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No more excuses: Apple now labels apps with IAP on App Store charts
No more excuses: Apple now labels apps with IAP on App Store charts
April 22, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

April 22, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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    18 comments
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



As first reported by MacRumors and verified by Gamasutra, Apple has taken steps to better highlight games and other apps that offer in-app purchases with a new IAP label that appears in the App Store charts and lists.

Apple added a small "Offers In-App Purchases" disclosure statement to the individual store pages of IAP-capable apps last March, but today's iOS update -- version 7.1.1 -- adds a similar "In-App Purchases" disclaimer to those apps when they appear on the Apple App Store category pages and Top Charts lists. The image above is taken from the Top Grossing list on the App Store.

Since many iOS users find new apps for either themselves or their family members by checking those lists and category pages, it seems likely that Apple has quietly appended these IAP labels in an effort to minimize those users' opportunities to complain about being charged for IAP without the "informed consent" of the account holder.

Back in January, Apple agreed to pay up to $32.5 million in refunds to any Apple account holder who could prove they were billed for in-app purchases made by children without their knowledge or consent.


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Comments


Felipe Budinich
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They should ditch the "Free"

Jeremy Alessi
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Now they also offer refunds on IAP which is terrible.

Christian Nutt
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I'd love to hear more about why!

Kujel s
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I'll second that question Christian.

Phil Maxey
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I think we are getting to the point where there needs to be a visible distinction between IAP's which are consumables and those which are not.

Nooh Ha
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Given that most games IAPs are for virtual currency, I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to the hard currency sinks i.e. the virtual items/services/content bought with the virtual currency?

Voldemaras ZT
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I believe some games are free and have one-time premium purchase that unlocks whole game. They should be, if they aren't already, differentiated from other F2P games that allow you to buy infinite amount of virtual currency.

Kenneth Barber
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I agree with Felipe, ditch the free label for apps with iap. Just call them "IAP". Let free truly mean free.

So there would be; Free, Ad, IAP, .99, 1.99, etc...

Nooh Ha
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Not sure its that simple.

There will be games that are free with ads and IAP, paid games with ads, paid games with IAP etc. What about games with offerwalls?

It also does not differentiate between games where you can theoretically play a game to completion for free (but which has IAP) and free games which have IAP-based payment barriers to completion.

I've played dozens if not hundreds of F2P games over the last decade and have only paid in a small fraction of them. For me the vast majority of these games were genuinely free.

Christian Kulenkampff
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I agree. From a consumer perspective I would like to see a list of all ways an app tries to monetize me as a user before I download it. This is as important as the access rights I give to the app.

Andrew Pellerano
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You are about to enter a grocery store which uses the following monetization techniques.

* Keeps the most common items such as eggs and milk all the way in the back of the store so that you have to walk by other products.

* Puts the highest margin items at eye level, relegating value products and high quality products to the fringes of your awareness.

* Used a yellow label to signify special pricing as part of their "Everyday Sale" campaign in which this item is on sale every day.

* Placed an item on sale but worded the offer to make it look like you have to buy at least 4 to get the sale price.

* Displays signage telling you how you can buy 3 for $4.50. The standard price, written in small print in the corner of the signage, is $1.50.

* Raised prices last week so they could display the original price as a sale price this week.

Do you accept?

Kenneth Barber
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So in my mind, scary place by the way, the effects of each group code be additive. Free would be truly free, "ads" would have advertisements and would also be free. IAP would be free, offer IAP and could have ads. A game that is .99, 1.99, etc would have a cost but could also have ADS and IAP. Is offer wall stuff allowed on the App Store with out going through Apples subscription mechanism?

Pedro Fonseca
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There is definitely a balance to be achieved, but over-labeling and, by an extension, over-categorizing things isn't necessarily a good deal.

Not to mention that it was already pretty clear which apps offered inapp purchases or not, and yet, people somehow missed that (was just below the app's name in the store); so it doesn't seem to be a labeling issue.

John Flush
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Back in the day this was the point of reviewers. They would declare the specifications of the game more or less from a genre, feature set. Now they are just fluff pieces to generate hits.

Having the stores do it would be nice, but I don't think they could put all of these on the button. One could make it hierarchical, if your game contains any of the following they go in this order: Paid Cost, IAP, Ad, Free... but then we would have endless debate on how to make the best PR move on the button yet still find ways to get around it. and it wouldn't take into account for people that invent with the system (donations? referrals? etc).

I like your idea, but it is just as poor as not having it and putting all this information into a required section in the app description.

John Flush
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Back in the day this was the point of reviewers. They would declare the specifications of the game more or less from a genre, feature set. Now they are just fluff pieces to generate hits.

Having the stores do it would be nice, but I don't think they could put all of these on the button. One could make it hierarchical, if your game contains any of the following they go in this order: Paid Cost, IAP, Ad, Free... but then we would have endless debate on how to make the best PR move on the button yet still find ways to get around it. and it wouldn't take into account for people that invent with the system (donations? referrals? etc).

I like your idea, but it is just as poor as not having it and putting all this information into a required section in the app description.

Christian Kulenkampff
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@Andrew Pellerano: Great example of how things should be :) It seems unpractical, but from a consumer perspective I really like it.

Kenneth Barber
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Sounds like an awesome tycoon game.... You play as the store owner stocking things around the store to maximize income and to keep your wholesale people happy without pissing off the customer....

Kenneth Barber
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Also, as Andrew eludes, any discussion of this has to include reshaping the App Store "market place" to allow for actual shopping and comparison. Right not its like walking up to a service window decorated with ads for the things that are selling or have sold well previously. Then when you ask if there are any other products they hand you a phone book, or to be more generous an old timey Sears Christmas catalog.


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