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Free Mobile Apps

When you get free apps on your phone or tablet, it is important to consider how those companies will make their money. How will they stay in business? What is their business plan? There are five basic strategies they can use:
  1. Offer a lite version and hope you will upgrade to the paid version. This is giving you something useful and advertising themselves.
  2. Be a platform for advertising from others (much of the web is based on this model)
  3. Track you and sell your personal data
  4. Give away some products hoping people will buy other products or services.
  5. Don't bother making money. Just do the programming and support for free.

The problem with the advertising model is that the company that provides the program may have no control over the advertising, which is often provided by advertising networks that are poorly monitored and controlled. Those with the sell your personal data strategy are kind of creepy. Often companies that go into business with the objective of selling people's personal information have no problem telling people that they maintain their privacy.

For this reason, despite how cool it is to get free stuff, consider paying the $2-$5 for a program rather than submit yourself to their spying and intrusive ads. Also, consider contributing to those free programs just to help the authors and express appreciation.

Date: September 2017

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