subscription apps?

Has anyone done anything with subscription apps where maybe they expire after a year unless renewed? I’m thinking this would be pretty hard to enforce without having the app phone home and check some kind of database. That sounds like a headache in itself and I didn’t want users to have to be online to be able to use it. Is there a good strategy for moving to subscription-based apps that isn’t a major headache to manage?

Our flagship app is Saas (software as a service, essentially a subscription). Yes, it has to phone home periodically to make sure the subscription is active. We don’t require connectivity all the time, but you can’t go more than 30 days without the app checking in with the registration server. It’ll start to warn you after 15 days. The warnings get more aggressive after 25 days, then access is refused after 30. This allows people to use the app when they are traveling / mobile / whatever, and we’ve never run into a user who didn’t connect their computer to the internet at least once a month while our app was running.

Thanks. I think a periodic phone home is not so bad. Would have to work out something with their date of purchase and such. haven’t dealt with databases, but i’m thinking that would be necessary to keep track.

Yeah, you’ll need a database and some sort of subscription management that will keep track of when people need to be re-billed, what to do with expiring credit cards, etc. There are services out there that offer API you can talk to which manage all this for you. Chargify is one we used to use, until they hiked up their rates 300% on us, so I wrote my own backend. I’m sure there are others out there you can check into as well. Good luck!