I have a product on the store called PirateWalla, and based on the nature of the application (More users would probably mean a worse experience for existing users) it was desirable to make it a more premium product (I priced it at 4.99, even though I probably would have made better profit at .99 by selling higher volumes). The current users of the application are dedicated and active, regularly submitting feedback, asking for new features, and enjoying the app. However, having a high application cost also meant that whenever a user paid for the application and it wasn’t exactly what they expected they would give it bad reviews.
With the new version of this application, I wanted to switch to an in-app purchase model, making the application free to download and try, but charging for the key desired functionality. However, Apple doesn’t allow you to migrate existing customers to this model very easily.
Can’t just make the switch, because there is no way to give existing customers the new in-app purchase feature for free (App cost = $0 then feature cost will be $4.99 which will work for new customers but existing customers who already bought the app would now have to buy the feature)
Can’t create another application, as it would be confusing to users, and would make it so that there is now two applications to update.
So finally, I’ve decided on a phased upgrade. First I’ll release the in-app purchase, requiring users to purchase the new functionality at a lower price (.99), while leaving the price of the app the same. So that existing customers can buy the feature before the price goes up. Then, once most users have had a chance to upgrade, I’ll drop the apps price to free, and adjust the price of the feature.
I feel bad about taking this route, as it’s not really fair to the existing customers. So to make up for it, I revamped a whole section of the application, adding new functionality and improving on existing, so that they will be getting something for their .99.
So if you are an existing PirateWalla user, and don’t want to pay me another dime, I understand. Don’t upgrade past 2.9, and your application will continue to function as normal.
If you’d like the new features and functionality however, please upgrade and buy the “item location” feature as soon as possible, as I won’t leave it at .99 forever. There are more features to come, and some of them will benefit from having a broader user base (Teaser – Game Center integration, with high scores and achievements!)