Messaging App LINE Ordered by Apple to Remove Paid Sticker Gifting

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 10, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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
  2. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    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 :rolleyes:
  3. Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    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!
  4. macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2003

    Who the hell would pay to send a virtual sticker?
  5. macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2007
    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.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    This app is pretty popular in the country I live. Much like WhatsApp with VoIP capabilities.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    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
  8. macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    But if you're not happy with it... there is always Android. :)
  9. macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    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?
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2007
    Sounds like Apple didn't like the idea of App's creating and using their own virtual currency.
  11. macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Little kids spending their parents money. This is exactly designed to stop that.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    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.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Sep 6, 2007
    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.
  14. macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    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.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    I don't think you're having to deal with the complaints from parents.
  16. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    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?

    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.
  17. macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    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.
  18. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Not the app maker's fault.
  19. macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2005
    Me either, $17 million!?! Is it just me or is this ridiculous. Buying digital stickers? Buying?
  20. macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    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.
  21. macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    teenage girls
  22. macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2011
    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.
  23. macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    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)
  24. macrumors member

    May 10, 2013
    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.
  25. macrumors 601

    Jul 4, 2007
    Denver Colorado
    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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