The app economy

As I browsed DF today I can across this :: http://vesperapp.co/blog/native-support-for-ipad-and-landscape/

I think I bought the vesper app when it was on sale for 2.99 and thought to myself that it was a decent price for the app. I didn’t think it was a steal or a huge bargain because I felt like that was about what I would pay for a notes app. I am sure others thought that it was a huge bargain, an app made by some semi-famous folks that was suddenly on sale.

So here we are today looking at a 9.99 price tag now that the app goes horizontal and works on an iPad. I find this slightly comical. Any of us in the app world normally won’t ship an iOS app that doesn’t work on an iPad from day one. At least I wouldn’t.

The app economy is bizarre since the whole notion of pricing has been eroded to the point where Gruber is almost using this move as a line in the sand. Hey indie devs – put your price up so people value the ecosystem more and truly respect the value of our craft.

I hope it works but somehow I doubt it will.

If Gruber and his tribe can’t survive on a reasonably priced app – 10 bucks is not reasonable, then I am not sure who can. Without a doubt vesper gets way more traffic flowing across it than most other apps just due to Gruber talking about it all the time. 

Unlike Marco with overcast, who has open sourced some of his financials, vesper is three guys who ship stuff pretty slowly. It’s nice stuff but I never have seen it as earth shattering or amazing. Just a good solid notes app that I use to supplement my Evernote addiction. Trip stuff, quick meeting notes and my grocery list type of things are in vesper. Everything else is in Evernote.

So if Gruber can’t make it on decently priced apps then who can?

I know lots of indie devs – http://www.mailtoself.com/ – but these guys have a day job. They are doing this to be able to craft stuff outside of work and see how they can dent the universe with apps. 

Then there is – http://www.cleanshavenapps.com/ . I use dispatch all the time and I have beta tested some new stuff they are working on. This team does well but I don’t know how well or what their view is when it comes to this pricing stuff. I do know that they realize it’s more about marketing than anything else now.

I can remember when I did one of my fist startups whike blowing through millions of dollars having to buy real hardware, databases and app servers – just to launch. Now one guy can rent hardware and use his own code with open source stacks to launch an empire.

However the issue still is about how does one get exposure? Some have to buy it thus increasing the need for capital. Some people are famous and use their fame to launch or propel an app. I am guessing with the vesper price move they didn’t get as big as they had hoped cause if they had millions of users even on 2.99 they would be doing okay.

When I chat with any indie dev it’s all about getting the word out, holding on to their users and the hope that if they build something new, their current users might be customers of their new product.

We all know the app gold rush is over. Done.

Users think everything should be free or cheap – it’s sad it got to this but it happened. I don’t know what the answer is since I have only built apps that come as part of a service versus building an app I needed to sell to make a living.

Will be interesting to see how vesper does with the new premium pricing.

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