Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Business Model and Pricing for Unread 2

John Brayton:

I am not ready to announce new capabilities of Unread 2 yet, but I do want to prepare customers for the change in pricing and business model. Like the current shipping version, Unread 2 will be free to download and to try with some functional limits. After trying the app customers will be able to unlock the full version by purchasing a $19.99/year (USD) subscription.


I believe this business model change is necessary in order to provide a solid foundation for Unread’s future development. In addition this will allow me to release new functionality as soon as it is ready. Unread 2 includes capabilities that I wanted to ship over a year ago. I could have done so if I had a good way to be paid for that work. This business model change will provide that flexibility.


7 Comments RSS · Twitter

20 bucks a year. Hahahaha. This developer must be on some strong stuff.

The developer is on the same stuff that apple is on; “choosing customers” aka “disinviting customers via price point” unfortunately the developer is not Apple.

I can’t speak to the app itself, since I don’t do RSS on iOS. But, if it’s good, $20/year doesn’t seem out of line compared with, say, Feedbin or Instapaper Premium. And Drafts seems to be doing well at $20/year.

Brayton concludes: "Unread 2 will ship as a new app in the App Store. That will allow customers who purchased Unread 1 and choose not to upgrade to continue using the app they bought."

I am one of those customers. Don't get me wrong, I may agree that $20/year is not that much — and Unread *is* a great app. The problem is not *this* subscription. The problem is: $20/year for this app, $15/year for that app, $25/year for that other app, $10.99/year for that other app again… It becomes cumulatively expensive, fast. This is just not feasible for me.

Joel Fischer

I think part of this is the "big" numbers. $20 a year sounds like a lot. How much does $1.67 per month sound like? Or $0.06 per day? This is why I budget these things ahead of time. My Feedbin subscription is $29.99 a year, but it comes out to $2.49 a month. Ulysses is $2.65 a month. Keep It is about $1.00 per month. That's really rather cheap when you've saved a pittance each of the last 12 months.

When I budget these things out, they *can* add up, and the switch to subscriptions *does* change my math. I have a line item for how much I'm willing to spend per month on software subscriptions. It means that I need to consider my most vital tools. Those are the ones that I support to ensure that they continue to thrive and grow with continuous income, and I just make sure my budget handles that. Am I going to subscribe to a utility app? No. Am I going to subscribe to an app I use for dozens of hours per month? Probably, yeah.

Michael you really should get into RSS. It's the best way to slice n dice thru many feeds without the headaches of the web. Up until a few years ago on iOS the king of the pack was MrReader. It was a power tool: xcallback URLs, Javascript transformations, many ways to share before sharesheet and Shortcuts. Only one App rose to the challenge, and that was Fiery Feeds. It's $9.95/year. It's my primary RSS reader on all my iOS devices.

When I feel like a change or on macOS there's Reeder. It too was "version upped" recently, mac is $10, iOS is $5. More than fair and even incorporates "read later" using iCloud. I've been very happy with these tools but have discarded others when they went subscription, and Drafts is a perfect example of why...

I was a 3-4 user, the app wasn't overly complex & when I found a bug I Testflight-mailed in. But when version 5 rolled around the app went off in overly complex directions and the dev started doing things like kicking users off testflight & trying to get everyone into Slack. At that point I bailed on Drafts, I don't want a subscription (dark mode was pay only) and I don't want the codependence of a "Slack relationship" with a Dev unless I'm being paid for it.

Apple seems to be encouraging this, I just don't like it, and I'm certainly not going to reward it. I want to pay once, in fact I'm picking up more capable apps like Notability, Panels, Serif's apps (Affinity Photo, Designer, Publisher).

I feel like Apple and subscription devs treat me the way credit card companies do: I'm a high score "deadbeat customer" because I refuse to indenture myself to hardware that I put out cash for. And as long as there are devs who cater to me with the same attitude I'll support them.

I bought Unread, it's okay but it doesn't rise to where Fiery Feeds or Reeder is, and these other tools cost a fraction of what it will. It's simple, brutal math.

@Leo I’ve been doing RSS on the Mac for almost 20 years (currently ReadKit, may switch back to NetNewsWire). I just haven’t found anything that I like for it on iOS. It just feels too slow and cramped compared with what I’m used to.

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