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Old May 10, 2013, 02:11 PM   #1
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Messaging App LINE Ordered by Apple to Remove Paid Sticker Gifting




Popular free messaging app LINE was forced to remove one of its key sticker features today, eliminating the ability for its users to purchase and send sticker sets as gifts to friends.

Stickers are an important monetary source for LINE, notes The Next Web, bringing in $17 million last quarter, which represented 30% of the company's total revenue. Stickers can be sent in chat messages and represent different characters and emotions. The stickers, which are bought in sets, can also be gifted to friends for their own use. A set of stickers generally costs $1.99 and includes 40 different sticker options.

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We received a request directly from Apple who operates the AppStore, that this sticker gifting function will have to be withdrawn from the app, and we do apologize for the disappointment this may cause to all of you who are having fun sending stickers as gifts to your friends.

Functions withdrawn from the iPhone version of LINE:
- Gifting function of paid-for stickers to friends
- Purchasing of Coins necessary to use the gifting function
LINE does not explain what aspect of paid sticker gifting triggered the removal, but the app does use a complicated system for sticker distribution. Stickers purchased for self use are standard in-app purchases, but sticker sets that are purchased as gifts for others require the purchase of in-app coins, a secondary currency that is then used to distribute the gift stickers.

It is still possible to send free sticker sets to friends, and remaining coins can continue to be used to purchase stickers, but no new coins are available. Gifting sticker packs is still available through LINE's Android app, and cross-platform interconnectivity has not been removed. Sticker purchasing for self use has not been affected.

LINE's success with stickers has inspired other apps, like Path, to use stickers. Facebook is also experimenting with stickers, having introduced them into both the iOS Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps for use when chatting.

Article Link: Messaging App LINE Ordered by Apple to Remove Paid Sticker Gifting
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:13 PM   #2
lifeinhd
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This is why competition within the App Store ecosystem is important. Strongarming like this for no reason is just ridiculous.

And don't give me that "there's always Android" crap. You know what I mean
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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Am I the only person who has never heard of this program before?

And $17 million dollars worth of sticker giving? That's some change!
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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Nuts

Who the hell would pay to send a virtual sticker?
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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Such a huge loss here. Too bad I've never heard of this app or stickers. Guess it's for 12 year olds with iPods/iPhones.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longofest View Post
Am I the only person who has never heard of this program before?

And $17 million dollars worth of sticker giving? That's some change!
This app is pretty popular in the country I live. Much like WhatsApp with VoIP capabilities.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by longofest View Post
Am I the only person who has never heard of this program before?

And $17 million dollars worth of sticker giving? That's some change!
I never heard it either and don't think I'll be installing it

Virtual stickers just seems so sad.......maybe some people need more real world friends
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lifeinhd View Post
And don't give me that "there's always Android" crap.
But if you're not happy with it... there is always Android.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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That was $17M/quarter. That's $68M/year, and Apple gets 30% right off the top. They are giving up just over $20M/year by denying it.

But really, $68M for virtual stickers? What's wrong with you people?
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:23 PM   #10
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Sounds like Apple didn't like the idea of App's creating and using their own virtual currency.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:23 PM   #11
PlutoPrime
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Who the hell would pay to send a virtual sticker?
Little kids spending their parents money. This is exactly designed to stop that.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:23 PM   #12
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This app is EXTREMELY popular in Japan. That's the first place I saw it used and where I used it for a little while. It's been around in Japan for a while now.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:27 PM   #13
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Little kids spending their parents money. This is exactly designed to stop that.
Yeah... I'm thinking complaints from parents are coming in like crazy over this... the gifting of something that costs more money sounds a little deceptive.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:32 PM   #14
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Sounds like Apple didn't like the idea of App's creating and using their own virtual currency.
Seeing they didn't give the reason why, they must have been doing something wrong. Apple made a lot of money off that virtual currency as well.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lifeinhd View Post
This is why competition within the App Store ecosystem is important. Strongarming like this for no reason is just ridiculous.

And don't give me that "there's always Android" crap. You know what I mean
I don't think you're having to deal with the complaints from parents.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:43 PM   #16
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I can't remember a time when messaging systems wouldn't let you paste/drag an image in. Any image. Any time. No limits. And Emoji couldn't be easier (or more universal) to access.

How is a more limited image-sending system suddenly so much better that it's worth paying extra for?

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Originally Posted by Mac21ND View Post
Sounds like Apple didn't like the idea of App's creating and using their own virtual currency.
Games have had virtual currency forever and still do. Other services as well.

I would hesitate to invent reasons for the removal when we actually don't know.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:43 PM   #17
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I suspect the issue is the way the purchase is phrased. Do you wish to charge isn't exactly clear that you are buying more play coins with real money. To a kid in particular.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:43 PM   #18
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I don't think you're having to deal with the complaints from parents.
Not the app maker's fault.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by longofest View Post
Am I the only person who has never heard of this program before?

And $17 million dollars worth of sticker giving? That's some change!
Me either, $17 million!?! Is it just me or is this ridiculous. Buying digital stickers? Buying?
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:44 PM   #20
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When people accuse Apple of being irrevocably greedy, I'd think this example would serve as an argument against it. Even corporate dollar chasers and bottom-enders have some sense of integrity. Let's face it: Having some roundabout way of charging people just to send some picture that probably took some visual arts designer 33 seconds to illustrate, is highway robbery. I'd love to see Apple step in for a lot of these gimmicky in-app purchases.

We need to ban big-whale hunting and impose monthly limits on in-app charges because the people paying a lot less are also getting a lot 'less' functions due to these people with Platinum Visas having their kids swipe away.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:45 PM   #21
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Who the hell would pay to send a virtual sticker?
teenage girls
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:48 PM   #22
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Such a huge loss here. Too bad I've never heard of this app or stickers. Guess it's for 12 year olds with iPods/iPhones.
This app is hugely popular in Japan and South Korea. No one of my friends over there know about WhatsApp, but they all are using LINE for instant messaging.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:49 PM   #23
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The old adage that no one lost money via betting on people's stupidity applies here.

(but this should probably not be on page 1 guys)
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:59 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by fredr500 View Post
That was $17M/quarter. That's $68M/year, and Apple gets 30% right off the top. They are giving up just over $20M/year by denying it.
Not exactly. Apple only gets 30% of the revenue of app- or in-app purchases if i got that correctly. And due to the fact that users pay for the gifted stickers with a special "in-app"-currency Apple doesn't get anything. I guess that would be the reason why they had the app changed in the first place.
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Old May 10, 2013, 03:03 PM   #25
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Who the hell would pay to send a virtual sticker?
The same people who paid $10 to gain early access to a virtual farm in FarmVille a week before all payers would get it for free.
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