App Stores are a Complete Con

Did I really say that? Well, I guess I did. And you know why I said it? Because I believe it. Most of use have done it. We’ve all bought ‘apps’ that we ended up not using or deleting and, because the price was only a couple of pounds or dollars, we didn’t bother demanding a refund.

We should ask for a refund. We are entitled to a refund. But who is going to waste 10 minutes (or more) chasing a refund from the Apple App Store or Android App Store for sake of the price a cup of coffee? Few people.

But that’s the point.

App Stores are a Complete ConApp developers know that you and I won’t get too upset we wasted a couple of bucks on a useless app.

Apple, Android (and I must say it applies to all app stores including the new Mac App Store) know that as long as they keep the cost so low that very few people will care enough about such a small amount of money.

So some muppet sells an app for $2 to a few thousands people… 10,000 people buy it. That’s $20,000 shared between the app store and the developer. Not bad for a few days work is it.

Apple are quite happy earning a percentage of thousands of useless apps because they make money. Android are more than happy to let people lose a few bucks on useless apps because there is money to be make.

We are all being conned.

And don’t try to judge an app based on review sites. So many of the so called genuine reviews are affiliate links so, of course, they all say the app is the best thing since sliced bread.

Why do you think that very VERY few apps have a ‘trial’ download?

Because most of them are so useless that the developers (and the likes of Apple etc) know that many apps simply would not sell so it is commercially better for all involved for the user to have to buy the app rather than have a trial version.

And I didn’t even mention the ‘in app’ purchases… That is the biggest trick. A ‘free’ app that is completely useless without the in-app upgrades. It means, essentially, you can’t use the app for what it is intended for unless you pay for the main features.

Why don’t the app stores insist that all developers make a ‘lite’ version and a fully functional ‘paid’ version? Because that would not make commercial sense.

My last question (as I have asked Apple in the past) is: Why are apps that get hundreds of negative reviews still available in the app store?



  1. Hbay says

    You know I never thought about this until I read your post but you’re 100% right Martin. We wouldn’t settle for this from a bricks n mortar store, so why should we make an exception just because it’s an ooh-aah app or the great god Apple?

  2. says

    That’s my point, Melissa. Few people would sit back and let themselves be ripped off by Joe The Plumber or have any hesitation marching back to the high street with a product that is not fit for purpose and yet so many of us are being laughed at by developers AND (MOSTLY) the stores that make billions a year from our purchases.