It's likely that if you're on Twitter, or if you read other words on the internet, that you've seen the Developer's Union site that launched this week.

The idea is that iOS developers form a "union" of sorts (it's not an actual union of course as app developers are not employees) to ask for changes from Apple to make running small businesses on the App Store more sustainable. The first issue that they have chosen to tackle is free trials.

I must say, I don't like this at all for a few reasons:

First up, and most importantly, I don't believe this will be effective. It is certainly important that we give feedback to Apple on how to make the App Store better for developers, but I really don't feel an online petition or "union" like this is the best way to go about it.

The choice of free trials as the first issue to campaign about is also a strange one too given that we already have mechanisms for implementing free trials on the App Store. What is (presumably) being asked for here is a free trial system for traditional, paid up front apps. Maybe something that could be as simple as checking a checkbox in iTunes Connect?

If it's that, I'd say we have something better and certainly something more flexible than that already. Was it plain sailing to get where we are today with free trials? Absolutely not. But we do have mechanisms to implement a range of different types of free trials through the use of In-App Purchases and outright free trials with app subscriptions. Apple even called out apps with free trials in a recent App Store promotion.

If this site is to be effective, I think the focus of it needs to completely change. Instead of focusing on a deadline for this to be implemented by and a list of people who have signed a petition, it think it needs to detail what is actually being asked for and what it is about the existing mechanisms that doesn't work for developers today. What specific changes would make a difference?

Apple certainly won't respond to the site as it stands right now and they won't respond even if the changes I suggest above are made. However, they will read it and if not just a list of names and a demand then they might even pay attention.

Note: I know this opinion may not be popular and I genuinely don't mean to cause offence to anyone at all with what I've written here. Creating things is hard, and I really don't like to put something down that people have put time and effort into. My first instinct was simply not to link to it, but I've had so many people email and DM me suggesting I link it this week that I felt I had to comment on it.

Dave Verwer  





Business and Marketing


And finally...