Discuss Home · Bootstrapped Podcast · Scribbleton Personal Wiki · HelpSpot Customer Service Software · Thermostat NPS

AppStore pricing


It seems like most bootstrapped companies are using a SaaS model, there isn’t a lot of talk about pricing in the AppStore. Particularly with one time sale apps. Does anyone have any innovative ideas for pricing in the AppStore?

A couple things that interest me:

  • Any ideas on pricing over time? Should the price of an app gradually go up over time?
  • Thoughts on using InApp Purchases to unlock features
  • Thoughts on handling major upgrades. Should they be done as InApp purchases, new apps, or just a fee update for all existing customers?


I’ve found that most of the apps I’ve spent money on were free to download and then I either purchased in app add ons or I went on to purchase their non-free version of the app. I think that, with so many garbage apps out there, it would be hard enough to get found and its down to that first impression to convince the user to buy/upgrade. I’m just not willing to spend money to find out if I like it. I am, however, willing to spend for quality. I own more than one (non-apple) apps that cost more than $10.


I’m submitting my app tomorrow for the review process. So far, this is what I’ve learnt from my beta testers, and some friends who do research in the same domain:

  1. Users love “Free”. You and I do too. There is no denying that. Unfortunately, a very small subset of all users you’ll get will convert to customers, either in the form of buying the paid version of your app, or via iAPs.
  2. The ones who stick with the free version are usually the ones who will spam public forums (probably your own if you have one) with support requests, which never make sense or are incomplete. The ones who pay know the right mediums to get help from (Support links on websites or asking properly).

Given those two points, the pricing in my app goes as follows:

  1. User’s signup and are allotted to the free account type. This type imposes some restrictions on the ‘creating’ part of things.
  2. They can buy a non-recurring subscription for 3,6 or 12 months (multiple times as well, which sequentially add up) to get the “pro” version which is unmetered.

So far, my beta testers tell me this will work better (as compared to one time pay) and I know it will help me pay server costs for the foreseeable future without having to run around.

I’ll update this thread a month after my app has been out to let you’ll know how it goes.



Interesting @dezinezync, do you have a website for your app? Or would you mind describing it a bit?


I’ve this thing called a “landing page” up at the moment :wink: The full website should be available something next week. I’ll update you when it’s up. In the mean time: http://zypherapp.com


That looks great. I was actually considering building something very similar, using app.net as the backbend.

You are in the enviable position of having an app that has a reason to be subscription based. Unfortunately, the thing I am working on right now can’t really be subscription based. Its going to have to be one time purchase + IAP upgrades.


Obviously the price of your app can make it a huge success or a big failure. Personally I don’t like in App purchases. If the app looks clean, good reviews and is for sale at an acceptable price I don’t see a reason you’ll not make plenty of sales.

I’m in the process of developing a BitTorrent App for OS X and Android, my plan is to release it to 500 or so users on both platforms for free. Hopefully It will get some good feedback from reviews, improve the App taking notice of the small current users then sell it for $1.99.


Here are some posts by Michael Jurewitz on the same matter. They are quite in-depth so you might want to keep a hour aside.