I left a 1-star review for the app Taio in the UK. Because it has a TOS saying any features available now might require purchase later, which I feel is a bait & switch business strategy to get users and feedbacks. The developer thinks this is a try and true strategy.
Earlier on when I raised this concern in Twitter, the developer behaved totally irresponsibly. I mentioned the details in this thread.
Now the developer deleted his tweet quoting mine. But he somehow managed to delete my App Store review after he expressed his frustration on Twitter. Here’s the response I got from him on App Store before my review gets removed:
“Here is the thing. The text you quoted is not only included in our TOS. It’s also mentioned in the app description, and the app. If you insist this is a clickbait, that’s totally fine. Don’t know if it’s allowed by Apple’s guidelines? You can find the guideline here: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/ This is something common in the real world, you can hate it though. It’s unfair."
I couldn’t figure out how this can be done. By reporting to Apple? Maybe there’re some black magic in China I don’t know of.
An app developer can report concerns regarding reviews to Apple.
Apple deals with those concerns after that. You should have been notified by Apple in this matter according to their documentation.
I do not see the developer in violation of Apple’s guidelines when he/she releases an app as a free app as of now and potentially turning it into a paid app later on and being open about it right from the beginning. What the developer apparently is trying to achieve here is to have it as a free app in the App Store in order to get it to a state that is eventually worth paying for. I do not see the harm here. You get the app for free. It surely is understandable that the developer could decide later on to take money for the work he or she has put into the app. Your turn is to decide to pay for it or not to use it.
Apparently it’s not illegal as he framed it. It’s still going to be a frustrating experience for users when one day they find out the features they rely on require additional purchase. This is definitely not communicated as well as he made you think. 80% of users wouldn’t have read the TOS. For these kind of apps, there’s a huge opportunity cost of switching. I just pointed this out in my tweet and review.
Back to the main point, I didn’t get notified by Apple at all. The review is just gone quitely.
It’s the first sentence in the description.
This is added in after I did the review though.
I guess he took your point then.
What are your expectations now?
He took my point after he blocked me on Twitter and got me “flamed” by his followers. So what do you think I should expect?
I can see your point, but really, there is no such thing as free. Eventually, stuff has to be paid for. With your data, with your money or by somebody else (stock apps, apps from organizations or institutions, authorities and so on).
The developer could have chosen not to mention later plans at all and that would have been fine with Apple’s guidelines, too. It is his/her decision how to to his/her business.There is no fraud. There is an app that is free as of now and that might change eventually. It happens all the time. In the App Store and in the real world. To be honest, I can totally get, why a one star review potentially could have been deleted by Apple based on the fact that you are not happy with the developer’s decision to turn it into a paid app later on instead of rating the app’s functionality or quality.
And I am with you that the Twitter stuff might not have been pleasant, either. But even there, I can understand the developer to some degree. She/he has invested time and potentially money in the app and she/he might fear that he has violated Apple’s guidelines (which he has not) and that the app might get pulled (which will not happen).
As a customer, I am happy that Apple has changed its way how to deal with reviews. Because I want to know, if an app is good and not if a different customer is angry with a developer that is taking or eventually might take money for his/her work. That is something that also was mentioned in one the recent keynotes in the last 24 months, if I recall it correctly.
I get your frustration and your anger. It might be a good idea to look at this issue again after some time. It is not worth your time and anger.
I admit I’m very frustrated with the developer. Thanks for pointing this out clear.
My frustration partly comes from the part where the app can potential remove features. Although the users now didn’t pay, I see no real difference between this and paying customers. What if it’s limited time free apps on “sale”? The dev shouldn’t take away features the users have already obtained, no matter if the users get these for free. This should have been left in TestFlight only.
I get your point. And I get the developer’s point.
We have these amazing farmers markets over here. It might happen that they will give you a real Apple (not those aluminium ones from Cupertino). For free! You want more? Sure. That’ll cost you! That’s how business is being done. And like it always has been.
Yes, I know. A poor comparison. Again, don’t be mad.
When the App Store was announced years ago, a lot of apps were free. And what wasn’t free, was ridiculously cheap or it was getting cheaper and cheaper. This is not sustainable in the long run. Developers have left the App Store. Apple has reacted (in multiple ways, also regarding to how to deal with reviews - developers can answer reviews and they can address concerns). What we are seeing now, is a trend into a different direction, apps tend to cost money again. We have to adapt to that. I do not need every app out there. And if I need or want it, I will and want to pay the developer. Because if not, the app will not be there in the long run.
Sorry, I am getting off my soap box right now. I promise!
Thanks! I do appreciate your input from a more neutral point of view as clearly I couldn’t any more.
I’m actually very willing to pay for this app since it launched beta a few months ago. I would pay £50 for it to be honest. But I don’t like the burger being offered for free, while potentially charging for whatever the farmer wants while I’m eating it. Because obviously it’s gonna be a very frustrating experience for the person who’s eating it.