviews.
But in my opinion for what its worth either make the app pay, or make it free. I would say it's better not to change. If only because of the App World issues. If you want to generate revenue, use the ad SDK. If you want to offer a free trial - go ahead and use Try and Buy.
Anyway as was said earlier, its up to the individual how they run their apps. Just my two cents.
03-20-2011 04:59 PM
I'll probably try what br14 is suggesting, even though there was nothing illegitimate about what I did before (and it was not planned, just seemed best at the time, or something to try).
But trials, they've always been more waste of time than profit to me. I've never seen a difference long-term with or without a trial, just a short-term difference (when the trial is re-enabled sales go down, and there might be a brief surge when the trial is disabled).
It's unfortunate that changing the license model, or even the price, is such a problem with the App World system. Why can't it send a signal out to all the subsidiary servers, "such-and-such simple thing just changed, here's the new value, please ping us back to confirm or we'll inform you again soon"?
03-20-2011 05:10 PM - edited 03-20-2011 05:12 PM
Yes, that's what I'll have to do. But personally, it's always seriously annoyed me for some reason when something is offered in a crippled form trying to get me to pay for an un-crippled version. My preference would be to offer only the full version, but either free with enough ads to make as much money as if they'd paid for it, or else paid with no ads, user's choice.
Problem is that many of my apps are not compatible with banner ads, since they're utilities that don't have a screen other than the EULA and settings, or else the screen is rarely shown, or only for too short a time to load up a banner ad.
03-20-2011 05:15 PM
"But trials, they've always been more waste of time than profit to me. I've never seen a difference long-term with or without a trial"
Thats intriguing. For what it's worth my sales doubled when I switched from Pay only to Try and Buy. I'd be interested to see what others think is effective.
My trial apps reverts to limited feature free apps once the trial is complete. I use more or less the same app for Free apps. So even those who download an app for free get the chance to use a equivalent pay trial for a couple of weeks before it reverts to a free app again.
It might be interesting to see what happens with Free to Pay. You could always release another app for Free and leave your original app as Pay. That way you get to leverage any good reviews received while it was Free. Always assuming you can get over the App World problems.
Have to say I'm as frustrated as you are by the App World issues but some of these (the Try and Buy issue for example) have been going on for a year or more.
03-20-2011 05:39 PM - edited 03-20-2011 05:41 PM
Maybe I'm just not writing the right apps, as for the trial-doesn't-help problem. If I make something that everyone really wants and has no competition yet, so they've already decided to buy it as long as it works, then trials may help. Right now, it's probably more like, "let's take a look at this, OK, it works, but I've already got the bestselling one from another vendor, and this isn't much better."
When I started this thread, I had pretty much already decided that avoiding the problem is the way to go rather than waiting for a solution, but wanted to raise the issue so it might be solved in a future update.