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to charge or not to charge (for an app)

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by pk698, May 29, 2011.

  1. pk698

    pk698 Active Member

    I'm in the process of making a mobile android app. It's a match making app based on tags. Looking to finish in about 1 week.

    And I'm on the fence about the issue of charging for the app.

    Why I want to charge:
    1. to help recoup some of the development cost
    2. help pay for web hosting / server / time & effort into the development of the app
    why I don't want to charge:
    1. I was never a fan of fees. hated them and felt that most fees by businesses are ridiculous and outrageous
    2. my insecurity that people won't buy it because of the fee

    If I were to charge, I want to charge $0.99. I don't want to charge that high really, but 99cents is the lowest google allows for an app without being free. I'd charge just 50cents if google allows it, but they don't.

    So, what do you think? is 99cents a reasonable fee?
  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    IF you are going to charge, no matter how small, you need one hell of an app that will take off, provide innovative, yet user friendly features. Otherwise you may get a smattering of purchases, but nothing much.
  3. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    I preface this with a statement that I know absolutely NOTHING about the Android APP market, I am talking from a very general Marketing viewpoint :)

    There is nothing at all wrong with charging for your time and expertise. As you have already stated, you have committed time and resources to the app already, and would reasonably expect to be able to recoup those, and make a profit on your efforts.

    I am not really sure what this app does, or how popular it could potentially be, but if you have intentions of developing it further or supporting it professionally, I think you have to charge a fee for it, otherwise it will very naturally become a lower priority on your time.

    There is very little risk that someone who *really* wants your app is going to be reluctant to pay you the very low fee you are proposing, you could in all likelihood charge quite a lot more before you hit any kind of buyer resistance due to price alone.

    IMHO... Free is great, of course we all love free.... but most people realise that they get what they pay for, and don't mind paying for what they actually want.
    borbole and Peggy like this.
  4. User

    User Well-Known Member

    I am in favor of paid apps. For one a paid app makes you want to do better and in reality also does result in better code because people who pay for it will be sure to let you know when something doesn't work. If you have a free app and something doesn't work right many users will simply uninstall and move on rather than take the time to provide feedback.

    I'd also charge more than $0.99 as there's some "psychological pricing" going on where people may wonder why your app is so cheap, i.e. what's wrong with it, and may be reluctant to buy. Depending on what the app does I'd start it at $2.99, when you say match making does that mean dating? If so then you can easily go much higher if the app actually works well.
    borbole likes this.
  5. ToDie4

    ToDie4 Well-Known Member

    I would imagine you are putting your all into your application, why be shy about it, it's your application and you're going to be dedicated with support and on-going development, I would slap a minimum $5 on it, don't sell yourself short, $5 is nothing for a well written, supported and progressive application.
    Peggy likes this.
  6. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

    I personally would hate to charge my users for an app like this... I just don't feel like there would be much support with it.(by support I mean willingness from my members to purchase a paid app to browse the site)

    With that said... definitely a fee for the website owners(myself) would be absolutely understandable. Just a higher fee :)
  7. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the competition.
    What is your competition ?
    What are they doing ?
    If they aren't charging ... why is your app more useful to people ?
    What about free with ads from eHarmony or Match.com ?

    Maybe you want to make the best app, and try to get eHarmony to buy it once you have XXXX users ?
  8. pk698

    pk698 Active Member

    competition is high (stratosphere). I mean, well know dating/match-making apps flood the app store.

    they are doing the same thing as we are, which is letting people meet locally. but we have a (very) slightly different approach by using tags.

    it's useful (such a relative term) because we want to match people with social tags. also, we cater more for college students because it's student centric. there are also other student services launching later that'll be integrated with the app. but initially, only the matching feature will be launched.

    don't know much about eharmony or match.com. will have to check that out.

    I think I might make it free initially, then charge once it becomes popular?
  9. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    While I do both iOS and Android development, it's mostly for companies and other parties (i.e., I rarely get to determine the price of such apps). However, based on what I've seen I think this is a bad idea.

    If you're going to initially offer your app for free, then I'd suggest also offering a paid version of the app should you change your mind and wish to start charging (one, which hopefully, contains functionality not found in the free app). Otherwise, you risk pissing off users of your app, who have the ability to rate and leave feedback. Sure, there will be those who will gladly pay for the app if they appreciate what it does for them, but they'll probably be less vocal about that fact. People browse free apps for a reason.

    If you're just looking to offset some development costs, and want to keep the app free, then you might want to also look into advertising.

    EDIT: I have nothing against paid apps btw (and pricing should be competitive in relation to similar apps on the market), but I do think charging for what was initially a free app after it becomes popular is a risky move, which will undoubtedly upset some users of the app.
    Shelley likes this.
  10. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    Re: Dating Apps -

    Unexplored Market: age 40 and up.

    I don't know how many of the Dating Apps target older people.

    I do know that most of these adults now are able to Text Message (because their kids at university want them to do it !)
    Can you charge for text messages ? (Make your money that way ?)
    I do know that older people ... especially 55+ are less likely to have Smartphones (although I suspect that will change over time).
    I do know this cohort aren't super keen on dating sites (as they feel meeting someone in person is how it's done)(younger people certainly didn't grow up with this ingrained stereotype).
    I say there are two age groups: 40-55, 55+
    If you want to charge for your app ... this might be a good market as the people over 40 certainly have alot more cash then younger daters. As well, it is harder to meet other adults ... so they have more need.
    Adults and more money and more need for dating help (I believe this is a positive feedback loop :) )
    The 55+ age groups has even more money and have even a harder time getting dates !
    Other ideas: older daters often go to "Bars for older people". There is generally many many less places where they go ... so it is easy to target them.

    Random ideas:

    Idea: Can you buy someone else a drink via the app ? I think that might be a cool feature. Maybe I could attach a picture of us at the bar across from them ... so they could see who bought the the drink. Maybe I could even type up a message Text or audio or both.

    Maybe you could sponsor happy hour and everyone that orders a drink for someone (even their friend) via your app could get the drink at 1/2 price ?
    Note: I have no idea of the legality of buying drinks via an app. I do suspect the drink server still must use the final discretion.
    Obviously if you could get your app in some people's hands .... if you get one bar to advertise on it ... especially when the user is in the competition's bar ! ... you might be on to something :)
  11. pk698

    pk698 Active Member

    These are great feedbacks. Thanks all. I think it will be a wise choice to have it be free, so free it will be. Digital doctor, those are great ideas. Buy someone a drink via the app. I like it. (I don't think there's any legal issues with buying drinks via an app... it's just a virtual gesture. I would think) Will have to put that idea on my feature notes for future inclusion.

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