Friday, June 25, 2021

Ring and the App Store Strategy Tax

Dieter Bohn:

Here is an amazing web page that exists because of and is entirely designed to deal with Apple’s App Store rules. It’s the page the Ring iPhone app takes you to when your subscription to view old footage has expired. Click it, what do you notice?

There are no subscribe buttons. There are no subscribe links.

Apple doesn’t allow apps to indicate to users that there may be ways to pay for things outside the Apple Payment system. Even links to web pages that apps host themselves are apparently reviewed

In fact, there are no links whatsoever that will take you directly to subscription options or even Ring’s homepage, nor is there any text on the page even describing how to do it. The only interactions are watching a video or talking to a chatbot.


Similarly, the chat bot requires a few extra interactions before you get to a subscribe page.

The user experience is better on Android.

See also: Netflix.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

Ring is better off than most app developers in that people get to the app from the doorbell purchase, not the other way round, so they can settle the subscription details before the app is even downloaded, and in any case no one would download the app if they didn’t already have a Ring device. It does make upselling in the app harder, though.

Those rules are the most customer hostile rules I've ever experienced.

I really hope Congress acts.

You know what I love about my Android phone? The fact that I can search for a book in my Audible app, and when it's not in my library, Audible shows me a search result from the store, and I can buy it right away.

Ben Kennedy

So providing payment instructions in a video is acceptable to Apple, but doing the same in plain text is not? Fascinating. This seems like testimony that Apple believes most people don’t bother to watch videos. (That has interesting implications in respect of their own marketing videos.)

[…] for violations like having a link buried in some documentation, requiring even large developers to create special pages — perhaps because Apple saw even small transgressions as opening the door to loopholes. Better be […]

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