Friday, August 03, 2012

I Bought That For A Dollar!

One of the cool features about Android devices are the Live Wallpapers - snazzy, interactive and/or animated wallpapers that really liven up your home screens. (That my Samsung Galaxy S II phone has part of the functionality crippled by the petty harassing lawsuits by Apple is a rant for another time.) Many of these wallpapers are available for free from the Google Play store, but to encourage people to pay a buck (i.e. 99 cents), many developers lock customization settings on the free versions. It's a decent trade-off: Cheapskates like me can get some basic cool papers for no cost and people who like to tweak are welcome to pay.

Why looking around for some new walls, I came across the Mystic Halo Live Wallpaper Free which looks a little like this (not my video; from Play page):

As usual, when changing wallpapers I hit the Settings button to see what options were available and was greeted by this:

The listing of what features are unlocked for your penny less than a dollar is the usual stuff. The picture of the puppy thinking, "So hungry!" and the promises that buying the wallpaper would feed the dog, capped off with the button text is sheer genius. I'm a cat person and I wanted to feed the puppy and felt a little bad when I canceled out the first time. I posted about this on Facebook, but it merited some pictures to make the point, so this.

Since I had credit from my Nexus 7 purchase, I decided to spend 4% of my balance to feed Lizzy. He should buy her a kitteh to keep her company!

This is a useful lesson in marketing. When so many people are using the same "freemium" technique to distribute - and hopefully monetize - their wares, you need something extra to differentiate one's self. If he'd just put up the usual nag screen, I wouldn't have bought it. By being different and memorable, he made me say...

...and pried a virtual dollar out of my hand where none* had done so before. Bon app├ętit, Lizzy!

* To be honest, I've paid for a few other freemium wallpapers when Play had a sale with stuff for 10 cents a pop. I'll buy anything for a dime; a dollar, not a chance.