By Shahed Nooshmand

«Subscription or no subscription? That is not the question.»


Consumers expect trials and a discount if they move to a new version. And understandably so. But there are no real trials and no paid upgrades in Apple’s ecosystem. If you tell your customers “Sorry, but there are no update discounts on App Store,” they call you a greedy liar and report you to Apple for fraud. Oh, the irony!


The switch from paid to subscription can cost you a fortune. Not technically. The technology is there. It will cost you: users. And angry users don’t just leave, they rate you angrily and write angry comments. They feel harmed and they try to harm you as much as possible. Anonymous ratings, upvoting, and reviews make revenge fast, easy, and cheap.


Subscription-based apps are listed under free, which is misleading and causes a lot of confusion, but it gives them additional exposure. That makes users click.


People will compare your monthly subscription to other unrelated subscriptions. They will not just compare your minimalist pocket calculator to paid minimalist pocket calculators. They will again compare it to Netflix. They will compare the price, they will compare how much time they use between your app and Netflix, and they will compare their layman estimates of how hard these things are to make.


That the monthly expense they see on their credit card is helping poor developers if they don’t use your software regularly is not going to convince anyone to keep paying. Developers are not seen as poor people that need support.

In-depth analysis, brilliant writing. Go read the whole thing.