Free Apps Aren’t Free: VIDEO Proof


So in my last post I went on somewhat of a rant about paid applications disguised as FREE applications. I won’t continue the rant… but for those wondering EXACTLY what I was blathering about, take a look at the following video which perfectly illustrates my point.

Me no likey.

UPDATE: To their credit, Keith from Fast Food Calorie Counter left a comment that essentially apologizes for any confusion and chalked it up to poor descriptions, a newborn marketplace, etc… and we can appreciate that everyone is an Android Market virgin.

But, my overall concern still stands. This isn’t about ONE application… Fast Food Calorie Counter has simply become the scapegoat because it was the first “Demo” app listed as FREE and I felt like it symbolized the open door for all others to do the same… perhaps more abusively.

Keith also agreed that hey, listen, its a free market and hopefully Google will put measures in place that allow users to “vote down” the apps that are not worthy. But if that was the case, would “Fast Food Calorie Counter” be worthy?

I’ll let you be the judge…

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Utterly ridiculous. I hope they’re banned for their obvious opportunistic greed.

  2. “Epic Fail” couldn’t have said it better.

    Ban ~ false information.

  3. While i’ve expressed my distaste for the “not” free apps. I can also wag a finger at goggle for not having a “subscription required” (free or paid) option for developers, I’m sure they will be quick to add such clarifications. Keeping both users and developers happy.

  4. Haha, “So… epic fail for whatever this stupid applications called and shame on you concrete media for taking advantage of people.”

    I agree, pitiful for them to do that, but I mean it is the first launch of applications and I certainly would want to get mine out there. I’m just justifying their actions in any way, I’m just saying I can see the reasoning behind it.

  5. Come on, Rob. I will be surprised if any of us agree with this blatantly shady business practice.

  6. Demos are fine & all just not mixed in the with the free apps. What if the demos had their own area in the market?

    Marking something as free when it is clearly not is unacceptable.

  7. as long as the software states in the description that it is a demo, and you have to buy the full version, seems fine to me, but calorie counter didn’t (they do now, must have made an impression on them rob ;) )

  8. I would be fine with demo software if they listed themselves in the Demo area of the Market, which currently exists.
    Regarding Google policing the apps, they would probably start a mini firestorm if they were to begin purging apps this early in the launch. We should use the ranking system to score these questionable apps very low as a warning to other considering whether to download or not.

  9. SHAME ON KEITH AND FAST FOOD CALORIE COUNTER! F’n $9.99 to get some information that’s free and available?@?!! Calorie information is available from any of thsse chains’ website. Plus in NYC any chain has to put up calorie information on their board/menu!

    You know Google isn’t going to have a demo section for paid applications right now, when you can’t purchase the full version through the Android Marketplace. That would allow mobihand (handango and others) to gain market share and recognition as a place to buy applications. Some people are dumb and think that a paid application must be better than a free one (remember that “I Am Rich” iphone application that sold for $999.99?).

    I personally think not having paid applications on the Android Marketplace till next year is pretty cool.That way, developers can see what types of things people want and fill in the void. They can also gain a reputation as a good development house and gain a following with their free app/widget effort now.

  10. The Plumber has a point.

    You don’t need this app, you can go to the website for a lot of these restaurants and either see, or download their nutrition information for free. In fact, they often have them as little pamphlets at or near the register. Charging 9.99 just because you organized free content is ridiculous.

    Also makes me wonder if McDonald’s would appreciate finding out their customers are being charged a fee for information they give out freely…and I believe are required to give out for free by law. Is that any different than someone, say, taking a handful of straws from Arbys and selling them to people? Seems like this app might not only be unethical, but possibly illegal.

  11. I might pay for that information, I might not. But it´s still wrong to say it´s free when it costs money.

  12. Agreed, it should be listed as *DEMO*. Further, yeah, 9.99 for this info is a joke. You can look this up on SO MANY places on the web. Not to mention, iPhone has like 6-7 of this kind of app and the max cost for these apps are $1.99, which is all its worth having it on your phone. Now, make it into a daily calorie counter with intake limits and deductions and add USDA food info as well as fast food info… THEN i might spend $9.99 for it.

  13. Why do you blame the application developers for Google’s failings? If one doesn’t want to give away their application for nothing, and if Google’s got no way to charge for an application through the Market, then–as you admit–what the heck is a developer supposed to do?

    As with much of the rest of Android, the Market was rushed into production without thinking things through. If you think they “shouldn’t be on the market”, then the only solution for a software developer is to head over to some platform other than Android. (As a lot of them have already done, thanks to previous missteps by Google around things like giving updated SDKs to ADC winners but to no one else, and then mis-sending an email announcing this situation to the entire Android developers’ mailing list…)

    There’s definitely some FAIL here, but I’m not sure it’s fair to blame the developers for attempting to work as best they can within the half-assed situation that Google’s created for them…

  14. Rob, you may say this not about one application but in effect what you are did is trash the developer for a simple mistake that happened during the first few hours developers were able to submit applications to the market and was partially caused by the infancy of the google system itself. If you have other examples of where this company has tried to trick the user, I certainly would be interested to see it, but in this case it just appears to be a mistake which they have corrected. In your other post you actually blamed the wrong company – Mobihand, which is simply the e-commerce provider and has nothing do with developing the application or submitting to the Android Market. If you have an actual valid example of someone abusing the system I would be interested in seeing it, but in general I think we need to be more careful about the criticisms we make and give the developer the benefit of the doubt first.

  15. @John – it was my uninhibited first reaction. An overreaction? Perhaps. But that was my first thought when I went through the process of using the application. You can blame me all you want for “jumping to conclusions”… I’m a big boy, I can take the heat.

    Like I’ve said all along, I appreciate all the negative feedback. It keeps me in check.

  16. I am stuck between getting the i phone or the droid. Which do you find best?

  17. Greetings, I have been reading lots of reviews and testimonials trying to decided what my new phone is going to be and It looks like i’m leaning to the Motorola Droid but not until Feb 25 this year. You would think ( after seeing the video and reading comments ) that with such a great viewing area on the phone you would bookmark the site with all that type of info and go straight to it or maybe some app that can access bookmarks for you and do that for you. Just one of those things that make you wonder.

  18. Love the info.great insight.want to know more about Google street maps.

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