As someone who just recently switched back to iOS, I’ve been turning to a lot of popular news and review websites to decide what applications to buy to replace apps I used on Android.
One big category is twitter apps, which are always a problem since Twitter is notorious for crippling what third party developers can do, even limiting the total number of users they can support with their infamous token limits.
After trying out one popular app, twitterific (free with in-app-purchases) for a few weeks over the summer, I was fairly happy, but before I purchased the upgrades, I wanted to try the other popular client, TweetBot. Tweetbot however has no trial option; it uses the older app pricing model; $5 up front, with no in-app purchases. Based on all of the glowing reviews on pretty much every review site I read, ~5 weeks ago I broke down and bought the app.
And today, with no prior warning or indication, no customer notifications, or emails, or developer blog posts anywhere. Just out of the ether, Tapbots launched Tweetbot 4 as a separate paid app, with no option for recent purchases to upgrade to the new version. The app store even allows for ‘clever’ upgrades thanks to the ‘complete my bundle’ option; this is how The Omni Group handled upgrades for their popular OmniFocus app when they released the universal version. This however requires the old and new apps be available in the store at the same time, and the developer creates a ‘bundle’ with both apps, so let’s see if they followed that route…
Oh, well this doesn’t look very good at all… not only is there no bundle option for upgrades, Tapbots actually pulled the old version (tweetbot 3) from the app store. So not only do recent buyers have to fork over another $5 for version 4, but if for any reason you didn’t leave version 3 installed (and/or haven’t manually backed-up the ‘IPA’ file) you can’t re-install it, you’ve lost your purchased app entirely.
What happens if the app doesn’t transfer during a phone upgrade? Gone.
Need a warranty replacement for any reason? Gone.
Uninstall the app by accident? Gone.
This is a flat out user-hostile move, and shows that Tapbots doesn’t respect their customers. Granted this doesn’t matter, in a few weeks nobody will remember today, and people will turn to iMore, Mac Stories, et.al and see glowing reviews that make no mention of this.
Maybe I’d feel different if I were a long-time user, with months or years of updates already behind me, but I’m not; I’ve had Tweetbot 3 for 5 weeks, and I don’t feel the app offered enough to be worth $5 for 5 weeks of use. Given the way the launch of version 4 is being handled so far, I don’t trust the developer nor think they deserve another $5 at this point.
So this post can serve as my attempt at warning people about buying anything from Tapbots; they don’t respect you as a customer, so think very, very long about giving them your money.