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Should customers be upset when a paid app becomes free? #android #itweet

September 24, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

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Should customers be upset when a paid app becomes free? #android #itweet

Just as I was about to update the Android Twitter App Comparison Chart and our article asking which app is best, I read that I Tweet is now a free application. I checked the Android Market and sure enough, the once paid app is now free. That didn’t sit well with some of I Tweet’s customers.

“I paid for this app and now you make it free. What the ****, dude?” – angry complaint in Android Market

I purchased I Tweet because it was the first good app to offer multiple account support. But when I switched to another app, something I do often, the fact that I spent money on it didn’t bother me too much. I paid for a product and got several weeks of use from it. A commenter on our site once made a great point that we spend $5-10 a day on lunch and coffee, something that will leave us soon after. What are a few bucks when it comes to an app that you use often?

I wonder if the same logic can be applied here. Imagine if you go to Burger King at 11:30 am and spend $5 for lunch, only to discover that BK has a promotion for free Whoppers at 3:33 pm. You’d probably be a little peeved, but you got your food when you wanted it and the meal was worth the purchase at the time. Should you really be mad at Burger King because they decided to give away a product to build their brand and promote their company?

The current economics of Android will lead to some developers making their paid app free in an effort to increase popularity and find new ways to make money. Should I Tweet customers be upset by that? How would you feel if an app you purchased became free weeks later?