The Problem With Free Apps

This post is inspired by the mid-strong shitstorm Instagram had to deal with in the last days.

If you build and launch a service like Instagram, you can either

  • charge people by adding a price tag to your app
  • don’t charge people and use them as a product later

In my mind, you should charge people. The only reason Instagram (and Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are free is that they gain traction faster and that it’s easier for users to sign up. The problem here is that users won’t tolerate to pay money for services in the future while being mean when the service they didn’t pay money for but love to use is trying to monetize them.

In the end it’d be much easier to charge users. Those free services are going to make it fucking hard to earn money on the internet in the near future. I hate my software to be sponsored and destroyed by ads, I’d much rather pay 100 bucks for Instagram or Facebook to see only the posts of my friends.