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In-App Purchases vs. Rolling Your Own

Michael Rockwell on Initial Charge:

Here’s the thing about allowing developers to opt out: it’s a slippery slope. If Apple allowed developers to push users to a website for purchasing digital goods, they would. There are plenty of payment systems out there and building a website that integrates with them is easier than ever. But I don’t want to give my credit card credentials to every single developer that builds an app I’m interested in.

Michael brings up several excellent points. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently as I decide the best way to charge for subscriptions on Bokeh. And I’m starting to agree. The solution shouldn’t be “if you don’t like our 30 percent cut, roll your own.” The one who loses there is the customer. Finding out how to sign up for something outside of the app is currently a dumpster fire for most people.

In-app purchases are pretty close to an ideal solution in that they come with the trust that people put in Apple, which is then extended to the developer. Not to mention, it’s much easier to use Apple’s existing APIs. Bokeh will ship with in-app purchases exclusively, and we’ll see how it goes from there. A 30 percent cut will be big for my tiny company at first, but I’m hoping to make it up with the ease of use and inherent trust it’ll garner us.

In the end, I agree with Michael that Apple shouldn’t make it easier to opt-out of in-app purchases, and instead make using them better and more financially attractive for developers.