9 - #itb8 How much costs a free app?

in itb8 •  last year 

Almost all my students have a smart phone, so they are used to download apps, at least as long as they are free. But are so called. „free apps“ really free?


So called free apps are the base for a couple of different business models.



The most spread one is the advertisement financed payed version. Ether an advertisement banner (see this post) or a video advertisement is shown at times. This version is truly free for the user concerning money though he pays with attention



Another Model is the up-sell. A version limited to the basic functions of the full version is offered without payment. If a user wants to use the app to its full potential, he needs to buy it or pay a monthly fee. The model is common, transparent and easy to understand for my students.



In contrast to that subscription models are nontransparent and have been used a couple of years ago for fraudulent business practices. This model is based on a free trial period followed by a self-prolongating subscription period with costs. Though I am not a friend of strong regulations, the German government forced every offer to be transparent about follow-up costs, so this model is less problematic nowadays.



The last model is called in-app-purchasing. This one is most relevant to my students, as it is specially applied in games. The starting the app and using it is free again but you can use money to buy items which ether change the optic or give you advantages over the other players. Some games are designed in a manner that a player can compensate for not paying by tactics or effort, in other games a player can not really make a progress without paying at least a certain amount.

I hope I can raise the awareness of my students for the more or less hidden costs and help them put in perspective what they pay for the “free apps” in contrast to payed software. One of my students told me, he had spent 200 Euro on in-app purchases. I was shocked – 200 Euro is more than the amount I usually pay for a month worth of groceries!

Please also take a look at my former post of the #itb8 series

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