imageIn the comments to the WP7 app data post it seems like we’re all starting to talk about what app pricing should look like so let’s focus on it a little bit here. The MS Marketplace is supposed to be a place for devs to make money and presumably that’s in sales and it isn’t geared to ad revenue. The Android market is the opposite – it is geared towards ad based apps since that’s the model Google is pushing and the Android base has subscribed. And that will give you an idea why Angry Birds ultimately was a free/ad based game in its initial release. Since that release there have been complaints that the ads are intrusive and that people would pay $.99 to not have to have them. And that’s the question here.

Do you think that developers of $.99 apps (and I’m limiting it there since higher priced apps may not have the same breakeven points) should release two versions of their apps? So they would have a free/ad based app and then a second app for $.99 that would be ad free. I personally like the model and think devs will end up pretty well this way (with some money upfront for the paid users and also an ongoing stream of revenue from the ad users) but I can see some users having mixed feelings about multiple app versions out there and I also see the Marketplace getting mucked up if all apps are duplicated. So let’s presume the paid and ad app are the same except for the ads. How should developers market and release their $.99 apps?


  1. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Ad SDK does not yet support XNA applications, like mine. So most games would be left out of MS-supported advertising revenue. There are supposedly alternatives Xna developers can use but those aren’t officially supported either.

  2. Well, imho it’s pretty simple. Do both in one app.
    Just release the app for 0.99$ with an unlimited trial mode. In the trial mode, you show ads. And if people buy the app, just disable them. At least that’s what I’m going to do as soon as we can use ads her in Europe…
    And thats pretty much all you have to do:
    private static bool IsTrial()
    var license = new Microsoft.Phone.Marketplace.LicenseInformation();
    return license.IsTrial();

  3. @Thomas: but then the app doesn’t appear in the ‘free’ apps category so it’s not viewed as much. So people will think it’s a paid app with a trial of some sort and even if you explain it that way, searching under ‘free’ wouldn’t show it so it gets less attention

  4. True. But i’d rather see it happen that way (and I think MS too) than having the Marketplace cluttered with duplicates. Of course, in the end it’s up to the developers.
    I’d like to see Microsoft adding a way to promote apps with trial modes in the marketplace. Currently you only see if a trial mode is available when you click on the app…

  5. Well, so few people actually purchased Pixel Checkup when it was a $.99 app that I have decided just to release it as a free app with advertisements to get it more visibility in the “Free Apps” list and not even bother with a paid $.99 version unless I get a lot of requests for it. I’m not sure why it hasn’t sold more than 7 copies – you’d think more people would want to know if they have dead pixels on their brand new $200 phones before their return policy expires! :) Heh, that’s ok though – I’m just happy someone out there found it useful.

    As for Giggle Pad – I’m not sure what to do with it. I do have a few sales (less than 20), and at least one person thinks it’s worth the $.99, but being a family-oriented app I’m worried about what might show up in the ad.

  6. The trial w/ads vs. paid 0.99 is the way to go and Microsoft should realize that. Definitely don’t want to see duplicates of everything. They need to find a way to either include the unlimited trials (w/ads) in the free category or as Thomas notes, somehow promote apps w/trials.

    If I see a paid app without a trial and it does not have a good number of glowing reviews, I move on. Plain and simple. Locked down trials are useless, but the ad supported trial concept is a tolerable alternative that should be explored and expanded.

    Most people will pay the .99 or 1.99 to make the banner go away. And those that are committed to “never ever paying for an app” still get to enjoy the app goodness while supporting ad revenue.

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