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If your paid app can't compete against a free app... that's hardly the fault of the user or the app store. It's the fault of the app maker. What you're basically saying is "my app is so easy to make, that someone could make it without even caring to get paid for it".

It's competition. Yes, if someone can recreate your application for free, then your application wasn't as valuable as you think it was, by definition. Make a better app, or turn it into a service that generates revenue past app deployment.

I think many app developers have gotten spoiled by tales of people getting rich off of P.O.S. apps, and expecting that to happen to them. That happened back in the day because there was a scarcity of applications and app developers. That scarcity no longer exists. Most of the easy stuff has been done, and a lot of free versions have been made because, let's face it, most apps really aren't terribly complex.

So, make something big and hard to duplicate. Make it part of a service you provide with recurring charges and give away your app. It's a better model, anyway.




Couldn't agree more. It's not the users or Apple who are racing the app market to the bottom. It is the developers and the competition amongst them. And it's because creating an app is not that hard. Perhaps designing a great one one and creating and and building a market for it is quite hard. But cloning that exact app [even if it is inferior] and providing it for free or supported with IAP or ads is really not terrifically difficult or time consuming once the idea is proven. It is basically impossible to build a competitive moat.

Games are a bit different given how much art and content is often associated with the production, but users are looking for a fun distraction. Perhaps one should try to build a $2 game with a $50,000 art budget rather than a $500,000 art budget. The users don't really care. It sounds more profitable. Tiny Wings FTW.


>> "creating an app is not that hard"

How is this true at all? It depends on the programmer, what they are building and the tools they are using to build it. Apps are no different to building desktop or web software. In fact the constraints arguably make it more difficult.


I would say at least that it's much easier now than it was a few years ago.

XCode and iOs have improved tremendously in terms of usability and functionality, compared to the first releases, and I expect that the Android SDK has gone through a similar evolution.

In addition, you'll probably find a tutorial or a Stack Overflow answer for every problem or question you could possibly have, while at first it was largely undiscovered territory.

In short, barriers of entry have lowered tremendously.


For the raw coding part you are describing that is true, but the bar for what people consider a worthwhile app has also risen substantially in the same amount of time. I can build a native iOS app in a day, but I wouldn't consider it releasable to the app store without a good bit more work.


No, i think it's true. Programming for mobile and programming for desktop are both about equally challenging, and have their unique difficulties, but the threshold for what constitutes an "app" is a lot lower on mobile than it is on other platforms. Desktop apps are expected to have a full feature set, mobile apps are often only expected to do one usually simple task. Think about how hard it would be to write the client-side of 'app' for iPhoto on Mac vs the instagram app.


The app in question is a "to do list" app. There are thousands of to do lists on the App store. Lamenting why they can't get someone to pay for an app that is usually free and should come with the phone is fruitless. Big whoop if you can do everything with just 'gestures'. Tapping an onscreen button is usually easier to remember and reliably do than a gesture.

In other words, you are exactly right. They aren't providing value. I could write their app in one week, tops.


FWIW, this is the same argument against minimum wage, which you may or may not feel the same way about.


Really? There's big difference between someone not choosing to pay for an app and exploiting people who may have no other choice or fallen in hard times.

Do you have any articles about this? I would be interested in reading the arguments for/against.


I am a programmer who can't get a job at Facebook. Do I take a job at X Corp paying $5/hr, or do I spend 100 hr writing an app that will only gross $500?

Sure the app COULD gross more, but in my low talent niche, it is well known how much revenue MotoX Flashlight can generated. Should Google be allowed to publish my app, knowing it will never clear more than $500 revenue? If so, why shouldn't they pay me $600 (still below min wage) to write the app for them?




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