Exploring the new world of Freemium apps

Image credit: iplab.com

I remember those days when accessing web services that were a hot cake by then was through paying. Other services had the option of a free account as well as a paid account, the latter receiving much privileges with the hope of tempting folks into signing up for the premium feel. But such trends are changing though many sites are doing it either way, paid as well as free.

One thing we shouldn’t forget is that most popular sites making sound are free. So it makes you wonder why they come at no price?  Facebook is a juggernaut amongst social networks at the helm with over 1 billion users employing the Freemium model as well as the search giant Google. Google is so popular that its seen its name added to dictionary to mean search. And many more rank with in the most visited across the globe. But one biggest question is how do these sites benefit?

Does “free” mean this ?

On serious scrutiny I came to a conclusion that such services are not actually free!!!! Here the story comes, on top of sacrificing your personal info to access such services, you again have to subscribe to the internet to be able to enjoy them fully. Is that being free? Actually that’s odd because the internet has never been free. Most of these most visited sites being public and others considering to do so raises some questions, how will they satisfy investors who sink their money into these internet corporations. So in order to woe these investors to continue investing more something has to be done. This raises the privacy question. And with recent developments about privacy concerns i wonder who really benefits out of these freemium web services. Many discussions have come up to complement this but an interesting conversation with one of my colleagues led me into realizing that the consumers are actually the product that are sold ADs and a lot out there from these sites. SO you shouldn’t get surprised finding a recommendation that one of your friends liked that page or +’d this and that. Conclusion made, its this personal information provided that acts as a basis for these companies to earn revenue . Still arguing? Read the next paragraph

Ever wondered why you always have to scroll through your news feed and get to see your “friend liked this” accompanied with a like button? Likes are supposed to be personal, out of one’s will but Facebook has actually changed them into becoming paid. Such companies mine monies out of advertisers in order to stay operational and these adverts are the products sold to the users with the so called free services. This as well extends to Google services where recommendations are based on your friends interests just like i said before. And many others are no exception and this will see emergence of more internet companies coming up with a privacy campaign in order to attract users. Take telegram as an example, it gained momentum the moment Facebook bought Whatsapp.expect more companies finding their way to the top if they promise their users privacy. Path can be a good example.

This is how its done

It’s not surprising having seen franchises coming out of this formula. The likes of Rovio’s Angry bird, Kings Candy Crash saga and recently Flappy birds that have become brands to reckon with employing the Freemium model. They go ahead to offer in app purchases while others employ display Ads. This again raises a similar or familiar question if free is actually free, so are they actually free?  Bottom line you use the service provided to you and you pay through viewing those Ads. Possibly I would call it a win-win situation to both the providers and the users. Many app developers are realizing huge chunks of revenue through the Freemium model especially when it comes to in app purchases and display Ads.  All that developers have to do is to increase the user engagement with their services and at the end of it all it entices them to purchase packages or more points to continue using the service. It’s like a trial and buy model. Many have thrived on this than those who rely on solely on payments and subscriptions.

Its take on Africa, Is it the best approach?

So is this the new way for every app developer out there? The most popular apps are mostly free and hardly can you find paid  apps on many smartphones, tablets or gadgets. At least the ones I have come across were almost holding free apps which gave me that impression that free apps are the thing. But all App stores offer both options of Free apps as well as paid Apps so free ones coming up on many peoples gadgets just shows how the freemium model is taking over the world.. So it’s either the developers or vendors that have to devise means of users to get paying and indeed they are doing it through the freemium model as told in the previous paragraph.They should either team up with the telecos or come up with good payment options that can easily be adopted by the end users. With that in mind, Africa proves a problem as many users are not well versed with electronics payments which has seen a decline in paid apps usage. I wonder if they actually use them!!!!. Its a big problem since many Africans are outside the formal banking system where the use of debit and credit cards is the norm. Developers going Freemium are actually making more money than those going paid.So developers going Freemium are raking millions out of their apps than those going paid. Angry birds is so popular that Rovio has moved it into animations and merchandise. Here Matatu is also very popular among smartphone owners and almost in every country I presume free apps outperform paid apps.

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