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To a lot of developers : I'm tired of subscribing to your app!

katbel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 19, 2009
750
481
There is a "deadly" trend among developers: subscribe, subscribe !!
We cannot afford to pay your monthly rent!
I understand you need to live, make an app and I will be happy to pay for it because you put hours of work on it.
But once.
Are you going to add more value to your app? Then you will have n. 2 and if we find it's valuable we'll buy it.
What are you going to give me every month?! Who knows
You are going to take my money first, and fix bugs that shouldn't have been there.
Please, become less greedy 💰💰💰💰 and I will be your customer.
 
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JanoschR

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2011
64
178
Germany
"I understand you need to live, make an app and I will be happy to pay for it because you put hours of work on it.
But once."

Don't know if you also pay your rent/food/whatever once?! You say that you understand that they need to make a living but then you're only willing to pay once. How does that work? (yes, it worked before because of the massive growth of the App Store where new users would finance the ongoing work. But that's not going to work long-term).
 
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katbel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 19, 2009
750
481
"I understand you need to live, make an app and I will be happy to pay for it because you put hours of work on it.
But once."

Don't know if you also pay your rent/food/whatever once?! You say that you understand that they need to make a living but then you're only willing to pay once. How does that work? (yes, it worked before because of the massive growth of the App Store where new users would finance the ongoing work. But that's not going to work long-term).
Are you a developer? From your answer it seems.
You need to come out with different ideas, for example I know at least one app that I like because they are very crystal clear and honest in what they offer.

This app is free with no time limits. A 12 month premium feature pack can be purchased in the app, which unlocks all premium features, as well as new features added during the 12 months following the purchase. Customers can then purchase a new pack, or keep using the app with the features they have already purchased. This sales model falls somewhere between freemium and a non-renewing subscription, and we think it is the right balance for Mac/iOS apps going forward.

I love it
 
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Septembersrain

Contributor
Dec 14, 2013
4,152
5,194
Texas
I can understand this. Like with these streaming services, they were supposed to beat cable not join them. Eventually multiple subscriptions add up to an astronomical amount.

I think giving an option for monthly or a larger one time cost on apps should be given. Just my opinion.
 
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revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,745
1,459
USA
I feel that if an app has/requires an ongoing service (streaming content, user file storage, daily wallpaper changer, etc.) then a subscription model is warranted - the developer needs to use some type of server/service/bandwidth and would need to pay for its use.

However, if the app doesn’t change and can work when completely offline and isolated, then a subscription is not warranted. Let's be honest, it's not like the developer has to write a new copy of the app each time someone downloads it.

I think that is quite fair.

I think part of the problem is the expectation of new feature updates. Some users buy an app thinking that the developer will update/improve the app. Updates and improvements (excluding bug fixes) shouldn't be expected for free. A better way to think of it is that you buy an app expecting the app to work as advertised on the day of purchase. If you want new features and updates (excluding bug fixes) then you'll have to buy the next version of the app. Ongoing server-side resources shouldn't be expected for free because someone, somewhere, needs to pay for those resources.

And, yes, I have been writing apps for myself and others for years (it's amazing what one can learn from running GNU/Linux and BSD for almost 2 decades).
[automerge]1580332934[/automerge]
This app is free with no time limits. A 12 month premium feature pack can be purchased in the app, which unlocks all premium features, as well as new features added during the 12 months following the purchase. Customers can then purchase a new pack, or keep using the app with the features they have already purchased. This sales model falls somewhere between freemium and a non-renewing subscription, and we think it is the right balance for Mac/iOS apps going forward.
I actually love that model!
 
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Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
2,632
789
Yes
World has changed since 90's. What I once charged $15 or $25 for, you are no longer willing to pay $30 to $50 for. inflation calc Programming is rapidly becoming an ecocomic ride to the poor house. Don't forget Apple's cut, or the big guys predatory competition practices either.
Heck, you write a decent app, and within a few weeks, There's 100 Chinese and Bulgarian clone Apps. That competition is beyond just brutal, it is killer; especially when half the clones monetize by stealing and selling your private info. They can give their stuff away, and still turn a handsome profit.
I expect things will continue to get worse for some years to come.
 
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Turnpike

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2011
435
266
New York City!
Agree! I've done an hour of research trying to decide to move all my OneNote stuff to either GoodNotes or Notability, and just when I was almost decided, I saw a comment somewhere that someone said "I hope X doesn't move to subscription". I panicked and did some more research and after not finding anywhere else mentioning either was possibly changing to a subscription anytime soon, I made my choice. But just for the developers out there, if one was $30 for the app, and the other was $3.95 a year, all other things being equal, I would have bought the one time priced app NO QUESTION. If you make the best version in your niche, people will pay for it. Nobody is ripping apps like they did CD's and music, so if you can't sell it at a profit to enough people to make it worth your time, then it's YOU who is doing some basic business wrong. A subscription is just a tiny hole in your wallet, and nobody wants that, however small.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,693
Are you going to add more value to your app? Then you will have n. 2 and if we find it's valuable we'll buy it.
What are you going to give me every month?! Who knows

You're thinking exactly the opposite. If they don't add or update features to a subscription, you can stop paying. They lose.

If you have a perpetual license, you've already paid. Too bad. They have no motivation to add features, or even fix bugs, for free. Indeed many companies, like Microsoft, don't add features to a paid version.

This isn't a new idea, and companies realize that subscriptions are better for them because it aligns the vendor's priorities with theirs. Software for businesses have been subscription for a long time (support contracts, Microsoft Software Assurance). Companies now buy servers on subscription (cloud computing). Companies even buy airplanes on subscription (power-by-the-hour, Boeing Goldcare).
 
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katbel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 19, 2009
750
481
Companies even buy airplanes on subscription (power-by-the-hour, Boeing Goldcare).

Boeing Goldcare?! More you fragment and delegate ,
more your plane will be fragmented ?
p.s. No offense intended to all people/relatives who lost their life in the accidents R.I.P.
 
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artfossil

macrumors 68000
Oct 5, 2015
1,559
1,762
Florida
The "I don't like subscriptions!" people will probably never be satisfied with a subscription model.

I will just add my own, small, individual experience as as counterpoint, which is that I am happy to subscribe to software I find valuable and use every day in my work. This includes Ulysses, Mylio, Bear and Agenda (for premium features). I appreciate the frequent updates and I appreciate the overall quality of the software. I'm happy to support the development of the software in this way. If I ever become unhappy, I will just not renew. Easy-peasy.

For me (again, for me) I find the subscription model has provided me more quality in my every day experience than buying a version outright, waiting for a year or two or three, and then buying a (finally) updated version.

There are so many software alternatives! If you don't like the subscription model of a particular piece of software, just use something else.
 
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revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,745
1,459
USA
For me (again, for me) I find the subscription model has provided me more quality in my every day experience than buying a version outright, waiting for a year or two or three, and then buying a (finally) updated version.
Why the wait? I'm still using apps that I purchased years ago and they still work as advertised. It may be that my use case and workload haven't changed in years so the apps I buy don't need to change either.

Maybe it's just me, but I purchase apps that meet my workload, I don't change my workload to meet new features.


There are so many software alternatives! If you don't like the subscription model of a particular piece of software, just use something else.
Yes, excellent point.. it's good to have options.
 
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artfossil

macrumors 68000
Oct 5, 2015
1,559
1,762
Florida
Why the wait? I'm still using apps that I purchased years ago and they still work as advertised. It may be that my use case and workload haven't changed in years so the apps I buy don't need to change either.

Maybe it's just me, but I purchase apps that meet my workload, I don't change my workload to meet new features.

That’s where we differ. As possibilities open up (hardware and software) I want more. More power, more effectiveness, more ease of use. The subscription model has served me well in this regard.
 
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max2

macrumors 68040
May 31, 2015
3,999
894
There is a deadly trend among developers: subscribe, subscribe !!
We cannot afford to pay your monthly rent!
I understand you need to live, make an app and I will be happy to pay for it because you put hours of work on it.
But once.
Are you going to add more value to your app? Then you will have n. 2 and if we find it's valuable we'll buy it.
What are you going to give me every month?! Who knows
You are going to take my money first, and fix bugs that shouldn't have been there.
Please, become less greedy 💰💰💰💰 and I will be your customer.

Here here!
 
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BootLoxes

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
468
541
My current approach (and still experimenting) is to have two apps, a free one with restrictions and ads, and a paid pro version. I can see the benefits of going the subscription route though. I am a teacher in Japan and am currently working on a site that supports a mobile app target at conversation English. This is something that is going to take years, both for myself to flesh out and for someone to improve their English. In such a situation I plan on going the subscription route. It just makes more sense.
 
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BootLoxes

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
468
541
Even Infuse Pro has subscribe and lifetime app.
Id be ok with a lifetime license. Issue is mobile apps are not really known for having a $100+ price tag. Which is why the subscription model tends to work better on mobile.
 
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BootLoxes

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
468
541
Then why not give both options like Infuse Pro does ?
I just looked at the $26 price point. If an app is sold that cheap then sure why not. But what if say a program on par with davinci resolve (a $300) program was released on mobile and wanted the same price range? I highly doubt anyone would pay that price for it. In such a situation a sub model is going to be better.

Right now, as mentioned earlier, I am experimenting with monetizing. I have relatively simple apps for learning english such as practicing very common english words. There is a free version with ads and a paid version for $1. These apps are extremely basic and are pretty much me practicing rather than actually expecting a profit.

The big one that I am working on is not going to be ready until 2021/2022. I am spending roughy 3-4 hours on it a day. That is going to add up to a lot of time developing in which I will not be paid for. Once it comes out I would rather do a subscription model because I know language learning takes a lot of time and would prefer to make money every month off the asset that I spent years building and will be continuing to build. I am not going to sell it once and then say all future updates are free because thats just financial suicide on my end. I have tons of bills to pay monthly and want to shift away from teaching english into building applications for teaching English.

This is just my perspective as a 1 man team. Heck other companies with employees have to pay their employees frequently which also makes the subscription model more lucrative.

That said, this is my viewpoint on this topic. It can change later down the road but for big projects that involve heavy amounts of my time, I would rather do a subscription model over a pay once and done.
 
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mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,721
1,762
There is a deadly trend among developers: subscribe, subscribe !!
We cannot afford to pay your monthly rent!
I understand you need to live, make an app and I will be happy to pay for it because you put hours of work on it.
But once.
Are you going to add more value to your app? Then you will have n. 2 and if we find it's valuable we'll buy it.
What are you going to give me every month?! Who knows
You are going to take my money first, and fix bugs that shouldn't have been there.
Please, become less greedy 💰💰💰💰 and I will be your customer.

It's not the developers that got greedy. Paying $5 for years of updates and support and server access is unsustainable. As evidenced by the fact that the model, and many great apps, have not sustained. The developers have to do what they have to do.
 
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TiggrToo

macrumors 68040
Aug 24, 2017
3,010
6,410
Out there...way out there
For me the issue is that users have become used to expecting that once they've paid for an app that they should get support, and upgrades and bug fixes and...

Support costs money. You need a method of triaging issues and tracking problems. Support services cost money.

Planning costs money. Developers by and large need to plan releases.

Hardware to develop apps costs money.

People costs money.

Few if any of these are single one off costs.


Now, gets the interesting thing: I'm an electronic pack rat. I hoard emails that have anything to do with software licenses. In the year 2002 I apparently spent $455.75 on 12 different shareware programs on Windows. A year later I spent another $195.50 on upgrades to 5 of those programs.

I currently have 9 "non-services related" apps I subscribe to on iOS. My total spend on all those apps last year was $122.00. And this is nearly 20 years later! 2 of these apps I'm stopping this year as I no longer need them.

That's two thirds of the apps for one third of the price.

2 of the shareware programs actually went out of businesses before the first year was up!

Every year I pay to upgrade other apps such as Snagit.

I do so because I need support and upgrades.

No one needs any app. It's all choice based.
 
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revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,745
1,459
USA
For me the issue is that users have become used to expecting that once they've paid for an app that they should get support, and upgrades and bug fixes and...
I feel it is better to not simply use a computer, but to get under the hood and learn how and why it works. This would take a lot of the work and expectation off the developers so they could focus on development. There is much to be said for spending less time in games and social media and more time in self-education.

"Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime."
 
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