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I am starting a new iOS project and initially plan release a simple free version to gather feedback. I don't intend to monetize or market this initial version.

However, I believe "Version 2" of this app will be good enough to pay for. I would prefer to release Version 2 as an upgrade from Version 1 rather than release it as a separate app. This way I can reserve a name for the app. It will also be easier to keep everything in a single repository.

Are there any downsides of this approach? It's my understanding that I can change the price of an app at any point in time, so it shouldn't be an issue transitioning to a paid app, should it?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 4 '11 at 9:23

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Generally, business strategy discussions are offtopic here. I'd suggest looking at the iPhone Software Business mailing list, where similar questions have been asked: groups.google.com/group/iphonesb –  Brad Larson Jan 3 '11 at 21:00
Thanks for the heads up Brad. That looks like a good resource for this kind of thing. –  tassock Jan 3 '11 at 23:29

3 Answers 3

There's no reason why you can't take this approach.

I assume you realise that those who have downloaded the version while it was free will get the later versions for free too.

As you say, you can [usually] change the price within a few hours, and that can be up as well as down.

Make sure you have your paid App agreements in place with Apple before you wish to charge for the App, of course.

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The downside is that a free app may attract a lot of 1-star ratings and incoherent reviews from drive-by downloaders. If your paid app is an upgrade of this free app, all those prior ratings and reviews will still be associated with the app. It often works out better to update the free app to an app named "LITE", and then reuse the app's name on a completely new app submission.

And it's quite easy to build multiple apps from multiple targets inside one Xcode project checked out from one repository.

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"And it's quite easy to build multiple apps from multiple targets inside one Xcode project checked out from one repository." -- I've actually been looking for a good tutorial on how to do this, actually. Any pointers? –  radven Jan 3 '11 at 18:44

Free apps (and even 99-cent apps) tend to attract a lot of negative reviews from people who might not have even read the app description, and those reviews will linger (and likely outnumber) your eventual paid app reviews.

It is almost always better to keep the free version free, and the paid version paid from the start. There are some marketing advantages to occasionally having a "free this week only" sale, but any drops to free should be for a limited time.

Personally - I've found 99-cents to be nearly as bad as free when it comes to negative reviews. When people pay more, they value it more. We are making just as much at $1.99 right now, and getting fewer troll-like reviews.

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