As you may or may not know, for a limited time, I used to offer the full version of FiOS WEP Calculator PRO without any advertisements free. This version has received 96 downloads so far, but it is no longer published in the Android market. The reason for this is because I am not making any money on my applications right now. In fact, I’m actually losing money. Also, there is a free version of FiOS WEP Calculator, titled “Lite” that offers all the functionality found in the paid “PRO” version, except there is an advertisement at the top of the screen. The truth is, however, advertisements haven’t been making me very much money at all (not even $2 yet), so most of the money I receive is directly from the FiOS WEP Calculator PRO sales. Although I would love to offer my applications for free, I need to make some money, otherwise the amount of effort I put into making my applications doesn’t pay off. As a student, all my coding is done in my free time. If I don’t sell copies of my applications, I don’t get paid for my work. However, I honestly would prefer to offer my applications for free, as open source software, and without any copy protection, but realistically, with the current low amount of sales I get, and the very minimal amount of advertising revenue I receive, even with hundreds of legitimate advertisement clicks in my application (I don’t click on my own advertisements, or encourage others to do so) that’s not realistically possible. Part of the problem might be the fact that AdMob isn’t displaying very interesting or relevant advertisements in my application, but that’s another story. By offering the “PRO” version of my application for only $0.99, the least I’m allowed to sell my application for on the Android market, I believe that I’m making it perfectly reasonable and affordable for a user to upgrade from the advertisement-supported “Lite” version of my application to a version without annoying advertisements. I know that most users of my application don’t mind the advertisements, but it would be really great if I could get some more sales for my application. As it is right now, I’m actually _losing_ money, as I haven’t even sold enough copies to offset the developer registration cost for the Android market, and I definitely haven’t sold enough copies to purchase an Android phone. As an independent developer, it’s much more difficult to sell an application, than if I was an established or well-known company. So, by now you are probably wondering what brought this topic up. Well, in order to promote sales of the full version of my application, I thought it was perfectly reasonable to modify the “PRO” version of my application that was available for free for a limited time only. Now, I’m going to assume that I know what you’re thinking, and say that what I did is nothing nearly as bad and irritating as what Shazam did with the free version of their Android application, when they limited the usage of their application to 5 song taggings per month. I simply put a notification in the PRO version of the application stating that I am no longer maintaining the free version of the app, and I nicely asked users to consider purchasing the “PRO” version of the application, in order to support development. In fact, I’ll even include a screenshot of the message shown to users upon opening the application, as well as a word-for-word copy of what the message says, so you can judge for yourself whether or not you think what I did was reasonable. Here is a full, word-for-word copy of the message:
You are using the free version of FiOS WEP Calc PRO. This version is no longer supported, and will not be updated. This app will continue to function, but please consider buying this app for only $0.99. The money will help support the development of my future apps, and this message will not appear in the full version. Thanks for your support!
This message is shown once every time the application is opened. Below the message, there are two buttons. On the left, there is a button labeled “Buy Now”, which takes you to the page in the Android market for “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO”, where you can choose to purchase it. On the right, there is a button labeled “Later”, which closes the message, and allows you to use the application, without advertisements, and exactly like the full, paid “PRO” version. There is no limit to how many times you can choose “Later”, and the application will never stop working. It takes less than a second to click “Later”, and you are not, in any way, forced to choose to buy the full version. I believe that this is perfectly reasonable, as I make no money at all from the users of the “free PRO” version, not even advertising revenue. If the users are annoyed by the message, there is nothing preventing them from removing the application, and installing the Lite version, which also does the same thing for free. The reason I am writing all of this is because I have been reading the comments on my application, and I noticed one in particular from a user named “peskykid“, written on August 3rd, 2010. The commenter rated my application one star (out of 5), and wrote this (I think their message got cut-off or something, but I was able to understand what they are saying):
After this upgrade I wouldn’t support the developer out of spite.. What a Shi**y way of doing business.. Every time the app opens you have to close a.
What I think they meant to say was “every time the app opens, you have to close an advertisement.” I believe that this commenter is ungrateful that I let them download my application for free, and inconsiderate about the fact that I’m trying to make a small amount of money selling the application. Closing the advertisement isn’t that annoying, and it only takes less than a second. If you can’t handle closing the advertisement, then you have several choices:
- Download the “Lite” version, which does the exact same same thing, except with an advertisement at the top of the screen
- Purchase the “PRO” version for only $0.99, which will support future app development, and won’t have the pop-up message every time the application starts
- Uninstall the application completely, and get on with your life, without any of the functionality provided by my application
Nobody is forcing you to purchase the application, and I’m letting you continue to use the application as long as you would like for free. Sorry for writing so much, but I felt the need to explain why I added that message, and rant about the feedback I have received since I implemented it. If you have any comments, whether or not you agree with me, about encouraging those who got the “PRO” version for free to purchase the application to support future development, let me know by commenting on this article. I’d love to know what you think.