| | 09-27-2012, 06:39 PM #1
I in-advertently wrote a long comment on Rich's recent article, "How should developers price apps in the Windows Phone Store?" I thought I'd start a thread here with my comment to hear from both developers and Windows Phone users with their thoughts and to continue the discussion here.
I'm a student and have a scientific calculator/ currency converter/ unit converter app in the Store (and now in the Windows 8 Store too!). I developed the app mostly as a way to learn some new skills, but also with some potential income in mind. I released the app in February as a paid app with a trial and after the initial publicity died down I could see that, even though I believe the app is significantly better than the other calculator apps, it wasn't ever going to be successful being paid. Consumers just don't consider paid apps in general, and with so many calculator apps in the Store mine was way down the rankings, not very visible, and had no hope of climbing. I made it free for a month and received about ten times as many downloads, so I decided to release a free ad-supported version. After six months, this version is ranked in the top five under a search for 'scientific calculator' in most regions (and still climbing). I don't make much from the ads, but more people now pay for the paid version than before the free version was released (I don't make much from the paid version either, but hopefully that will change with Windows 8 + WP8!).
As good an idea as the trial api is, it really doesn't help much. I also don't believe a separate list in the Store for apps that support trial would work, since I think most consumers by now would realise that most paid apps do have a trial (I could be wrong on this though!). In-app purchasing is a much better system and it's good that it will be coming to WP8. I released the Windows 8 version as free with an in-app purchase option to remove the ads. This gives me the benefit of appearing in the free lists and also means I don't have to maintain two versions. It will be interesting to see the percentage of people who pay for the Windows 8 version compared to the WP8 version.
Occasionally I'll receive a one star review complaining about the ads, which is really frustrating. One review for my Windows 8 app recently stated "This calculator works BUT it is said "free" and you have ads... To the developers: that is not what one calls a free app!!!" I included in my description that the app is free with an in-app purchase option to remove the ads, in order to be up-front about my monetisation strategy. To the reviewer: a free app is something I have spent hours on (I'm not complaining here, I enjoyed every minute of it!) to create and that you can use at no cost to yourself. If you don't like the ads, it's 0.99 to remove them! I do also have to pay a small amount for the exchange rate data and non-student developers have to pay the Dev Center subscription.
Of course, it's interesting with Windows 8 apps as I realise that a lot of people release great, open source software at no profit to themselves, so there might be a different mindset regarding paying for apps on a PC compared to on a smartphone (there's also the piracy factor too). However, as I said, I'm a student and the extra income really does help. I must also say that occasions like the above are rare, and for each one I'll receive another from someone stating that they paid for the app to support the developer. This really is fantastic; receiving good reviews and feedback is probably the most satisfying part of having created an app, and it does make me want to continue working on the app and to develop new ones (so thank you!).
I also have a thread for my app in the Applications Spotlight section if anyone is interested: http://forums.windowscentral.com/app...ght/189202.htm :)