I’m just taking a break from my work om improving TV show filename recognition (it’s getting awesome, by the way), and I wanted to discuss something pretty significant with you guys.
As you know, there’s currently two versions of Mizuu – a free ad-supported version and a paid version that’s completely free of ads. I decided to create Mizuu that way a few years ago, and it’s a decision that’s haunted me ever since. Upgrading from the free version to the paid version is a mess, and maintaining two different versions of the application isn’t optimal either. Today I’d like to propose a change to that version structure.
Ideally, I’d like to have one version of Mizuu on Google Play. Just one. It’ll be completely free to download and will be ad-supported by default. I know many of you hate ads, so there’ll naturally be an option to remove ads using in-app purchasing.
If I were to go down this route, I’d make the paid version completely free and the current free version would be removed from Google Play. Sadly, Google Play has no means of checking which users have previously purchased the application, and that’s a bit of a problem. Paying users obviously shouldn’t be presented with ads in the application.
I do have a suggestion, though, that – sort of – fixes the problem, and I really need your feedback on it. Here’s how it goes:
Everyone who downloads the updated, unified application within the first two months of release will have ads deactivated. This should provide an easy transition phase for active users. However, this won’t work if you uninstall the application and reinstall it again after the two month period – in that case, you’ll have ads again.
In addition to that, I’ll add a menu in the application settings where you can remove ads by entering the e-mail address of the Google account you used to purchase Mizuu with. I have a long list of e-mail addresses of the people who’ve purchased the paid version of Mizuu, so I can easily set up a web service to check the license. There’ll likely be a soft limit to prevent piracy, but this will allow you to uninstall and reinstall the application multiple times and simply enter your e-mail address in the application settings to remove the ads. If you reach the limit, you will be able to e-mail me and I’ll reset the limit.
Here’s the thing, though. It is possible for me to automate the above-mentioned process, so the user doesn’t have to manually enter anything. The downside to this is that I’ll have to access the user account on your device, and that requires permission to read your contacts. That’s a pretty scary permission for many people, and I fully understand that. If I were to implement it like so, I’d obviously provide full disclosure on the exact usage of the permission.
So… What do you guys think? I know it’s a long and complicated read, but there’s sadly no way to make it easier. Trust me, I’ve checked and asked. Multiple times.
Update: Some of you have suggested that I turn the paid version into a key that unlocks the free version. I’m personally not a fan of that approach. It has a number of disadvantages, mainly that users of the current version will have to transition to the free version, thus having to set up the application once again. Obviously, this would be the easiest solution by far, but I’m not really a fan of removing all the user’s data and forcing them to set up everything again.
Update #2: The response is remarkable – both in the comments and via e-mail. Thanks guys! I may not be able to respond to all, but your feedback is much appreciated.
Update #3: I’m re-considering the idea of having an application that acts as an “unlock key”. If I were to do something like that, it’d be a new paid application on Google Play, and I’d happily refund the original purchase for any existing customers. It’ll be a manual process though, so you’ll have to request the refund and I’ll manually have to process it. What do you guys think of that idea?
PS. I’ve sent a mass e-mail to all paid users of the application to notify them of this blog post. I am in no way trying to spam anyone – I just think it’s important for paid users to be notified and have their say.