Appearances deceive Z

I’ve been puzzling for some time about how apps are funded. I have a smart phone and I have quite a lot of apps. I’ve always played games and done trivial sorts of things, since childhood. On the infrequent occasions that we watch TV, Tim looks askance at me playing a card game or some such on my phone, or reading the paper online, because he can’t see how I manage to follow the plot as well. I tell him, I used to read a book but he prefers a fairly dim light and it’s easier to use the phone.

Apps are often free to download and then they might be funded by advertisements, sometimes by a one-off payment, or else one is offered inducements to buy hints, upgrades and so on and, more recently, subscriptions have been offered, usually for a ridiculous weekly price just so one can get a daily quiz or something. The thing is, the free-to-play apps advertise other apps … that are also free to play. So everyone is going round in a circle, paying each other to advertise their goods, with no guarantee that anyone will ever give them any money? How does that work? Indeed, it’s clearly understood by the developers that users find the ads boring and intrusive, because sometimes one can pay a pound or two to have them removed. If ever you do think an advertisement looks quite good, actually, and you download the game, I suppose the site gets paid a bit more, but it doesn’t stop the advert being played, I don’t think – hard to tell, as one can never remember where one found a site and it may just be that it turns up somewhere else. It just seems to be an illusion of busyness, with no sureness of real money being paid in. I’ve no idea how many people do buy hints and so on; I don’t unless a one-off small payment will stop the ads. I do usually pay for something if I can, because if I like an app and use it, it’s only fair. But then, there are the ones that are totally free to use with no option to pay. How on earth does that work? I’m thinking of useful things, like weather apps, recipes, scanners (before that was included with the phone) and so on. The developers all need to earn a living, obviously, and regular updates are necessary, because the app has to be compatible with all phones, all updated systems, everything and it’s complex. This is all way over my head. I know one’s data is being collected, but my phone tells me if any of them is tracking me, which they don’t without permission and only when I’m using the app, and I check the privacy details to be sure there’s nothing creepy on there, quite regularly. Maybe other people are less careful or more interesting than I am? Which wouldn’t be hard, at least in the latter respect.

5 comments on “Appearances deceive Z

  1. Tim

    At the risk of repeating myself, I can only expand Kingsley Amis’s great aphorism. It’s now a revolving inverted pyramid of piss.


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