Trying a New Revenue Model: Gibbs’ Rules 4.2

27 Jan 2016

Today I’m launching another big update to my flagship app, NCIS: Gibbs’ Rules 4.2, with a bunch of new features and most importantly a new revenue model. I’ve introduced a tipping system called Patronage.

Between 21st December 2015 and the 3rd January 2016 customers spent over US$1.1 Billion on the App Store. New Years Day was the biggest day ever, with customers spending over $144 million. It broke the previous single-day record which was set on Christmas Day, just a week earlier.

That is an insane amount of money. Talk that customer’s aren’t willing to spend money on apps is clearly not true, and yet we hear all the time of indie developers seriously struggling to make a living. It’s pretty safe to assume that most of that revenue went to a very small percentage of apps.

When looking at the Top Grossing chart it is pretty clear that almost all of that money was spent on In App Purchases for those twelve free apps. There’s plenty of arguments to be had about whether that’s a bad thing for the quality of the store, but I’m not here for that.

For the first three and half years of life, Gibbs Rules was financed with advertisements. A small banner across the bottom of some screens. Over that span it made very little money, and resulted in a poor quality experience. To be completely honest I was, and still am, disapointed in the advertisements.

Today I’m following suit with the rest of the App Store and selling four (identical1) In App Purchases. I’m calling these Patronage tiers and for the most part they offer nothing much of value. Instead of designing the IAPs to get in the way and need to be purchased, I’ve made them as out of the way as I could.

Inspired by Tip Jars in apps like Pedometer++ and Highball, and the Patronage model in Overcast, Gibbs’ Rules Patronage will be more about customers giving back, than getting features. For the time being, all four tiers offer the same thing; themes. For the foreseeable future, I will only add exclusive features if I can’t afford them for everyone.

My reasoning behind four seemingly identical tiers is so that customers can pay what they think Gibbs’ Rules is worth. I hope customers will opt for one of the higher tiers, but only time will tell.

This is definitely an experiment.

The jury is still out on whether this will work. However, even if only 5% of customers purchase the lowest teir I will have earned an equal amount to the advertisements. Odds are, even less will. But I’ll be so much happier about it. The desision to contribute is entirely yours. However regardless, you will be able to enjoy all the features of Gibbs’ Rules.

  1. I’ll get to that. 

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