Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Instapaper Free Is Taking an Extended Vacation

Marco Arment:

If you have a free version of your app, that will be the only version many people will ever see. So, for the Free users, that app — that extremely limited app that lacks almost all of Instapaper’s best features — is what they think Instapaper is.

I was giving them a choice: Stick with this limited app, or upgrade to the paid version with all of these great features. But since they had never used those features, they didn’t know how much they wanted them.

Of course, this is another reason that the App Store should support fully-featured trials.

Sidenote: I would much rather pay (say) $10 for an app that I’ve tried and know that I like, than buy a bunch of similar apps for $1-5 each and then “throw away” the ones that turn out not to be as good. Paying for what you use, rather that what you can be induced to buy-to-try, sends better signals to developers about what’s good—and also would lead to more meaningful top-10 charts in the store for users.

3 Comments

Yeah. The notion that people won't care about spending five bucks to see if they like an app is flawed.

Sure, five bucks is nothing compared to the price of an iPhone. However, if people would spend five bucks to try out any app they might potentially like, they would quickly spend hundreds of bucks. The reason is that your app isn't the only one they're potentially interested in. There are dozens or even hundreds of apps people might like; they can't buy them all just to see if they like them.

As a result, they might not buy even *one* app just to see if they like it.

[...] Instapaper Free is taking an extended vacation – good stuff from Marco here. Check out the commentary from Michael, “I would much rather pay (say) $10 for an app that I’ve tried and know that I like, [...]

YES! I sent an email to Marco with more or less the same comment. It's been one of my main frustrations with the App store since it started. :-(

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