Pricing iPhone Apps

Over on Safe From the Losing Fight, Andy Finnell posted about the wrong way to price iPhone apps, and I have to say that I agree.

If you look at the pricing for other phone apps on other mobile platforms, prices are much higher, enabling developers to at least stand a fighting chance to make a living. In particular, the apps on mobile phones usually are $4.95 or higher. On the Palm, a reasonably good Sodoku game runs around $9.99 or even higher. The same apps on the iPhone are either free or $0.99. How in the heck can a developer make a living doing that?

The real killer of pricing at $0.99 (or even $4.95) is that the support you can provide at that price is virtually nothing. Really the only thing you can do is write a web page with an FAQ. Answering that support e-mail actually costs you money if it ends up just being a “user error”, rather than a real bug.

Now, don’t get me wrong… You need to make sure your apps are as bug free as possible and getting reports from users is important, but at $0.99 answering questions for confused users that don’t understand how to use your application can kill a product, because you can spend all your time doing support, and not developing know apps.

Apple (and Sega) set expectations for what applications should be priced by making Monkey Ball $9.99. On any other mobile platform, a game like that would run between $19.99 and $24.99. I think developers are in the mindset, “Well, this thing isn’t as good as Monkey Ball….I have to price it lower”. But a year from now, how many of those people are still going to be around?

How NOT to Demo at TechCrunch50

You know, if a company is going to demo at TechCrunch50, it’s probably not the smartest thing in the world to alienate half your potential user base by talking about politics.   But that’s exactly what DotSpots did for the first five minutes of the demo that did during their TechCruch50 demo. And the company motto? “The Wisdom of Crowds”? Apparently they haven’t heard the saying “None of Us Is As Dumb As All of Us”.

edit: Google’s Marissa Mayer gave DotSpots got high marks for the idea, but wondered about the business model.

Time will tell.