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Monday, December 17, 2012

Auto Respond - Paid Features vs. Free Features

For those who are wondering how I'm distinguishing paid features from free features, I've come to the decision that anything that allows you to bypass seeing the ads will be a paid feature.

The whole point of a free version is to attempt to generate revenue from users clicking ads,  and to give the user a free "trial" of the app. But if you never see the ads, there is no chance of generating revenue. (I use "trial" for lack of a better word. But the free app is obviously fully functional, and without an expiration date. The paid app just has more features.)

This means that the following features will be paid only if/when they are completed:
  • Widgets
  • Timer
  • 4.2+ lock screen widgets
  • 4.2+ Quick Settings toggle (As stated before, not sure if this is even possible, but if it is, it will be paid only)
  • Any other new features that I come up with that bypass opening the app's main screen
I will continue to improve the free version as well (as I have all along - I do have some improvement ideas that will apply to both) but the above features will not be available in the free app.

Although the ability to turn on Auto Respond via docking the phone DOES give the user the ability to bypass the ads, I'm going to leave it available for 2 reasons:
  • I don't want to charge for a feature that once existed for free
    • other developers have done that in apps that I've used in the past and it soured me as a user, so I don't want to do that to my users
  • It can be seen as a safety feature, so I want that to be available to all of my users.
    • Turning the app on when in a car dock can be seen as lessening distractions while driving, so I see it as a safety feature. I feel that everyone should have access to safety features for no extra charge.
To get the best of both worlds (allow users to use the dock feature, but also have them see an ad) I have added what is called an "interstitial" ad when you undock your phone. This will pop-up a full-page ad when you undock. It will only show up if Auto Respond is being turned off while undocking. This means that if you are not using the dock function, it will not randomly pop-up ads on you while removing your phone from a dock. (Of course, this ad only appears in the free app, not the paid app.)

This ad has been in the app for a couple versions now, so if you are using the dock feature, you should be seeing an ad when undocking.

I hope you agree with this decision, as it's the best solution I could find that satisfies you as a user and me as a developer. If you have comments or questions, don't be afraid to express them.