10-04-11 08:24 AM
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  1. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    First of all, I would like to thank the many PB users who have purchased the paid version of what's up since it was released on June 20, 2011. I especially want to thank the 600 or so CB members who downloaded the app in the last two weeks of September. When I started a thread to announce that my sales had doubled for 3 to 6, I never expected the huge response that I received. But now that the month has changed, the old pattern has returned and I'm trying to figure out why this should be so.

    Here's the problem. In theory, I have a free demo version so that people can try out my app before they decide to buy it. On average, 65 - 70 people download the demo each da, but on a typical day only 6-10 people per day buy the paid version. I know that people are able to find my app in the Education category so visibility in App World is not a problem. There must be another reason why my conversion rate is so small. I would be happy with a 25% conversion rate but the actual rate is around 10%.

    I am thinking that one reason for poor sales is that my demo version is just too darned functional and consumers see no point in getting the goodies in the paid version. In other words my demo version may be out-competing the paid one. Definitely not good for business.

    So I'm thinking of removing my demo version from App World and see if sales improve. A second option would be to change my demo version so that it stops working upon expiry of the demo period. That way I would't be competing with myself. The downside is that users may feel cheated by this action and flood my app with bad reviews. Again not so good for business.

    I obviously have to do something but I can't decide what to do. I am posting this message in the hope that we can discuss the options from the consumer's perspective. And I am pretty sure that other developers who are facing a similar dilemma may benefit from the conversation so let me have your ideas too!
    10-03-11 10:29 AM
  2. dkingsf's Avatar
    I think you're correct in assuming that your "Demo" version is probably stealing the thunder from your paid version. A demo should always be for a limited time and expire. 30 days would be nice, a week is usually not long enough.

    The demo version should be close to fully functional. It should definitely include the "must have" features so people will get used to them and will purchase because they "must have" them. It would also be nice if at the expiration you could purchase and activate the paid version from within the demo.

    Just some thoughts. Personally, IMO, rather than remove the demo, you can release an update to the demo that would do it. BUT, make sure you let everyone who has the demo know that. If someone has a free working demo, they might get P.O.'d, but you're in this for the money, NOT so they can use a "free demo" for life.
    10-03-11 10:51 AM
  3. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    BUT, make sure you let everyone who has the demo know that. If someone has a free working demo, they might get P.O.'d, but you're in this for the money, NOT so they can use a "free demo" for life.
    I think that this is the crux of the problem. I can put such a message in the app's description but I think that when a user clicks the update button, I doubt that she would have read the description to find out what has changes. In this case, her app would be rendered useless and I am certain that she would not be happy about it.

    BTW, this is the reason that I chose the two-app approach in the first place.
    10-03-11 11:00 AM
  4. tuskbane's Avatar
    Personally i tried the demo for about a week before i bought the main app i bout the main app to support you not nessisarily for the extra benefits to me i liked the app and felt you did a good job and deserved paying for the full version this is just one persons perspective. i think a timed demo is fine and people that complain imo maybe have no intention of purchasing the paid app, people like freebees hence why some dodgy websites that i wont mention here do so well giving things for free that shouldnt be. only problem i see with you doing a timed demo is what stops the person from deleting the demo and reinstalling getting it free again would this not just cause you the same problems as you seem to have now. But then would i have bought the full release if the demo had been so stripped back i couldnt have seen the benefits of the app honestly id probably say no i wouldnt have. its a dodgy situation for you your in it for the money and thats fine just dont shoot yourself in the foot to spite your face
    10-03-11 11:12 AM
  5. dkingsf's Avatar
    I think that this is the crux of the problem. I can put such a message in the app's description but I think that when a user clicks the update button, I doubt that she would have read the description to find out what has changes. In this case, her app would be rendered useless and I am certain that she would not be happy about it.

    BTW, this is the reason that I chose the two-app approach in the first place.
    Well, I certainly would be. Put the disclaimer 1st in the description, put a popup notice in the download that will make the user do the "OK/CANCEL" thing on the "replace current version". If they don't read either, but still click "OK" then, as my 'lil sister used to say "Stupid on you". It would be my bad, not yours.

    The goal is to get people who are using your free demo to either upgrade to the full paid version (offer them a discount) or force them to the new, temporary demo version so they will either have to upgrade or delete the app.

    Another option would be to turn the demo version into ad supported "nagware" and make it nag nag nag. Don't make it easy to bypass the nag, make people want to cough up the $$ to get rid of it, but you can still make some chump-change off the ads.

    Give people free bug fixes, but new features should not be free, even on the paid version. Unless you charge a "premium" price for that option. Example:

    Paid app cost: (don't know your pricing here) .99/1.99/2.99 (whatever) includes bug fixes.
    Feature upgrades: .99 each
    Paid app cost with feature upgrades for "life": 4.99 (downside, if you have only ONE person take this option you're stuck with delivering the goods for that ONE.)

    First thing is you have GOT to get people off your current free demo, or demo for life as I'm thinking of it.

    And just make sure there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to replace the paid version with the demo version by mistake.
    Last edited by dkingsf; 10-03-11 at 11:27 AM.
    10-03-11 11:20 AM
  6. dkingsf's Avatar
    Personally i tried the demo for about a week before i bought the main app i bout the main app to support you not nessisarily for the extra benefits to me i liked the app and felt you did a good job and deserved paying for the full version this is just one persons perspective. i think a timed demo is fine and people that complain imo maybe have no intention of purchasing the paid app, people like freebees hence why some dodgy websites that i wont mention here do so well giving things for free that shouldnt be. only problem i see with you doing a timed demo is what stops the person from deleting the demo and reinstalling getting it free again would this not just cause you the same problems as you seem to have now. But then would i have bought the full release if the demo had been so stripped back i couldnt have seen the benefits of the app honestly id probably say no i wouldnt have. its a dodgy situation for you your in it for the money and thats fine just dont shoot yourself in the foot to spite your face
    As a user, that would be a pain in the A.$.$. if it was an app I wanted to keep and used. Uninstalling and reinstalling every 30 days would not be worth the time.
    10-03-11 11:25 AM
  7. jamesharmeling's Avatar
    You are basically asking people to take the hit for your own short-sightedness. In my business this happens and it always puts a bad taste in people's mouths and will follow you in a negative way. If you decide to do something such as what you have considered, give a one month big discount on the app to cushion the blow.
    10-03-11 11:29 AM
  8. menaknow's Avatar
    So I'm thinking of removing my demo version from App World and see if sales improve. A second option would be to change my demo version so that it stops working upon expiry of the demo period. That way I would't be competing with myself. The downside is that users may feel cheated by this action and flood my app with bad reviews. Again not so good for business.
    IMHO, this is actually a good business decision. You satisfy a the requirement of letting a user evaluate before a purchase, but you also guarantee that user buys your application if they find it useful.

    I see nothing wrong with this decision. And in you shoes I would choose the same.

    Your not really charging any huge, unaffordable amount. People complain that RIM should be doing something to motivate developers to develop for the PB. But those same users sometimes forget that it also the users responsibility to keep developers interested by also paying for an application if they are suppose to.
    10-03-11 11:34 AM
  9. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Well, I certainly would be. Put the disclaimer 1st in the description, put a popup notice in the download that will make the user do the "OK/CANCEL" thing on the "replace current version". If they don't read either, but still click "OK" then, as my 'lil sister used to say "Stupid on you". It would be my bad, not yours.
    The install process is owned bt RIM. I can't put a customized warning in the dialogs.
    The goal is to get people who are using your free demo to either upgrade to the full paid version (offer them a discount) or force them to the new, temporary demo version so they will either have to upgrade or delete the app.
    Again, there is no way to effectively communicate my intentions. They do not know me and always assume the worst.
    Another option would be to turn the demo version into ad supported "nagware" and make it nag nag nag. Don't make it easy to bypass the nag, make people want to cough up the $$ to get rid of it, but you can still make some chump-change off the ads.
    Very difficult to make in money with ads. Especially when the RIM APIs for ad-supported model are not included in current Air SDK.

    Give people free bug fixes, but new features should not be free, even on the paid version. Unless you charge a "premium" price for that option. Example:

    Paid app cost: (don't know your pricing here) .99/1.99/2.99 (whatever) includes bug fixes.
    Feature upgrades: .99 each
    Paid app cost with feature upgrades for "life": 4.99 (downside, if you have only ONE person take this option you're stuck with delivering the goods for that ONE.)

    First thing is you have GOT to get people off your current free demo, or demo for life as I'm thinking of it.
    Sounds okay in principal but again, communication of what is in the upgrades is not possible. I spend a lot of time researching reactions to various ways to monetize an app, and the payment for upgrade seem to be a very bad option. Do any developers out there have a different experience?
    10-03-11 11:36 AM
  10. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    You are basically asking people to take the hit for your own short-sightedness. In my business this happens and it always puts a bad taste in people's mouths and will follow you in a negative way. If you decide to do something such as what you have considered, give a one month big discount on the app to cushion the blow.
    Yes,I would be executing a bait & switch. But it would not be because of shortsightedness. It would have been because RIM does not currently give me the tools to properly differentiate my demo app from the paid one. At launch, I had assumed that I would have access to the compass so I could implement point-and-view (augmented reality) capability. My app is already discounted to a rock-bottom price because of this. I can't charge much less than the $0.99 I am currently asking.
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 10-03-11 at 12:03 PM.
    jamesharmeling likes this.
    10-03-11 11:44 AM
  11. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Your not really charging any huge, unaffordable amount. People complain that RIM should be doing something to motivate developers to develop for the PB. But those same users sometimes forget that it also the users responsibility to keep developers interested by also paying for an application if they are suppose to.
    I don't think customers have any such responsibility. As a business person I would never ask a customer to buy my product because of altruism. RIM may make my life a bit difficult but when it comes to my product, it is what it is. The product must be worth the price that I am asking.
    10-03-11 11:51 AM
  12. pinkert11's Avatar
    A demo is a demo, it should expire. Software that contains restricted, or less features is not a demo, this is a different offering. IE SQL and SQL express, vs SQL 30 day demo. In the express case MS hope that user out-grows the limitations of express. The demo is to showcase all the SQL has to offer but in a limited time-frame.

    You actually released 'What's up' and 'What's up Express'. The incentive to buy is to get more then the express offers. So there are two things happening. A) users are happy with the express version. B) The extra features are not enticing enough to upgrade.

    I suggest that you do go to a demo mode, full feature but limited time of use. You seem worried, but you are going to do it in a nice way. There are many apps that I downloaded free, then there became a purchase app when an upgrade was released. All of these apps did not mention that they intended to charge at a later date, or post update they simply did it.

    One option is to have a back-door code that will extend the demo length. That way if a user contacts you and is very upset you can offer to extend the demo.

    I purchased the app as I told you I would based on testing it and knowing that it is a quality app and you deserve credit for your work. However, in honest I would have been happy with the demo / light version as well. I do think you need to re-title if you can from What's up FREE to What's up DEMO. Keep the trial period to a week or two as well.
    10-03-11 12:04 PM
  13. dkingsf's Avatar
    Yes,I would be executing a bait & switch. But it would not be because of shortsightedness. It would have been because RIM does not currently give me the tools to properly differentiate my demo app from the paid one. At launch, I had assumed that I would have access to the compass so I could implement point-and-view (augmented reality) capability. My app is already discounted to a rock-bottom price because of this. I can't charge much less than the $0.99 I am currently asking.
    I don't see this as bait and switch. This is a demo app that could disappear and users should not be using it as free lifetime. It was for evaluation only. Hopefully buzz, that was stated?

    If so, then you can remove, change, update the demo as you see fit. The user has no rights to continue using it free of charge. The term demo is the catch all that let's you do this as you will.
    Last edited by dkingsf; 10-03-11 at 12:08 PM.
    10-03-11 12:06 PM
  14. dkingsf's Avatar
    The install process is owned bt RIM. I can't put a customized warning in the dialogs.

    Again, there is no way to effectively communicate my intentions. They do not know me and always assume the worst.

    Very difficult to make in money with ads. Especially when the RIM APIs for ad-supported model are not included in current Air SDK.



    Sounds okay in principal but again, communication of what is in the upgrades is not possible. I spend a lot of time researching reactions to various ways to monetize an app, and the payment for upgrade seem to be a very bad option. Do any developers out there have a different experience?
    You do have a website for yourself? I would think it mandatory for any company, developer, whatever to be able to communicate in this manner.
    10-03-11 12:11 PM
  15. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    A demo is a demo, it should expire. Software that contains restricted, or less features is not a demo, this is a different offering. IE SQL and SQL express, vs SQL 30 day demo. In the express case MS hope that user out-grows the limitations of express. The demo is to showcase all the SQL has to offer but in a limited time-frame.

    You actually released 'What's up' and 'What's up Express'. The incentive to buy is to get more then the express offers. So there are two things happening. A) users are happy with the express version. B) The extra features are not enticing enough to upgrade.

    I suggest that you do go to a demo mode, full feature but limited time of use. You seem worried, but you are going to do it in a nice way. There are many apps that I downloaded free, then there became a purchase app when an upgrade was released. All of these apps did not mention that they intended to charge at a later date, or post update they simply did it.

    One option is to have a back-door code that will extend the demo length. That way if a user contacts you and is very upset you can offer to extend the demo.

    I purchased the app as I told you I would based on testing it and knowing that it is a quality app and you deserve credit for your work. However, in honest I would have been happy with the demo / light version as well. I do think you need to re-title if you can from What's up FREE to What's up DEMO. Keep the trial period to a week or two as well.
    I'm still torn between a fully-functional but time-limited demo and dropping the demo altogether. I do not like the thought of being perceived as a bait & switch artist and having to deny a whole lot of very bad reviews. Dropping the demo altogether would result in a lot of bad press in places like this. I like the "backdoor" approach. I already have a backdoor on my current demo which restores full functionality for one day at a time. However, I haven't had an opportunity to give it to anyone with a complaint. I have had some complaints about a short demo period but always by way of a review rather than the support email address.
    10-03-11 12:20 PM
  16. newcollector's Avatar
    Yes,I would be executing a bait & switch. But it would not be because of shortsightedness. It would have been because RIM does not currently give me the tools to properly differentiate my demo app from the paid one. At launch, I had assumed that I would have access to the compass so I could implement point-and-view (augmented reality) capability. My app is already discounted to a rock-bottom price because of this. I can't charge much less than the $0.99 I am currently asking.
    Augmented reality would be really cool. Do what you need to do in order to continue making apps. If you get augumented reality, then I would be willing to pay more than the already low price.
    10-03-11 12:24 PM
  17. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I don't see this as bait and switch. This is a demo app that could disappear and users should not be using it as free lifetime. It was for evaluation only. Hopefully buzz, that was stated?

    If so, then you can remove, change, update the demo as you see fit. The user has no rights to continue using it free of charge. The term demo is the catch all that let's you do this as you will.
    No, the description says that demo demo continues as a "lite" version. My plan was on sound on the condition that RIM delivered some additions APIs. Lack of a compass makes it impossible to differentiate the lite version from the full version. RIM's lack of support for the hardware has caused this dilemma.
    10-03-11 12:27 PM
  18. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Augmented reality would be really cool. Do what you need to do in order to continue making apps. If you get augumented reality, then I would be willing to pay more than the already low price.
    My idea was that the demo version (lacking AR) would be so inferior to the paid version that I would have not needed to post this thread. The fact is that I need to start making some money now. I can't afford to wait for RIM. Even if the compass is available as part of 2.0, I can't count on support being available soon.
    10-03-11 12:31 PM
  19. dkingsf's Avatar
    My idea was that the demo version (lacking AR) would be so inferior to the paid version that I would have not needed to post this thread. The fact is that I need to start making some money now. I can't afford to wait for RIM. Even if the compass is available as part of 2.0, I can't count on support being available soon.
    Yes, you need to always remember that with RIM, tomorrow never seems to come.

    Good luck on the approach you take. Believe me, your continued participation here on Crackberry will go a long way toward easing any animosity of your decision and appeasing your user base.
    10-03-11 12:37 PM
  20. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Yes, you need to always remember that with RIM, tomorrow never seems to come.

    Good luck on the approach you take. Believe me, your continued participation here on Crackberry will go a long way toward easing any animosity of your decision and appeasing your user base.
    For sure I can always count on forum members for support. You have helped me out a lot and I hope that I have returned the favour by sharing my experience with you.

    Even here, there are lots of folk who figure that all a developer has to do is submit a decent app to App World and success follows automatically. They constantly harp about lack of apps and wonder where all the developers are hiding.

    There are a lots of very tough decisions that we have to make daily. A big problem that we have to deal with is how we are perceived when we find we have made a slight planning error and need to change directions. I really appreciate your responses.
    10-03-11 12:52 PM
  21. menaknow's Avatar
    I don't think customers have any such responsibility. As a business person I would never ask a customer to buy my product because of altruism. RIM may make my life a bit difficult but when it comes to my product, it is what it is. The product must be worth the price that I am asking.

    No, you misunderstand what I meant.

    I haven't looked at your application yet (been busy to be honest but am planning to purchase). From what I understand, you put a demo version and stated that customers pay if they decide to keep it?

    If you stated that on the application page, I believe it is legally part of a users agreement to continue to use it.

    If it was more "if you like it please purchase it..." Well then your user has no responsibility as you make it more of a suggestion.
    10-03-11 01:38 PM
  22. Mystic205's Avatar
    @buzz..

    Simply consider anyone out there who has the demo, is using it and not paying for the retail one a lost cause, and focus on your new business.

    So, given you have 60-70 new downloads a week, simply change the demo to a time expired 14-30 day version, or further restrict the functionality of the demo in some way.

    Demos are a good thing.
    10-03-11 01:56 PM
  23. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    From what I understand, you put a demo version and stated that customers pay if they decide to keep it?
    The paid version and the demo version are two separate apps. The demo version is fully functional for 5 days after which the demo continues to function as a "lite" version with reduced functionality. If the customer wishes to purchase the full paid version, App World's install process deletes the demo version and installs the paid version in its place.
    10-03-11 02:03 PM
  24. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    @buzz..

    Simply consider anyone out there who has the demo, is using it and not paying for the retail one a lost cause, and focus on your new business.

    So, given you have 60-70 new downloads a week, simply change the demo to a time expired 14-30 day version, or further restrict the functionality of the demo in some way.

    Demos are a good thing.
    I see your point but there are other considerations as well.

    First, the volume is currently 60-70 units per day (not per week). A demo/lite version that remains installed on a users PB is potential advertising for my app should the user show it to someone else who is more inclined to purchase the paid app. In addition, the user will be getting notifications of future updates and may decide to purchase an improved version down the road (especially if the new version has AR capability.) For these reasons, I would be foolish to consider any download to be lost cause.

    Second, as noted above there is considerable blow-back when a developer unilaterally renders a product useless by installing a time-limited version on top of it. This kind of action is perceived as bait & switch because the user is forced to buy the product in order to continue to use it. It would also be considered to be bait & switch if I merely "restricted the functionality of the demo in some way" since there is an implied assumption that I would continue a minimum level of capability.

    EDIT: After thinking about my response for a few minutes, I think that these two points are very strong reasons to stay the course. I will stick with the current two-apps approach - at least until 2.0 either delivers on the magnetometer or RIM disappointments me once again. In the latter case, I will reconsider my options as things develop closer to the new year.
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 10-03-11 at 03:16 PM.
    10-03-11 02:38 PM
  25. kbz1960's Avatar
    Well to me demo means it works for a period of time and then quits working or something that shows you what it is capable of but you can do nothing with it. A free version is a functional version that is missing features. Seems everyone has their own idea though.

    For instance the free version of malwarebytes you are able to update it and scan but you get no realtime protection or automatic updates unless you buy the paid version. Not sure if there are things in your app you can dumb down for a free version or not.

    I hope you find the answer.
    10-03-11 03:09 PM
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