Unavoidable transition to an ad supported app

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chris

Administrator
Administrator
Jun 10, 2006
11,810
1,775
113
Long Island, NY
#1
I've been a big proponent of offering members a completely ad-free experience, regardless of how they access the site. Desktop, mobile template, app. Ads help pay for all the cool stuff we have here including the servers, writers and app development.

Up until now, I've been able to maintain the complete forum experience as completely ad-free for members. A recent move to how we update the everythingiCafe app has caused an unfortunate fork in the road. TapaTalk powers our forum app and have for the past few years. It's been a custom app, which requires timely and costly updates. The cost of which drastically overcomes any revenue we receive from ads shown to non-members. Over time costs have increased and tough to maintain to the level I would like.

Ads shown only to non members has been one of the features of our custom app, among others such as Twitter integration. They now offer a new BYO option, where forum owners can effectively build their own app, well to some extent. These are stock Tapatalk builds that include custom graphics, icon and are only for specific forums - such as eiC. This method has some significant benefits. For one, it's less costly to update, since there is relatively little custom code. This allows for updates to be in line with the latest TapaTalk builds. That effectively means I can push out versions as they happen. With the custom option, this wasn't an alternative, so our build lagged behind with updates. When I did update, the cost for a developer to work on my specific app has gotten expensive.

In looking at the BYO option, outside of the ad-blocking for members, there was little (if any) in the way of customizations that really stood out. I've got a few folks testing the latest build of the iCafe app and I'm sure they'll attest to the vast improvement over the older version.

When you add it all up, I believe that the BYO option is best for everyone involved. Better app, timely updates, stability and I'm in control of new releases. There is the obvious intrusion that are ads. These are still necessary to help support the cost associated with the development.

I'm looking at all options right now. They include:
  • I've reached out to TapaTalk to see if their plans include an option to remove for members
  • Option for an ad-free 'premium' version which would be priced at $0.99. This would be in addition to the free ad-supported version.
  • Removing all ads, effectively removing any revenue generation from the app
So that's where we are right now. I wanted to be upfront and welcome any feedback. I know a number of you use the app and I value your opinions.
 

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#4
I'm seeing ads in mobile Safari today. The page curl in the bottom right corner makes perusing the forums from my phone kinda unpleasant/frustrating. This is temporary, right?
 

SunnySweet

Contributor
Bronze
Jun 23, 2010
185
64
28
Upstate NY
#8
I am in the line to (happily) pay for my EiC app! I have always said it would be well worth it! I access EiC almost exclusively through the app and try never to miss a day checking in (mostly to read but posting when I feel the need) I certainly appreciate the plethora of info available here and all the hard work you and the mods do to keep this a positive and pleasant environment. Just my $.02 ...
 

chris

Administrator
Administrator
Jun 10, 2006
11,810
1,775
113
Long Island, NY
#10
I should note that the existing app, which will still work, is also an option for ad-free. That being said, I know that most people will see the update and just download it unsuspectingly, only to be greeted by ads.:eek: Hmmmm....

Going to keep testing the app, listening to feedback here and waiting word for TapaTalk.

I appreciate the support.
 

iphonewarrior

Moderator
Moderator
Apr 11, 2008
13,847
700
113
#11
chris I believe I speak for everyone on this forum when I say this: you've done a great job of getting rid of the ads for members so far, and I know how you may have taken the financial hit for it. We all understand that times change and so will this forum. We'll all gladly pay to remove the ads if necessary.


And for those who still want an ad-free experience without an app, you could always use an alternative browser and spoof your User-Agent ;)
 

chris

Administrator
Administrator
Jun 10, 2006
11,810
1,775
113
Long Island, NY
#12
chris I believe I speak for everyone on this forum when I say this: you've done a great job of getting rid of the ads for members so far, and I know how you may have taken the financial hit for it. We all understand that times change and so will this forum. We'll all gladly pay to remove the ads if necessary.


And for those who still want an ad-free experience without an app, you could always use an alternative browser and spoof your User-Agent ;)
Browser based access is still and will be completely as-free for members. No change there.


Sent using iCafe app
 

jmp316

Evangelist
Gold
Jul 10, 2008
1,048
141
63
#13
In an attempt to declutter my phone, I use Tapatalk to access eic. I don't need two apps. If I needed to use the eic app itself, I would gladly pay $.99.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
32
Louisville, KY
#17
Browser based access is still and will be completely as-free for members. No change there.


Sent using iCafe app
Chris, I would be happy to donate my time as an app developer if it would help you reach your goal. I'm not very experienced at iOS app development yet, but there's only one way to get there. I've been dabbling in it for years and only just now have started to put together what might eventually become a real app. I'd be thrilled to be able to contribute.

Just don't make the forum "as-free" :eek: sentences would be so much harder to compose without it.
 

Target

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 16, 2008
1,139
168
63
The Great State of WV.
#18
Ok. I'm ready for the paid eiC Ad-Free app. I'm a huge fan and constant cheerleader for the eiC, but the ads aggravate me. I'm sorry. I just don't click them.

Maybe it's because I work in Sales and Marketing. I do understand their need and that a percentage of the population click through.

For me, I pay to remove the ads. So where do I send my check. (Kidding here...don't post your address.)


Sent using iCafe app