I decided to create a new thread for this so that it wouldn’t detract from the original topic.
Some people wanted to know how I became labelled as an App Spammer on the Mac App Store, and as such have had to suffer the consequences.
Because I’d spent a long time working on my current photo editing app, the misses and I wanted it the launch to go as smoothly as possible. So we individually read the App Store guidelines and compared notes. Some things in the program were adjusted, but we didn’t see any major problems.
When the first rejection came in because of this; we decided that as we were not going to have enough time to update our older apps to 64-Bit before the launch of Catalina, that we’d pull them from the App Store. So we did, we cut down our apps from what ever it was to 3 or 4, including most of our paid apps, in the belief that we’d be able to get HDRtist NX 2 on the App Store.
Apple still were not happy with it, two weeks later we were finally able to speak to someone on the phone at Apple. She was very nice, but she was firm. The problem was that they considered Photo Editing apps to be “Template” apps. Which means that you shouldn’t sell multiple photo editing apps. Instead there should be one single app and use In-App-Purchase to distinguish the different products. Our model for this new product was to have 3 different versions at different price points, FREE, $19.99 and the all signing all dancing version at $59.99. While again it’s not stated that you cannot do this, we’re not allowed to do this.
The Apple approved solution was to merge the two paid products into one, and to use IAP to separate the products. Obviously I was uncomfortable at this, because it required going back, modifying the structure of the program and starting testing all over again. So we launched the product on our site, did all the marketing that we could and set about clearing up the issues that were now happening because of a broader range of hardware the product was being used on.
After 3 months of finding workarounds or replacing code to make the app work on more systems (mainly fighting Core Image issues, where it behaves differently on different versions of the OS and same OS but different hardware), I finally completed the merge. We tested it and the experience was horrible. The very concept of asking the user to pay once to get the mid-tier product, only to then try to promote them to pay for the higher product, it’s the solution the Apple encouraged us to follow. But we both fundamentally hated it so much, that I undid the merge, and completed the $19.99 version without this. At last we finally had a modern Paid app in the Mac App Store. Sales of it, are atrocious. It’s been a complete and utter waste of time.
My next job is to attempt the merge again, but this time, into the FREE product. Although I don’t have much hope for it, but we really need the money and therefore I must prevail.
Why didn’t we start with IAP? Because in the past I’ve attempted IAP 3 times, and each time, it’s been a complete failure for us. The most difficult thing to do is to provide a balance between having a totally usable FREE application, and features worth paying for. Hopefully this time it will be different.