App Cubby, the company behind Timer 2.0, will be removing the in-app ad -- an icon advertising another app -- and has issued an apology to their users for inserting it in the first place. It's a classy and extremely customer-centric move. App Cubby's David Barnard said:
Given all the mistakes and bad assumptions, it’s clear that the best choice here is to immediately change course. For now I’m going to replace the ads with an apology, and later today I’ll be submitting an update to Timer that removes the ad completely.
Please accept my sincere apologies for making a mess of a great app.
Barnard considers the mistakes to be a) underestimating how many Timer users had bought the app in the couple of months before it went free, b) forcing the update on those past users, c) making the ad too clever (so much so that users don't realize it's an ad).
I understand the ambiguity argument when it comes to the ad. An app icon on a grid amid many other icons could easily be mistaken for an action item instead. Personally, however, I have no problem with the core idea of ads being added to apps. I'd much prefer that than the app being discontinued because the developer can no longer afford to keep it going. Business realities change. The App Store economy changes. Developers have to respond to those changes or go out of business.
Some people think users don't care about developers having sustainable businesses, but if users stop being able to find the apps they want, or even really good apps of the type they want, they'll start to care. Developers, just like all of us, are trying to figure out how to make enough money to feed their families. They'll try things, they'll stumble, they'll get up, they'll adjust, and hopefully they'll hit it big.
Kudos to David for recognizing a faulty tactic in what looks to still be a sound strategy, and hopefully he hits it big with the next revision, or the next app. In the meantime, go download Timer 2.0, still for free, on the App Store. Ad or no add, it's a terrific app.
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Source: App Cubby