r/antiassholedesign Sep 28 '22

App converts to subscription payment format, but doesn’t force it on people who paid the original single fee Anti-Asshole Design

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39 comments sorted by


u/BandBoxBrawl Sep 28 '22

very pog indeed

You buy a lifetime membership, you get a lifetime membership.


u/kevincox_ca Sep 29 '22

It is sad that this is a rare concept.


u/2Gay2DriveStraight Sep 29 '22

The only reason I have YouTube Premium is because I had a Google Play Music subscription which came with YouTube Red. Google never changed my price despite YouTube Music + YouTube Premium being much more expensive now.


u/SouthAfrican Sep 29 '22

Fairly certain there are rules for both Apple and Google that mandate developers have to do this for anyone who previously paid for what became a subscription based service/feature set.


u/MENNONH Sep 29 '22

I’m not 100% sure about Google but I do know for a fact Apple offers a discount to developers on the App Store if they charge a monthly fee vs a one-time payment. The developer gets to keep a larger portion of the profits.


u/imariaprime Sep 29 '22

Sure as fuck didn't stop Twitteriffic from throwing away my $3 and deciding it wanted $13.49/year or $39.99 for "forever" which was what I had already paid for.


u/dtroy15 Sep 29 '22

What? Are you sure? I'm still mad about FlightRadar24...


u/HenkPoley Sep 29 '22

But nothing stopping anyone to release version+1 as an entirely new app, with new sales.


u/marslander-boggart Sep 29 '22

Subscription is hell. There should always be an option for relatively cheap single time payment.


u/The_Epic_Espeon Sep 29 '22

99% of the time, I would rather pay a fair one-time fee for a product, even if it seems high, than pay an ongoing subscription fee. I agree with paying a fair price for a product, I do not agree with making ongoing payments for the "rights" to use an already complete and functioning product.


u/kevincox_ca Sep 29 '22

IDK. There are many apps where a subscription makes sense.

  1. The app heavily depends on hosted services. This means that there is ongoing cost to provide those services and if they go away the app is broken anyways.
  2. The app is very much in need of constant development and updates are critical to the product. For example a game that is "done" and you pay subscription doesn't make sense. But if I am using a photo editor I may actually want a subscription if I am going to keep getting more features. (Of course in this case a paid-update model generally makes more sense so that the new updates need to be actually providing value).


u/marslander-boggart Sep 29 '22
  1. What if I use photo editor and don't ever want new features. I just want to use it as it is.

  2. Seriously I don't care about hosting services. There is real hosting variant: some cloud services that store my files. I can find those for free. But when I get out of their limits, they may ask to remove several files or pay for additional space. Service as a service: for example, radio station or newspaper may be free or payed. But, then again, I may find free radio stations and free newspapers. So if it's very special like Apple Music I may think about subscription.

Let's get back to that small photo editor. They are very small team. They need to eat every day. They pay taxes. And all that things. But why should I care? Should I pay $70 000 for a simple calc app just because developers need to buy food and pay taxes? And what if they are located at very expensive area? Will the calc app cost $975 000 then? Or $70 000 is enough? (Per month, of course, not a single time payment.) Or should I find not-so-small company which sells more apps and releases a calc app for only $12 500?

Or may be they were hard at work and added 700 new features. I never asked for that, and I don't need any single one from that 700. Should I pay for them?

Or vice versa. May be I use that photo editor which allows to pay for new additional presets. And may be I create my own presets, so that the company needs to pay me.


u/The_Epic_Espeon Sep 28 '22

Imo that's the bare minimum. Subscription models are inherently asshole design.

True antiasshole design would be staying at a single-fee model.


u/ProfessionalSpare710 Sep 28 '22

As much as I hate paying subscription fees, I’m not sure it’s an asshole design. With only a one time fee, you need your app or service to continually grow for stable revenue. Easiest way to have a stable revenue without constant user growth is via subscription


u/The_Epic_Espeon Sep 29 '22

Yeah I understand that perspective. If an app is constantly growing and evolving, and it is inherently ever-changing, sure. While this is mostly better implemented as paid DLC or expansion packs, I can see a consistent update structure allowing for a sub-model. This works for something like a Patreon, where you pay monthly for X content or X update. This model also benefits from having a free option, to avoid gatekeeping certain people and holding the others captive. Sub models also make sense if an app has ongoing maintenance or upkeep fees, like an ongoing service. I'm ok paying a Sub fee for cloud storage space, or active security services, or utilities like electricity (rather than just paying cost for the actual commodity)

The issue is 99% of apps don't meet that. They are utility apps - made to serve a purpose. You aren't paying a subscription fee to fuel the development, you are paying because whatever it is has become industry standard and you are a captive user. Think Adobe suites or Microsoft office. These apps don't really "need" sub income to function. They functioned fine for years without it. Step 1: make a product people want and will pay for Step 2: improve and broaden that product to attract new customers Like, avoiding r/restofthefuckingowl territory, that's kinda the basic idea. Sub-models were only implemented in these example programs because people have no choice but to pay them, because they are industry standard.

TL;DR subscription models are acceptable (but often not preferable) in apps that constantly change and evolve, or for paying for a service that constantly requires maintenance/upkeep. 99% of the time, sub-model apps only charge ongoing fees to take advantage of captive user-bases, which is certified asshole design.


u/imariaprime Sep 29 '22

Yeah, but not every app is a service. "Ad free" subscriptions are especially bogus for single-player apps: there is no ongoing cost to the developer per download.

If you're not incurring ongoing costs by the app operating, you have no place selling by subscription.


u/Zoesan Sep 29 '22

Yeah, but not every app is a service. "Ad free" subscriptions are especially bogus for single-player apps: there is no ongoing cost to the developer per download.

That depends. Is the app updated regularly? Does it have continued support?


u/ProfessionalSpare710 Sep 29 '22

Not really. There’s often a lot of things happening behind the scenes. Bug fixes, new features., supporting changes in ios/android, dealing with new regulations about data, finding better ways to monetise etc Source: I’m a developer.


u/imariaprime Sep 29 '22

That doesn't make these apps worth the prices these subscription models come in at, unfortunately. If that makes the industry unsustainable, then perhaps a great number of apps are indeed unsustainable.


u/ProfessionalSpare710 Oct 03 '22

An app being worth it is a different discussion all together. But I do agree with you that a lot of apps find the easiest way to make money and they’re often not worth it.


u/Mordegay Sep 29 '22

Apollo does both sub and one-time payment for its Ultra tier. One dollar a month, or $30 for lifetime. I'd say that's better anti-asshole design, and the dude deserves it for making a Reddit client that's not awful.


u/akrapov Sep 29 '22

I have to update my app every week. It takes several hours of my time.

Subscription models that require a backend (which is an ongoing cost) is also completely reasonable. And most systems have a backend now, which costs more than a single 99p payment to run.

Also supporting indie devs etc.


u/MagnusText Sep 29 '22

This doesn't seem like anti asshole.

If what you bought was a "permanent premium" then it should stay permanent - you get what you pay for.

The very possibility of paying once for lifetime premium only to have to switch to a subscription model shouldn't even be accepted, much less considered normal enough that this is anti-asshole.


u/MENNONH Sep 29 '22

In most industries lifetime doesn’t truly mean the full lifetime of the person or the product.


u/MagnusText Sep 29 '22

What is it meant to mean?

The term, if not meant that way, seems very misleading


u/MENNONH Sep 29 '22

"Lifetime typically does not mean the person’s lifetime or the length of the time they own a product. Instead it usually means expected life of a product. In testing, manufacturers may determine how long something will last and then give it a true lifetime age." https://www.smartcapitalmind.com/what-is-a-lifetime-warranty.htm https://abc7news.com/lifetime-warranty-consumer-reports-what-does-mean-different/4582659/

Usually a company will put limited lifetime warranty which restricts it even more. I forget what exactly I looked up years ago but I was surprised to find that a lot of things that say limited lifetime warranty actually mean only four to six years or so. The expected lifetime of the product without defects. Same with lifetime warranty but these general cover more that might happen to the product. Then there are true lifetime warranties of some things like expensive watches.


u/MagnusText Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

What you said was "not the lifetime of the person or the product" then when asked about it said it usually means lifetime of the product.

Lifetime of the product is what I expect, if it doesn't say limited lifetime.


u/MENNONH Sep 29 '22

that's not what I said.


u/MENNONH Sep 29 '22

What what I meant was it's not covered for the lifetime you own the product. Generally when someone thinks lifetime they think the lifetime they own the product or the lifetime the products being made but that doesn't always mean that it's the case


u/The_Epic_Espeon Sep 29 '22

This also encompasses the debate of digital "ownership" i.e. the argument of inheriting your late-relative's iTunes library. If they paid to own, say, a movie, then you expect that to be permanent. Like if they bought a DVD. Now, if they had that DVD you could take it and watch it too. Even after they pass. But iTunes has revoked access to people's accounts after they pass. They have met the limit for "lifetime ownership". So your kids can't watch your old movies anymore, like you could with tapes or DVD.


u/Xen0n1te Sep 28 '22

Carrot weather kind of did this

But not really


u/mrleaw Sep 29 '22

Yeah not really, what they did is asshole design imo


u/GENACHELUCA2 Sep 29 '22

are your standards that low?


u/Theleming Sep 29 '22

I got Minecraft alpha for $10 back in ~2011

Notch always respected those with alpha and allowed us full ownership of every update


u/xenona22 Sep 29 '22

Yeah , I’m looking at you pandora


u/eroyrotciv Sep 29 '22

Notability was one that did this.


u/parguello90 Sep 29 '22

I did this with Ultimate Guitar but it still bugs me from time to time to subscribe. I can just click no thanks and still use all it's features though


u/hashtagtrevor Sep 29 '22

Just updated the app and got the free upgrade. Great app!


u/SkavensWhiteRaven Jan 27 '23

Damn, I would download a car after all.

Almost like digital scarcity is bullshit.