iPhone In App Purchase considered harmful

I hinted before about my secret iPhone app, which is very near to being ready for release.

I was planning on distributing it as a free app with In App Purchase to upgrade to full functionality, as I discussed a while back.

But I've been rethinking that of late; while I really like the idea of In App Purchase (IAP), I don't think it really works in its current form. Many developers have reported that when they try free+IAP, they get lots of 1-star ratings via rate-on-delete from people who download the free app then delete it without really trying it. Plus they get lots of negative reviews from free downloaders who don't understand the concept of IAP and expect something for nothing.

I'm thinking that until Apple fixes this by removing the horrible rate-on-delete feature, and perhaps educates users more about IAP, this won't be a feasible distribution mechanism for demo-style purchases.

So, that leaves me with two options:

  1. Just release it as a paid app.
  2. Release free Lite and paid Pro editions.

I've done both variations (Valentines and SmileDial Lite & Pro), and neither was ideal. With option 1, people can't try the app to see if they want it, though apps are cheap enough that it isn't too much of a gamble to just buy. Whereas with option 2 people can try the free edition, but they have to re-enter their info if they switch to the Pro one, and I have to maintain two releases.

I'm currently leaning towards option 1: just release it as a paid app. Then maybe in the future I could add a free Lite edition, and perhaps offer IAP in that edition if there seems demand for it.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments or privately via my contact page.

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TiffanyG's picture

Re: iPhone In App Purchase considered harmful

As I have understood, your secret app is in the store already. It is named tweeps right? If I have understood it right, you are offering it for the 1,99$. In the beginning you were offering it for even for 0,99$. When we are talking about the price like that, you don't have to think about the release options of the app. Just make it paid and everything will be all right. I don't see any reason in downloading the demo version of the application which price is 1,99$. I don't think that even in the time of economical recession people won't have few dollars to pay for such an amazing app for managing twitter accounts! By the way I hate this rate-on-delete system too. I hope that Apple will destroy it once. So thanks for creating those apps for us David and good luck in the developing world in the future too!
Sincerely, Tiffany Garner from web application development

David Sinclair's picture

Re: iPhone In App Purchase considered harmful

Thanks. Yes, the secret project was Tweeps.

I gather that the rate-on-delete "feature" will be going away in iPhone OS 4.0 — or so I heard from the rumor sites, anyway. I sure hope so!