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October 15, 2012
Google now allows developers to give users trial subscriptions

It goes without saying that people like to try things before buying them. Take magazines for example. No-one expects you to buy a year subscription to The Economist just so you can read it. You can check out a couple of their articles for free on their website, you might even buy an issue from your local newsstand. Then, once you’ve decided that their content is valuable, you buy a subscription.With apps and user trial subscriptions it’s a little bit tricker

Online streaming services such as Spotify or Netflix may or may not offer a trial, but smaller applications developed by indie studios often don’t have the resources to make multiple versions of their apps. Comb through the App Stores of any platform and chances are you’ll see two versions of the same app, one paid, one free and ad-supported.

Google, looking to make consumers more willing to surrender their credit card information, is introducing trial subscriptions for apps in the Google Play Store. Here’s how it works: Jonathan finds your application, downloads it, and sees that for some additional monthly fee he gets access to additional content. You, as the developer, can tell Jonathan that he can try out this “premium” subscription service for X amount of days, with 7 being the minimum, without any risk. Jonathan’s credit card will be billed only if he forgets to cancel his trial. That being said, Jonathan will have to supply Google with his credit card details to even try out the trial in the first place.

It’s difficult to say whether or not Google’s new policy will encourage people to subscribe to premium content, but at least they’re reducing friction to pay for apps, which is always a good thing.


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