Why Riposte is Free

He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their mind. […] He’s observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.

~ Jason Fried (37 Signals) on Jeff Bezos’ visit to their offices.

Big news: we’ve decided to make Riposte a free app, starting tonight and for the foreseeable future.

We know that this seems at odds with many of the statements that Jared and Jamin have made in the wake of Tapbots’ controversial decision to make Netbot free, so we’ve created this page to answer any questions you may have.

What gives? What about people who have already paid for Riposte?

We love each and every one of you guys. Seriously. You inspire us, and the money that you gave us will cover our server costs for important Riposte features like push notifications and image uploads for years to come.

Why are you doing this?

We believe that customers deserve great apps, and that developers deserve to get paid for their work. Usually that means customers pay developers directly for a one-time purchase at a fair price. However, the realities of the app market don’t always make this a feasible pricing model.

Why isn’t a paid model feasible?

Ever since Tapbots made Netbot free, sales of Riposte have slowed down to an unsustainable level for us. It seems that everyone who would want to purchase Riposte has already made their purchase, leaving behind a large portion of App.net users who can’t or won’t buy another app. We feel it would be unwise for us to continue charging for downloads of Riposte. We must find another way forward. We want lots of people to try Riposte, both to stay in business and because we really believe our app is the best App.net client for the iPhone.

Do you think that Tapbots made the right decision to go free?


Why do you think that Tapbots’ decision was the wrong one?

We believe that one of the mistakes that all of us iOS app developers made since the launch of the iOS App Store was teaching customers to expect cutthroat prices for apps. It was a race to 99-cents in those days, and it set a pricing expectation that has proved irrevocable. We had high hopes that App.net clients could help correct this problem, especially since App.net users are a network of 30,000+ people who all believe in paying a premium price for a premium experience. Netbot is a popular, trend-setting app. By making it free, Tapbots has effectively stamped out the possibility of changing customers’ expectations.

Won’t free apps like Netbot and Riposte bring more people to the service?

We doubt it, but we’d like to be proven wrong. It seems implausible that a potential customer would be dissuaded from paying five bucks a month for an App.net account just because they have to pay five bucks once for an iPhone app.

So how will you make money if Riposte is free?

Don’t worry: we won’t be plastering Riposte with ads nor selling your data. App.net has a developer incentive program that distributes $20,000 a month amongst all App.net clients, based on a complex popularity metric. It’s our portion of this incentive that will fund further development of Riposte.

Are you stopping development of Riposte?

Hell no! We have lots of great stuff coming in future updates, so keep checking the App Store, or follow us for more information: @riposte.


Jared & Jamin