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Useful Switchers - Warning for users - Message to Devs


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  1. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Recently the Dev of the AWESOME app "Useful Switchers" made a change to his free app.

    If you update the app now through the marketplace, it will turn it in to a "trial version" which will expire Sept 14 2009. You will then have to get it for $0.99. Note that it won't be a better version, or a pro version, it will be the same thing. Here is what the Dev (tum0rc0re on these forums I believe) says in the updated description in the marketplace:

    "Now I develop new version 2.0. If you donate, big thanks for support. I really need some money. I especially make smaller price ($0.99). This version is trial now (expired Sep 14 2009)."

    As you might imagine the reaction in the comments has been very harsh, and a lot of people are reducing their rating for the app.

    Before anyone attacks me (or others) with suggestions that we are freeloaders, pirates, or mean for trying to stop the Dev from profiting from his hard work, let me be clear; I _completely_ support any Dev's right to make money from their app. If it is valuable to me, I am even more than willing to pay for it. We aren't talking about a lot of money, it's only 99 cents, and useful switchers is a great app (I use it all the time, every day).

    Most people in the MP comments are upset not that the Dev wants to make money, but that it seems like a tricky, underhanded way to do it. The app they have used will suddenly expire after an update. It seems almost like a bait and switch. Yes, the Dev does explain in the app description what will happen when you update, so users who updated without reading it really only have themselves to blame (Caveat Emptor after all). The Dev maybe could have gone about this better, perhaps making it clearer (large words in bold) that the app would change to trial software after the update, and maybe he could have extended the trial period (it ends VERY shortly), but still, it's there to read.

    _My_ problem with the Dev's actions are really more a problem with the Marketplace in general, and how Google and phone carriers are handling it. You see, I'm in Canada, and apparently in Canada we can't be trusted with our own money, so we can't have access to paid apps (yes, that's me being snarky). Many other countries are in the same boat.

    So, tum0rc0re, I'm talking to you now (and all other Devs who might read this); Your app is great, and I would GLADLY pay for it... but I can't. Once it becomes a paid app I will not even be able to see it in the marketplace. Even if I were to send you a donation now, if I update the app it will stop working on Sept 14 and I will be screwed.

    Some will argue that it's still the Dev's right to change it to a paid app, and boo hoo so sorry, too bad for me. Well, i agree 100%. I agree the dev has the right, but there is something else to consider... customer service and his reputation as a dev.

    There are LOTS of users who, if they update, will lose the app on Sept 14, and not be able to get the paid version because they can't access paid apps. These people are lost potential customers for _future_apps when they can eventually access paid apps. You will turn they away.

    So, what are the alternatives? Do what many other Devs have done. Make a free version and a paid "pro" version so those without access to paid apps can still get a very useful app. Or, if you don't like that, and insist on making the app a paid app only, surely there must be a way (as with software for computers) to use an unlock key to get the full version? that way users could download a free "locked" version from the store, and pay the dev separately through his web site for a key that could be typed manually into the app to unlock it.

    tum0rc0re, I really like Useful Switchers, but I have no idea when i will have access to paid apps (my carrier blames HTC, HTC blames Google, and Google blames the carrier. yes, I have the emails to prove it), so i will not be updating the app to the new version. I would like to be able to support you (it's only $0.99 after all), but I can't.

    Regards,

    mjschmidt
     

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  2. Raphaels

    Raphaels Member

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    Same in Ireland... No access to the paid apps though there are lots I would be happy to buy just by looking at the description and comments on AndroLib.
    I have and been using my Google Checkout account so I am ready!!

    Can the developers put any pressure on Google to get more country, it do seems to me that they are the one in charge... the network operators and the manufacturers should have no say on the way market is working.

    Raphael
     
  3. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    @Raphaels: Not sure on whom to put the pressure, seems like they blame each other. But that's a separate issue.

    What I'd like to see are for Devs to at least consider keeping free apps free as they are, or as a "lite" version, or perhaps offer some other way to pay for it, like paying them directly for a key to unlock a free app that is locked. That was people without access to paid apps can still get apps like this one (once it switches to being a paid app).
     
  4. Edaze55

    Edaze55 Well-Known Member

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    Not to derail or anything, but it seems like Google would be the one that has the control over who has access to paid apps. The only hurdle can think of would be the rate of exchange. Maybe theres other issues. I dont know.

    How would you suggest the Dev go about making a lite, or free version? What options could he remove or disable to encourage people that can, to buy the full version? Anything less then the full functionality that is has now is going to be met with backlash as he tries to charge for what many have gotten for free.

    The other thing you said was...
    But the dev says....

    So it is a new version? Or did you mean the trial would be the same as v2.0? Is v2.0 what you are using now? Cause it sounds to me like he updated/improved the app.

    At any rate, it does suck that when this becomes a paid app, you wont be able to use it.
     
  5. Edaze55

    Edaze55 Well-Known Member

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    I hate to double post, but I thought you should know that I did a little poking around about Useful Switchers and I found this.


    The above info can be found here.
     
  6. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I just checked in the MP, and the Useful Switchers (1.2.4) description still says it is no a trial that will expire Sept 14, so Mr. Yudin needs to clarify things. Ver 2.0 maybe a _better_ version (more options etc) that is a paid app, but if the currently free version is not as good, why isn't it stay free, why will it expire?

    On the page you reference, he says (in reply to complaints) "Guys, I make free version when I make new version 2.0". I don't understand what he is saying. Is he saying that there will be a 2.0 ver of the free app that will still be free, _as well as_ a paid version (with a different ver #) that will better? Or is he saying that when the Paid ver (2.0) is finally available, he will make a free ver to replace the current free version that is set to expire?

    I also noticed that the post you reference on his site was made Aug 8, but instead of renaming the current version of the app to Useful Switchers Lite, he has set it to expire Sept 14.

    I think Mr. Yudin needs to find someone who speaks both his native tongue, and English much better than he does to explain it to the rest of us.

    There is really only TWO questions he needs to answer. 1. Will the current FREE app actually expire Sept 14 as he says in the description, and 2. Will there be a new FREE version to replace it?

    @Edaze: In response to your questions in your first post; Mr. Yudin could go through the current US app and look for some of the bells and whistles that most of us probably don't use all the time and strip them out for the "pro" version. Maybe the free version could be basic switches like WiFi, GPS, Ringer, etc. Maybe it could make you clear a "reminder" screen to access each feature, which would be gone from the Pro ver. A pro version might also have features the current version doesn't have.

    Again, I am NOT saying it isn't his right to do this, I'm not arguing that he _must_ make a free version, I'm just pointing out to him (and _all_ devs) that there are still a lot of users who can't access paid apps, so taking a currently free app and making it expire, forcing you to get the paid version, is a bad customer service move.
     
  7. tum0rc0re

    tum0rc0re Well-Known Member

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    Guys, I think that I will make free version again but later. Simply now I need some money for development. I have no money for my life unfortunately because now I dont have any work :( I think I will make free version in nearest Sunday or Monday.
     
  8. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    @tum0rc0re: I'm sorry to hear you are having tough times. I wish you the best of luck, and hope things improve for you.

    I also hope that Google and Rogers will fix things so all users can buy paid apps, so I can actually pay you for your work. Useful Switchers is a great app.

    Just please don't forget (all Devs should remember this) that many countries can't buy apps yet, so if you give us an app for free, and then make it expire to move us to a paid app, we won't be able to, we will lose it completely.

    That is your right, but it will upset people who would otherwise like to pay you.
     
  9. tum0rc0re

    tum0rc0re Well-Known Member

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    My dear users I have read all your complaints and I've made free version for countries that don't have any chance to buy paid version.
     
  10. AndroidSocialMedia

    AndroidSocialMedia Active Member

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    Since I already had the Power Manager App installed I'm just going to delete the Useful Switchers app from my device. The Power Manager App is also not free but it does about everything that Useful Switchers did and it does much more!!!
     
  11. Edaze55

    Edaze55 Well-Known Member

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    Im not disagreeing with you at all, I was just trying to help. From what I could tell based on one of his posts on 2009-09-10 22:50:57 that said "Guys, I make free version when I make new version 2.0." Which to me says there will be a free, or "lite" version. However after reading his one of his posts here, it seems that might not have been the case at the time.

    Now I know that we in the US date our stuff funky, but Since Oct isnt here yet, and Im sure of this as I dont have my Hero yet :), that says Sept 10, 2009 and not Oct 9, 2009.

    Either way, it seems to me that tum0rc0re is going to take quite a reputation hit from the way this was handled. If the original idea was to make a paid version, and a free version, why not just leave the original app alone and remain free, while pointing out to everyone there was a v2.0 with enhancement over the oringinal version, that would be a paid app. That way, everyone wins.

    El Cheapos will always want something for free, but Im sure there are plenty of people that will support devs that put out quality apps as well.
     
  12. punkzanyj

    punkzanyj Well-Known Member

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    Quite frankly, the dev of Useful Switchers used completely unethical practices to get money. And that is not a customer service issue, it's a customer experience issue. If he had, like other devs, released a "donate" version, then that would be the up front, honest way to make the switch. Quite frankly, that explanation isn't clear, and by my memory this sentence "This version is trial now (expired Sep 14 2009)" was NOT in the update when he originally released it. Perhaps the negative comments prompted that edit to the text, but the word "trial" and the date didn't appear in that description the day the update launched.

    Quite frankly, the app was in the "free apps" section. That's deceptive. to sneak a paid app into the free section is unethical. I'm all about people making money, so long as they do it honestly. The users had every right to feel betrayed, and there must have been a second update because the comments I saw the day of the update (a few days ago) said that the app gave you the option to pay, or close the app. No expiration date -- pay or exit NOW. And that's what pissed people off the most. And that's why I'm back to Toggle Settings.

    When you pull these sorts of tactics on consumers, they remember it. Nothing travels faster or stays in people's minds better than a bad experience.

    To me, an update is NOT the time to change the rules. If it's free, keep it free. You can always remove it from the market when your paid app comes out so that people can't download the free version anymore. That is preferable than changing the rules in the middle of the game. Nobody likes to play with someone who changes the rules so that they win all the time. And that's what this is.
    Now, because of unethical practices like this dev, we have people waiting to download an update and being suspicious of whether the dev is going to suddenly steal functionality or turn a free app into a trial app. It's created an air of distrust in the market and in the devs.
    I appreciate that people want to make a living, but these sorts of practices alienate current users and scare off potential customers. The amount of money you make off of whoever's left is not going to make up for the reputation you lost, and it's going to take quite awhile to earn that trust back.
     
  13. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    @punkzanyj: To be fair, I _don't_ believe the Dev's intention was to bait and switch. In his responses in this forum (see posts above) and on his blog, he says that he suddenly needed money, and that was why there was a change.

    I agree it could have been handled better, but I think some people are misunderstanding his intentions because of poor english.

    UPDATE: I noticed there is now another FREE version of Useful Switchers in the marketplace. Search for Useful Switchers (Free). So far there is only one comment from someone named Robert.

    The old version is still there in the MP, and still says it will expire Sept 14.

    I haven't installed it yet, so I don't know how different it is. The description on his blog doesn't seem to make clear the differences.

    @tum0rc0re: If you are still checking this blog, can you please tell us the differences between Useful Switchers (Old free), Useful Switchers (Free) the new one, and Useful Switchers Paid version?
     
  14. tiredhiker

    tiredhiker Well-Known Member

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    What the Hell is the Internet, Websites and Credit Cards For ???
    Why don't the Devs have a decent website and take Credit Cards?
    Try KAGI.com if you need a cheap merchant account...Its FREE! But they will charge 10% of your profit and higher for small sales so a sale of $1 will cost us $2.

    I CAN LIVE WITH THAT !
     

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