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In-app purchases

asked 2015-02-01 17:29:53 +0300

Artem gravatar image

updated 2015-02-01 17:30:16 +0300

Let's get them working. As an app developer-designer-manager with over a million of apps downloads (no sneaky bad ones, most popular one is nearly poor education), I'd say in-app purchases are even more valuable for the current app world business models than app purchase. If I had to choose between two of these, in-app purchase would be my clear preference, especially for an ecosystem with small number of users where almost everybody would use free stuff, but then some could purchase upgrades and subscriptions.

What's needed:

  • System level support. Single, same, familiar purchase point across the whole device, possibly even looking somewhat different from the rest of UI. Jolla may like to enable many local payment providers, but in-device payment interface shall always look same so that users would be clear it's the official payment solution, not fishing of some sort.

  • Promise to bite hard, rape and kill developers who dare to create a similar looking payment screen with.. some possible mistakes of e.g. handling credit card numbers insecurely

  • Ability to sell in-app tokens. These can be either set up in some Jolla servers or in-app. Or we can just clone iOS approach with sellable items specified in app binary already.

Ideally we'd also get:

  • Sandbox for developers to try payments without real money involved

  • Promotions or ability to distribute free credits somehow

  • Ability to sell subscriptions, not just one time purchases

  • Ability to set different prices based on regions a'la Ovi store (e.g. same comic in the comic app to cost 2 eur in Finland while 20 cents in China).

P.S. See also https://together.jolla.com/question/6522/harbourstore-support-for-paid-applications/

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Comments

15

The option to pay for an app is very vital for every developer, but in-app purchases are just awful in every way. In my opinion Jolla should not go this route not a single inovation came from in-app purchases, just user harassment and pain.

max ( 2015-02-01 18:29:49 +0300 )edit
7

I have to agree with @max. I am a software developer myself, albeit not in the mass consumer domain. And I am also a software user.

As a user, I have to say that in-app purchases are a royal PITA. I am perfectly happy to pay for an app but the app nagging me to buy "extras" is a terrible user experience. The only concession I am willing to accept is a one-off purchase of an activation code for a free demo program, but even that must be offline, not an in-app purchase.

As a developer, I just do not see any advantage of providing my users with such a dreadful experience. I want to attract my users, not to scare them away.

pichlo ( 2015-02-01 23:30:33 +0300 )edit
2

I put a link to Jolla's Stefano Mosconi's tweet:

https://twitter.com/zzste/status/430345286259462144

Eventhough he isn't behind that original story, I hope he (Stefano) still thinks the same way.. Or atleast I got the feeling he thinks the same way as that story puts it.. After all he retweeted it...

My own opinion is, that in-app purschase is the wors idea ever. I'm happy to pay for the app, if it is good enough, so i feel I will need it.But in-app purvhase, is no go..

huuhaa ( 2015-02-02 11:59:21 +0300 )edit
2

You are completly right... jolla store need bigger and proffessionnal look app but that need time and/or money so I think the only way is to get paid app and/or in-app purchase and (in my opinion) in-app purchase is the best thing to begin with because of the reason you envolve...

PS: if jolla make (even a little) money for every purchase it could help them to make a bigger team and develop better product, more product, or just develop faster. I said this because jolla is damn cool but does not evolve enough fast a side of the other big companies

NeWin ( 2015-02-02 12:04:36 +0300 )edit
1

Hmm, @max,@huuhaa, if you don't have in app purchases, how do you buy, for example, comics in a comic magazine app? :/ That is assuming you are not against paid content in general.

Artem ( 2015-02-02 12:48:54 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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3

answered 2015-02-03 17:27:08 +0300

K and J gravatar image

Kindergarten: I meant the whole product Jolla should not remain in a first or second phase, but grow into an adult product with good functionality. The smartphone market is already saturated and consumers are demanding. Apps: some apps are available for direct use and can be updated, other apps are more suitable for in-app purchases. Apps with libraries or music in it for example, like the sound app I mentioned. Then you can have personalization within an app. And these apps are not possible on Jolla, because there is no in-app payment system. Well, this is realy a problem, is it not? We have doubts about 'free' apps, that's all. Generally I trust Jolla more than Apple, etc., but it is a pity that the Jolla store not mentions what the apps do. In Aptoide we at least can see what apps do before we install something. And it is not yet possible to switch off location of each app. We regret that.

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answered 2015-02-18 22:58:09 +0300

vmaatta gravatar image

The answers and comments here are quite weird, to put it mildly. In-app purchases enable new options for the developer and the user. Seriously people… trying to deny the paid and in-app options from being available is no better than denying the option of free applications.

  • Just because some developers truly do trick users into getting a "free" application that is only usable after an in-app purchase does not mean that all developers would do so.
  • Just because some applications constantly harass users with in-app purchases does not mean all in-app containing apps do.
  • The personal data FUD around the comments is just off-topic nonsense which has nothing to do with in-app payments. An app might be evil or it might not, regardless of it containing in-app purchases. With store provided in-app payments at least the store might be able to protect your payment data.
  • Just because someone has blogged that game makers "have destroyed their entire industry" with in-app payments does not mean in-app payments cannot be utilised properly where they make sense in the context.

I think in-app payments are just as much a required part, as an available option, of a modern application ecosystem as (fully) pre-paid, donate, free and FOSS. There need to be different kinds of options for users and developers to choose from.

One important factor that would benefit from discussion is that Jolla can do it differently. Jolla does not need to take 30% like other stores do. Jolla does not have to, and should not in my opinion, deny non-Jolla payment options. One important freedom is the freedom of choice.

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Thank you for first sane comment in this thread.

FWIW, Apple on iOS does not, surprisingly, prevent other payment methods, for example Pokerstars client, that was accepted to iOS but not on Play Store.

Smar ( 2015-03-14 13:03:44 +0300 )edit
2

answered 2015-02-02 14:45:28 +0300

K and J gravatar image

As a consumer and Jolla user, I always wonder why developers create things for free. Free can be a lie in the business world. Google c.s. are free because of the data they steal from us. I want to pay for the products that I appreciate. Therefore I look in a Sailfish app if there is an 'about' and a way to donate/pay. Some app developers have this mentioned. Useful and nice work should be paid, always, that's my opinion. Apple has spoiled the business, by admitting so called free apps. Often they have a low functionality, unless you pay. That is not nice. Or the app is free because it sucks your data and you are a target for advertisers and researchers. That is not nice too. So a system to pay for Sailfish apps is favourable to my opinion. It also stimulates developers to make a good product. And that is necessary, because many apps are not yet mature.

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6

I have to disagree with you there, even if you pay for an applicstion it still can be crappy and steal your data too.

I do not expect any payment from my software, and everything I create is (and probably will be) distributed in source form that you can verify yourself and modify to suit your needs.

I feel it is offensive to suggest that only paid content is useful and safe. :(

juiceme ( 2015-02-02 16:04:55 +0300 )edit

You are right: there are many paid apps that abuse your personal data. They are the worst of course. But I had hoped that with Jolla this would not be possible, or , at least, not so extensive. I think we should make a difference between native basic apps, like People, E-mail, Browser, Calendar, Meecast, Notes, Media Player, Calculator, Clock, Maps, and some others, and personal apps that are downloaded by personal choice. The basic apps should be free (in fact paid by the Jolla company) and the others should only be offered for a reasonable price. Well, I am to old to think that it is realistic to create a society only on voluntary work. I like open source, but any worker for open source deserves money for his job. He/she cannot live on the cakes that customers bake or the shawls that are knit as payment.

K and J ( 2015-02-02 18:00:06 +0300 )edit

I forgot: you can't expect everybody to be a computer tech. Firstly it is a men's world. What about the women? What about all the others who are not techs? Do they have to go to Apple? I spend hours and hours last 3/4 years in order to get my Jolla function. I instructed my non tech husband. But I wished that I could have done other things instead!

K and J ( 2015-02-02 18:06:52 +0300 )edit

Heh, it's a mazing and sometimes sad to see a noticeable amount of people so worried about bad guys asking money for game features while not caring about magazine-wallpaper-comic sales at all. Heh, I can only wish that one day unfair in-game sales would be a real important Jolla problem.

Artem ( 2015-02-02 18:22:41 +0300 )edit

@juiceme, I absolutely agree with you. But @K and J is right too, especially if you come from the other side of the fence. Many iOS or Android apps have a free and a paid version and in those cases, the free variant is always plagued with ads.

Besides, as much as I like free software, I also have to agree that a vast majority of it is just downright crap. That's what you get for using something that someone concocted in their bedroom, with no proper design and QA. And when you dare to mention a bug, you more often than not get a "shut up, sources are there, fix it yourself" response.

@Artem, you have presented an interesting problem. AAUI, what you propose is in fact selling the content and the app is just a gateway to access that content. One way is to use the content provider's website to sign up, subscribe or whatnot and then just put your access details in the app's settings. That would work provided you trust the content provider's website but that is no different from trusting the in-app payment. But, more importantly, it would bypass Jolla altogether and thus cut off a small part of its income.

Hmm. A tough one. Maybe I should reconsider my original stance on the topic :)

pichlo ( 2015-02-02 20:01:30 +0300 )edit
1

answered 2015-02-03 12:14:45 +0300

K and J gravatar image

My last comment about this subject, sorry. Now the 'ordinary' Jolla user takes apps from Aptoide (Yandex, etc). Example: Sound app 'Ambiance", normally a paid one, but not at Aptoide. Reugularly the app offers new sounds, but not on a Jolla, because it is a pirate app. This happens all the time that apps via Aptoide don't fully function and that's frustrating for Jolla users. (By the way, Ambiance spies on you although it is paid and it does so on Jolla too.) It would be a shame if Jolla with its nice Sailfish UI would vanish. The company has to work on more quality qua functionality and qua apps and therefore it is necessary to make rules for the development of apps and only admitting them if they are good enough. Get developers paid and don't stay in Kindergarten. A vision, good management and feet on the ground!

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Your comment really misses the whole point of this discussion. It is not about paid apps, but in-app purchases. I can certainly see the point @Artem made, but I personally think in-app purchases are a bad idea.

There is not a good rule to allow in-app purchases and not opening the door for abusive app developers that stretch the patience of the users or just scamming the users. And not enabling in-app purchaes does not mean we stay in Kindergarten (whatever you mean by that, sorry this is just the most ridiculous part of your post). Another problem with in-app purchaes are, that developers will start to track the behavior of the user. So they can strip certain functions and sell them to the user. It is not because developers are evil, but it is what makes economical sense if you have in-app purchases. And this would clearly violate the spirit Jolla tries to set for their ecosystem. And the first versions of @Artem FlashLight app did collect a questional amount of user data. This was then changed and he said he wanted to made a point that Jolla should be more carful. And I can guarantee you with in-app purchaches the usertracking wiches from developers will return. And that is not Kindergarden, but the privacy for all SailfishOS users.

max ( 2015-02-03 15:56:38 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2015-02-01 17:29:53 +0300

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Last updated: Feb 18 '15