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What’s worse than paid app updates?

Recently Tweetbot 4 was released as a cross-platform update that’ll work on iPad &iPhone. Right now (at 50% off), it’s a $4.99/£3.99 app. Regardless of whether you bought the old Tweetbot recently, or at all.

Some people were pretty angry about this:

Image via ProductHunt

It goes on, just do a Twitter search 😢

Mark Jardine, designer at Tapbots was quick to compare the cost of his iced coffee to the cost of the upgrade:

We’ve all seen this, and although perhaps overused to compare app value, it’s safe to say it’s a fair argument. A large majority of people who would consider buying Tweetbot would also regularly spend $5 on a coffee, a craft beer, a quick lunch or much much more on pretty much any new version of a console game.

So why are people attacking indie developers for this?

Let’s put it into perspective.

This new update/upgrade took 8 months of work by a team of 3.

Scenario: An existing client approaches you for a re-design and build of their website. You worked on their first one, they paid you for it and you get a small fee that just about covers your costs for regular maintenance of their existing site. You also have several hundred emails and tweets per week about the current site, asking you for support and not paying extra for it.

After several meetings, phone calls and back and forths you realise the scale of the project. You’ll need to bring in 2 further developers to help you build this thing and it’ll take 8 months.

Ok, so let’s get to work.

One slight problem.

The client doesn’t want to pay you for this work.


They’re happy to carry on with the retainer, but you’ll need to do the new one for free to continue getting it.

What would you do? Would you work for free?

In this scenario I’ve used web design as a comparison, but you could equally be a builder, mechanic or just about anyone who provides services to clients.

Let’s make this very clear — This is not about greed.

As Mark quite clearly states, there are free alternatives. If it bothers you that much, don’t buy it.

If you want an in-depth look at what Tweetbot 4 offers you, read this blog post on MacStories.

So next time you feel the urge to complain about a paid upgrade, consider the people behind it and support them, and if you don’t want to, don’t. But there’s no need to call them greedy assholes, because they’re not.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with this:

– Mark Jardine, Designer of Tweetbot (link)

Support Indie Developers.

Published in #SWLH (Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking)




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