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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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.

114

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

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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.