Fixel throws down the gauntlet:

Our mobile app is equally as feature-rich as the desktop app (there’s only a slight feature differentiation), so as of today we’ve raised the price of the mobile app from USD $49.99 to $249.99. This is still lower than our Cinemagraph Pro for Mac software at $299.99 (Our Flixel Cloud Web+Apps plan is available for only $199.99 annually, which provides access to both versions and our hosting and streaming service), but it bucks the trend of providing mobile apps for free or next-to-free, regardless of how rich the feature set.

"Bucks the trend of free or next-to-free", huh? That's not just a "buck"; that's a horse rolling on top of the rider, then tossing 'em back into the air, before drop-kicking them into the middle of next week.

But Fixel is an example of their own problem. There is no single app type. To say that there's a "trend of providing mobile apps for free or next-to-free" is to identify only the conditions of the dominant storefront. It's like saying that Northern Tool is bucking the trend of providing wrenches for next-to-free. The real insight, as Pieter Omvlee insightfully said at the 2015 Release Notes Conference, is that the iTunes App Store is a dollar store.

The problem with the iTunes App Store for many of us is that a dollar store is also likely not your store.

But no corner dollar store (when did 5 & Dimes die?) has millions on millions of items. That's a warehouse. Which tells us...

The iTunes App Store is actually two stores. It's a Dollar Store. And it's a policed warehouse that stores your app "inventory".

Apple allows your customers to enter the warehouse, but that doesn't guarantee your product will be on the showroom floor. The App Store is Ikea with a huge warehouse, that, um, only highlights knickknacks and cheap radios. That is, the showroom is a dollar store. Q.E.D.

You have to stop thinking of the App Store as your store, and think of it in these two ways. Again,

  • The App Store is a dollar store where you (and everyone else) can discover cute knickknacks.
  • It is also a warehouse that carries your app.

Just expect, if you want to clear that warehouse inventory, to sell your app yourself.

You don't have to target the dollar store if you're selling clothing, for instance. Don't. Don't be upset if the dollar store features your app. It's unlikely at $249.99, but if it happens, it's still good, free press. But open a storefront on the other side of the warehouse's block. Sell that inventory from your own store on the web.

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