79p for an app? You must be joking! What a rip-off!!

After many months of simply “not getting around to it”, I finally submitted an update for my MakeMeAPass app. After I completed the submission, I decided to take a look at the reviews.

The app is sitting with a 3 star average, which isn’t bad. What surprised me was the fact that this average came from 5 star and 1 star reviews.

The 5 star reviews were positive, basically conveyed the sentiments of “good start, more to do”. Which is true. Very true.

The 1 star reviews were, as you can imagine, very negative. I came to conclusion that the negativity comes from people feeling cheated. They seem to think that 79p should get them an all-singing, all-dancing app, that’s updated every day for the rest of time.

I should have been a little clearer in the app’s description and indicated that it only supported one vendor, but, in my defence, I thought that was clear from the  screenshot I provided. Lesson learned.

Here are some of the 1star reviews, presented with a response, should the author come across them:

“0.79 for just one app. No further development. Dev’s like this are starting to give the App Store a bad name. To the dev, what is stopping you providing the ability to add all store cards & loyalty cards?”Apps take a *long* time to create and 79p represents a bargain, believe it or not.   Development was stalled for personal reasons, so please don’t criticize me for not providing updates when you’ve paid less than a cup of coffee. Please try to understand the effort that goes into something and remember that Apple take 30%, so I see 49p from each download. 49p!!  I’m one person, not a large company. I hold down a day job and tried to help people get the most out of Passbook with a simple app. I charge money to pay the hosting costs for the website.

“It says that it costs £0.79 but it took £3.16 out of my credit and the pass doesn’t work at all I WANT A REFUND!!!”Nothing to do with me. I set the price at 79p, but Apple charge you. If you want a refund, please contact them directly.

A truly awful app. Only one vendor supported and even that did not work A complete waste of money It wouldn’t let me put no stars !! – A bit harsh, but if it didn’t work, I can understand the frustration. An email would have been helpful to tell me what was wrong.

“£0.79 for one pass is a rip off!” – What gave you the impression there was more than one pass supported at launch? Why is 79p a rip-off for one pass? It took me weeks to understand the Passbook mechanism, write all the code and publish an app. For 79p, it’s actually a bargain.

“I want my money back. £0.79 just for one pass?!?!?”Same answer as above.

Apple have completely skewed people’s perceptions of software and how much it should cost. MakeMeAPass took about me about 12 hours from start to finish. I won’t mention all the work that went into the original website and the months of work that went into building PassVerse. I’ll also skip over the 15 years of experience I have in building software.

I don’t mind people feeling they aren’t getting value for money. That’s fine. It’s very personal. What I don’t like is this attitude that people have towards apps. They don’t magically come into existence. They take time, energy and perseverance to create. So the next time you’re about to rate an app with 1 star, please think about the human behind it. Get in touch with that person. Communicate your feelings towards their app. Give them a chance to respond.

And if you must slap the developer with a 1star review because you think 79p was a rip-off, please don’t do it from your £500 smartphone, whilst you’re sipping a £3 latte from Starbucks.

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10 thoughts on “79p for an app? You must be joking! What a rip-off!!

  1. I cannot believe there is no Android version Tom 😉

    ¡Don’t take it personally!
    I can totally appreciate your point on how app stores have shaped peoples opinions on how much software is worth. I guess, as you are aware, the potential market is vastly different though from the traditional route to market. It is a different scale of economy. The model has been since the beginning volume at a low cost over low volume at a high cost. To make this work is all dependent on app appeal and adoption.
    From your experience, there are plenty of negative people around, who do not mind paying for software. If the software does not meet their expectations, they will have a go. In my opinion, if it is not constructive, leave it out…

      • ¡I see that you need to rise extra early in preparation for a long days toiling with your chosen operating systems! This is not necessary in my world.

      • Android dev experience is getting there, Studio and Gradle are great, but it doesn’t match up to iOS yet. Too many versions, patterns and not enough best practices. It’s much better than it was two years ago though.

        I’m also happy to see Google finally addressing the permission mess with Android M 🙂

      • Sounds like you keep an eye on the Android development sphere as well. Android has never, and, quite likely will never be as polished as iOS. I can live with that…

      • I’ve been developing with Android for a few years. All these mobile OSes are converging to the same feature set, so dev is more or less the same. The lack of granular permissions has prevented me from adopting Android as my personal phone, but with M, I’m thinking that might change.

      • There has always been granular permissions in Android. Among the changes in `M` is that app permissions will no longer require acceptance at install time. Rather, the user will approve permissions at run-time as required.

      • Yeah, you’re right. It’s just that you have no option and some of the permissions are too much to grant at the point of download. Facebook’s a perfect example. The need the microphone permission before you’ve ever decided to record anything 🙂 Don’t know why it too Google so long to add on-demand permissions.

      • ¡I agree to agree! I do not know why it took so long though. But as you know, there is always a big bag of stuff you would like to get done. No matter how small or big the teams is, resources are limited. It generally comes down to prioritisation. I personally have not found the existing solution to be too much of a problem but perhaps I do not know any better.

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