Smile Software makers of TextExpander made a big announcement recently with regarding the pricing of their shortcut snippet software. The update sparking a conversation regarding the subscription model & it’s place in our app economy.

Essentially TextExpander pricing goes as follows:

$4 monthly/$48 Yearly (Annual Plan)

$5 monthly/$60 Yearly (Monthly Plan) 

Team plans & existing users get a discount to help save.

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The reaction to this has been very mixed some users in support of a tool they use everyday while others claim they’re basically getting charged more & not essentially owning the software. Now Smile is doing this in part to as they say free users of the upgrade treadmill & of course profit more in this model.

The feedback here however is interesting. The subscription model in itself is nothing new & has been around the internet for quite some time. Be it internet dating, music services, you name it. Though this day in age where we can buy an app with a tap of a finger the subscription model is being widely adapted. The argument of willingness to pay upfront for software or over time in a subscription model has it’s benefits & drawbacks. Paying upfront means you know what you get & you own the software for the most part. You pay more initially but if the tool at hand is something you use often then it’s worth every penny. A subscription model would disperse that payment over time & of course if you decide to stop using it you simply stop paying.  This model however can add up overtime. It’s also bills to worry about every month versus a one time payment.

Software-Sold

The bigger question here comes to that of worth. What is the app in question worth to you?  I think of my own subscription services & what I qualify as things I use often enough to justify a monthly subscription. Spotify, Apple Music, Netflix, HBO Go, are just a few examples. All services I use on a consistent basis & serve as the entertainment factor in my life. They save me money when I consider the cost of let’s say buying albums on a frequent basis or renting/buying TV shows. So in that case I find it highly worth it. These are also services that have been for the most part a subscription service from the start. Text Expander’s issue is that it’s been a tool that people have been gladly paying for. Despite paid upgrades & new versions people were loyal customers. It’s only in changing to a new model that requires a change in that, creating uproar. Now redefining how we see the app & it’s usefulness to us on a daily basis. Especially when there’s cheaper & similar alternatives to said app.

So the question comes what qualifies as a worth subscription model for you? An app, service, donation platform. The technology we use is changing & ways developers & companies gain revenue from it is changing to. If the tools & services we use are integral in our daily lives then the dollar value & what we’re willing to pay should reflect that. However it’s also key to realize that the consumer has a vast amount of options from cheaper to free nowadays beyond that there are some who simply can’t afford more monthly expenses. There are times where the case makes sense say the Adobe suite for example where rather than paying hundreds of dollars your paying twenty per month of use.

There’s a balance to be found in this system & the ever evolving app-economy. Both from the consumer & developer side of things. Until then we either give our business where we see fit or take it elsewhere. Leave your thoughts & opinions in the comments below or drop me a note on Twitter!

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