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"Buy coins" a good idea for desktop apps?

In the iPhone game business, quite often the game will offer the player to "buy coins" for real-world money.  This idea can easily be translated to desktop apps, but do you think it's a good idea?

Case in point: my app is something used maybe 3 or 4 times a day, perhaps every day.  This equates to about 4*7 = 28 uses per week, or 28*4 = 112 times per month (give or take).

So let's round it down to a clean 100 uses per month.  What if the user had to "buy uses" like buying coins in a game?  So, in my case, I'd price it at probably $5 for 100 uses.  Once all 100 are used, they have to cough up another $5 again.  If they use it on average as quoted, this means $5 per month to use the app... and if they don't use it often, then those 100 uses could last all year (they don't "expire").

The math: if just 1000 people worldwide pay the $5 per month, then that's a $60,000 annual income!  Is this a stupid idea?
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Probably.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
I think that this is good idea for the web service or online applications.
1) desktop people are accustomed to pay immediately.
2) What to do if you no have of coin and not have Internet access?
3) ...
Alex Vasilevsky Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Not for desktop apps, nor for online apps (I'm assuming you are talking about serious applications). With Games you could get away with it, but check out:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26033685

If you have to offer credits for your service, and it is a service that justifies it (i.e. an online reporting/image manipulation tool where you can charge per item), then just offer the users credits.

'Buy Coins' simply kiddifies (TM) it and completely devalues the service you may be offering.

is it a game?
Ewan McNab Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Actually (and probably not connected to the OP's post) , this is something that really, really annoys me: in-game purchases, and a lot more. In some cases, maybe not so much now, but kids can purchase credits, and an awful lot more, simply by using their parents 'phone number. No validation other than the fact they have to confirm to being over 18 and having the bill-holders consent.

Not sure if this could become the next big mis-selling scandal, but it seems to me that an awful lot of unscrupulous people seem to be looking at gaming the system (not talking about the OP).

TPIANW: don't treat me like a kid. If you have something worth selling, and I want to purchase it ad-hoc or on annual basis, then I will do that. 'Coins'? DTTP...
Ewan McNab Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
It's February 10th.  How's that app release coming along?
Racky Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Having a bad day :-)
Ewan McNab Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Short answer: no.

Longer answer: in general, do what other people do.

Are there desktop apps that nickel & dime people like mobile apps?

No.

Applying the general advice above: should you be doing it? No.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
@Racky "It's February 10th.  How's that app release coming along? "

Had a few issues over the last couple of years, but things are back on track :-)
Ewan McNab Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
@Ewan, good to hear that!

I actually had aimed that comment at PSB136, only because of his previous statement about having February off and getting the app done and out, and it seemed (due to this "buy coins" question) he is still futzing around with "creative" approaches to getting it out the door as opposed to actually just putting it up for sale in the traditional fashion and seeing what happens. It was meant as a good natured nudge and in fact a sincere wonder for his progress. (not that I should judge!)
Racky Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
It was just a random thought, that's all.  No time was spent implementing the idea or anything.  I simply looked at my app where it said "Trial uses left: 9" and thought, "Gee, I wonder if it's a better idea to charge for uses, instead of buying the app one-off".

Your responses have convinced me otherwise.  And yes, my Feb release is still on track.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Sounds TO ME like a retarded idea, but I have been totally wrong about the value of short term gains in this specific category many times, so it's probably genius for all I know.
Scott Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
I was wrong about the economic value of "upskirt porn video" sites, where they sell subscriptions to look at videos taken of women in public, using secret cameras stashed in paper sacks and set on the ground near said woman. I assumed, very wrongly, that it was not only the most retarded thing I had ever heard and they would never have a single customer, but I was wrong as well that they wouldn't make millions of dollars.

Just because I, some asshole with an 185 or such IQ on the Stanford-Binet, think something is so retarded no one would fall for it, doesn't mean than 99% of the IQ 100 population won't be crawling all over your shit stuffing dollars in your bra.

So... asking about these sorts of business models on an ENGINEER populated business chat board? Stupid idea. Just do it and see if it works. You are probably a genius.
Scott Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Wow, Scott; what a reply!  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
 
Can you do it the other way around? I.e. the more the user uses your app, the more coins, or whatever, he or she gets.

Even better if you can somehow measure value (MB of disk space freed, #of broken registry entries fixed, pages OCRed, etc.) and attach coins to value, not to the number of uses or time of usage.

For what the user can trade that virtual reward is another question. But suppose all this game is limited to trial users. They could then get a discount. Like, you know, "Get up to 50% off by unlocking 5% at a time".
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
 
 
BTW, I didn't literally mean coins... that's why that word is in quotes in the topic title.  I meant as in, the user has 20 trial uses, then when it's 0, they need to buy another 100 for say $1 of real money.  It was just a passing thought, since I see this approach in games all the time these days.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
 
 
And now, back to my app... <whip cracked>.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
 
 
I think you probably have decided, but one other data point can't hurt.

Check out how https://www.gandi.net/ does their pricing.  It's coin based and I'd guess provides a couple of advantages to the user and to Gandi. (but mostly I suspect to Gandi)

Coins allow for micropayments for the features used (as opposed to your per app use idea).  As a user I only pay for the parts of the program I use, or how hard the program has to work for my particular use case.  (small job = small coins, big job = big coins)

For this granular pricing I'm forced accept that it obscures the real value of those micropayments. The Coin to Dollar conversion allows you (vendor) a pricing advantage if you set it up right.
Mike Agar Send private email
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
 
 
nice idea to earn some amount.
sushaiss Send private email
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
 
 
Getting people to pay $5 is NOT twice as easy as getting people to pay $10. It's not even twice as easy as getting people to pay $50.

Getting people to pay is the hard part.

So, a "solution" that requires you to sell your software several times instead of once for the same money is ___________.

"smart" is NOT the word you are looking for.

Requiring people to pay 10 times $5 instead of once $50 is a disaster.

I get the feeling that you are absolutely determined to do everything differently from everybody else.

Just randomly implementing changes for the sake of being different is unlikely to give positive results. It could, the same way you could play lottery and get the numbers right. And if you believe your luck is that good, don't waste your time with programming, just go buy a ticket.

Remember that people have been successful at selling software for a while now. There must be some things right about the way people sell software.

Instead of asking yourself "What gimmick can I use to make people pay me more then they expected to pay?", your time would probably be better used trying to figure out "How can I provide more value for my customers?"

Every dollar you extract from an unwilling customer will cost you ten in lost goodwill.
Sylvain Galibert Send private email
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
 
 
> Instead of asking yourself "What gimmick can I use to make people pay me more then they expected to pay?", your time would probably be better used trying to figure out "How can I provide more value for my customers?"


+100

Long term this strategy of quality gets you more than constant scamming, working the angles, and nickle and dimming. Maybe not if you are a monopolist and can abuse your power, but for a small operation, honesty is a good policy. However, it would be foolish for me not to admit that lots of dishonest nasty companies do well using policies of constant scamming.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
 
 
"Things are not complicated, it is people who complicate things"
C. Stark

Why complicate a simple matter?

Just ask them to pay for a license to your product.
C. Stark Send private email
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
 
 

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