Justin Williams, creator of the excellent Elements app and others, recently wrote about his no-nonsense, single-price approach to app pricing. On why Elements is five bucks, and always five bucks:

I frequently explain to people that I don’t build consumer applications and instead target the nerds. The nerds are more than willing to spend money on quality software. Nerds have bought tens of thousands of copies of OmniFocus’s $40 iPad app, so I find it hard to believe they would struggle to part with a $5 bill to use my application.

Moreover, I don’t want someone who is interested in the app to hesitate buying it because they fear it may go on sale soon. By never putting it on sale, I ensure that everyone who hops on board the Elements train got paid the same toll and doesn’t feel cheated out of a few bucks.

Does that make me a bad Capitalist? Am I leaving money on the table? Maybe, but at least I don’t have second thoughts or hesitations about it and I don’t have to waste any of my time playing the pricing game. I don’t need or even want everyone with an iPhone or iPad to be my customer. I’d rather have a small percentage of the user base that I can more easily manage as a small independent development shop.

I’m always dubious about the various App Store strategies I see trotted out for gaming the store (or perhaps more accurately, gaming your audience). Sales, keyword marketing, carefully timed promotions… all of these have a role, but I often sniff a little rancid SEO snake oil, too. I’m sure part of my skepticism is that I simply have little affinity or talent for marketing stunts; we distrust what we don’t understand. For me, though, that’s all the more reason to like Justin’s advice for pricing and App Store marketing: build something great, seed it with an enthusiastic community, and let the App Store take care of itself.

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