OK. I’ll admit it – I’m guilty. I knew I was doing it all along, but really didn’t think anything of it. I’m certainly not the first to point this out, but a friend called me out on it and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why is it that we can sometimes be such cheapskates when it comes to buying apps, but won’t hesitate with other purchases? Is it that we feel we deserve free apps because we’ve spent so much on our mobile device(s)? Do we think the developers of apps don’t deserve to be compensated for their work? Is it that we feel we’ve been “burned” in the past by purchasing apps so we feel that we will never fall for that again? Actually, I personally think it’s something a bit more simple – quite frankly, we’re spoiled.
What brought it to light for me was that one day I had downloaded/installed a pretty awesome video editor app (the name escapes me at the moment). You could take videos and pictures from your device and add them to the app. These clips were uploaded to a web service and after a few minutes, you would have an awesomely edited video with transitions! You could add filters, music, and text. The catch? In the free version, you were limited in the length of the video, and you could only view the finished video in the app or on the website. Want to be able to download/save the video, or share you your favorite social media sites? No problem! Just pay $4.99 for the premium app!
When I found this out about the app, I turned to my friend and said, “$4.99!!?? Are they crazy!?”
To which, my friend calmly said, “Oh. So, you don’t think they deserve $4.99 for their work on making the app, then taking your videos and making them awesome automatically for you, then allowing you to edit them and download them from their site that they’re paying for?”
Wow. My friend was right. This got me thinking about how I approach all apps. You see, I tend to be a $.99 or free kind of guy. I may splurge from time to time and plop down $1.99, but that’s my limit! Anything above that takes some serious though, consideration and research.
And isn’t that simply pathetic? 2 BUCKS!? You would think I was considering purchasing a new car! On top of that (and I’m sure many of you are the same), I won’t hesitate to buy some other thing that can cost much more than that, and then rationalize the purchase by saying something like “…oh well…if it doesn’t work out it was only 20 bucks…” Case in point – years ago, I saw a commercial for a little red gun-like gadget that claimed to fix ANY strand of Christmas lights if one light went out. It was just like any other infomercial in that it claimed to not be sold in stores anywhere. However, as Christmas rolled around that year, I noticed it at our local Walgreen’s in the “As Seen On TV” section for $10. I used that old rational I mentioned above. I didn’t even hesitate like I would have had this been some app! By the way, turns out this little light gun works and I still have it although I’ve since moved on to LED Christmas lights. Fortunately the manufacturer has released one for LED bulbs
But the point is, it seems that if it is a tangible item, we are more likely willing to risk getting ripped off than we are for even a mere $.99 app. I do agree with many who say that all app developers should make a free, limited version so that we can try before we buy. But in some cases this isn’t feasible – especially in the case of a lone developer.
“Buyer beware” applies to all purchases. But risk losing $.99? I think I can spare it.
Have you noticed yourself acting the same way about app purchases? What is your typical per-app purchase price limit? Please feel free to share!