In Depth

On Subscriptions

| In Depth

When we released forScore 1.0 in 2010, we had no idea how successful it would become. We debuted a limited first pass and then went on to reiterate with the support and feedback of our customers to improve it, expand it, and to create innovative features that have since become standard across the market. We did this all by relying on a single up-front purchase, offering all new features and updates for free to existing customers, until this year when we decided to also add an optional auto-renewing subscription. Here’s why:

Apps take work

We get dozens of emails every single day (more on weekends), and we do our best to help as quickly as we can. Sometimes, though, a customer might need a lot more from us than others and it’s not fair to all of our users to halt development any time one person needs a little extra assistance. This subscription, first and foremost, gives us the breathing room to do right by everyone.

Developing an app takes countless hours of hard, active work. We might look like a big company, but in reality forScore is just two people—one of whom works part time. The other person designs the app, creates new features, fixes bugs, maintains this website, tests and updates all of our apps for the latest major and minor iOS releases, and much, much more.

All of our customers have benefitted from that work, whether they bought forScore yesterday at its current price or back in 2010 for just a fraction of it. We believe strongly that all of these customers should be able to continue using the app in perpetuity based on the features available when they bought it, and in almost every case they should also be able to benefit from new and improved features without an additional charge, but…

Some features aren’t for everyone

We often get highly specific or advanced feature requests that don’t make sense for most people. They’re not helpful and could even be distracting or confusing for casual users, so we’ve always had to say no to them until now. By offering a subscription, we can make sure that only people who understand what these features are will be able to access them.

Our customers want it

If you hate the idea of a subscription, that’s completely valid. There are also people who reach out to us occasionally to ask if there’s any way they can continue to help support the app on an ongoing basis. We’re not making a judgement call either way, but we trust our customers to make that decision for themselves.

Apple wants it

When you buy an app from the App Store or an in-app purchase, Apple keeps 30% of the sale amount (and provides a lot of services to developers for that fee). As a special exemption for auto-renewing subscriptions, Apple drops that percentage to 15% for customers who subscribe for longer than one year.

Each year it seems like the “best” business model for apps changes, but with this move Apple is making it clear that they think that auto-renewing subscriptions are a key part of maintaining sustainable development in the long haul and they’re putting their weight behind it. If we ignore that now, our competitors will get a leg up on us and we’ll be playing catch-up later.

You might not

If you don’t want it, that’s fine! In fact, we don’t think the majority of our customers will. We believe there’s value in offering a more complex experience to those who need it without making our app unusable for causal users.

It’s optional (really)

We built our company by selling apps for a fair price, as a single up-front purchase and with the promise of free updates for life. Maybe subscriptions are the future, but that’s no certainty. We want and need to offer a subscription to remain competitive, but we’re not jumping overboard—forScore’s subscription is entirely optional. It offers extra services, conveniences and shortcuts that help some of our customers get more, but it’s not a barrier to normal use in any way.

No current features require subscribing, and we don’t plan on changing that. When you buy forScore, you do so based on the features it advertises and you should be able to use those features for as long as you want them. We clearly distinguish subscriber-only features from the rest, but if you feel like we’ve misrepresented anything let us know.

Subscriptions make a lot of people uneasy, and we understand that. We won’t nag you to upgrade, send you push notifications, or use any of the terrible tactics that so many companies employ because we hate them too. forScore Pro is there if you need it, and if you don’t you never have to give it a second thought. We aim to use this tool to provide something unique and we hope you’ll be a part of that whether you subscribe or not.