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Ulysses, infected by a trendy virus, changes to all-Subscription model

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Aug 11, 2017 at 08:16 AM


Yes, this is disappointing. But put it down to Apple’s ongoing refusal to allow upgrade pricing - I think that’s at the root of this issue. It makes the whole relationship much more binary. And of course at a certain point you simply stop subscribing. I’m currently subscribed to Bear, Outlinely and now Ulysses (yes, for the time being, because I use it quite a lot). But as somebody else just said, the early subscription offers are more likely to be taken up; after a certain point you just stop subscribing (especially when you’re already subscribing to iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive and other Cloud services).

Come on, Apple, just allow developers to charge for upgrades, for goodness’ sake! The current system isn’t making anybody happy.


Posted by Paul Korm
Aug 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM


I wonder if not having upgrade pricing in the App Store is a red herring.  Subscriptions are not a substitute for upgrades—subscriptions are developers opting for a steady income stream in lieu of fewer customers.  I would like to see an game-theoretic analysis of the various pricing options—base fee + occasional upgrade fees, vs. occasional new releases at full prices, vs. monthly subscription streams, etc.

My guess is that the analysis would show that the bet is: introducing a subscription might cause my customer base to drop 20-30% temporarily, the cash flow from monthly fee would offset the loss, and then the base would grow and I would be better off than I was before I introduced the fee.

We haven’t see anyone reverse course and abandon subscriptions, have we?  Fewer customers means fewer support headaches.  Steady, predictable cash flow means lower risk and greater access to capital.  A few weeks of bad press and torqued customers can be endured because everyone forgets.


Posted by Hugh
Aug 11, 2017 at 01:12 PM


Paul Korm wrote:

> Steady, predictable
>cash flow means lower risk and greater access to capital.

I imagine that this is a key - a business model that’s much more familiar and easier for lenders, potential investors and - yes - even partners and spouses to understand.


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Aug 11, 2017 at 02:14 PM


I too pay the fee for Tinderbox, but that is really a hybrid sort of arrangement. It’s not a subscription. It’s more of an extended upgrade fee. Also—as you imply, Paul—there’s a kind of (wink, wink) you’re really just being a patron of Tinderbox. At least that’s how if feels to me.

Paul Korm wrote:

>FWIW—I pay a hefty fee annually for Tinderbox because Mark Bernstein
>is always fiddling and inventing new features that I find useful in my
>work.  And after years of using his products and receiving personal
>attention whenever there’s a problem, I feel my loyalty and funds pay
>off.  Borgs like the Ulysses or the Day One crews don’t do anything to
>engender loyalty.


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Aug 11, 2017 at 02:23 PM


The author David Hewson, one of Ulysses’s biggest fans, offers a perspective opposite of mine:


Steve Z.


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