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Established and controlled marketplaces can also come with a downside, however. Apple is notorious for its
strange and sometimes outright dictatorial control over what can and can't be in the App Store, which can be a huge
roadblock for app developers. One of the most famous cases of Apple's approval process causing a problem for app
developers is Google Voice, which was denied 6 when submitting its iOS app to the App Store.
Fortunately for Google, web apps can circumvent Apple's approval process by allowing users to access them from
any device with an HTML5-capable browser (which the iPhone has). Google made its Voice service into a web app,
and Apple couldn't stop it from making the service available 7 to its users.
apple has since relented and now allows google voice to publish its app in the app store. 8
For a long time, one of the key factors of the success or failure of a product has been a strong online presence.
Since Web Apps exist online, they naturally have that presence and can benefit from being discoverable via search
engines, through natural search. In contrast, a native application has to have a whole new marketing website created,
or simply rely on the marketplace web listing as an online representation and source of natural discovery.
Once your marketing has worked its magic, and the potential customer is about to convert into a real user, you need
a mechanism for making a sale. Even if you are giving away your application, there is still a sales aspect; the user
needs to commit to using your application in some way (e.g., signing up or downloading).
The first thing to consider here is trust. If you have created a native application that you are selling through a
trusted marketplace—backed by a big brand such as Apple, Google, or Microsoft—users already have the peace of
mind that the application has been vetted as part of the marketplace-submission process. In addition, any payments
they make for the app go through the marketplace and not directly through the application or some other third-party
payment system.
A web app doesn't benefit from the same inherited trust. It needs to create the trust by looking professional;
residing on an encrypted (SSL) connection; and providing payment through a trusted, reliable, and professional
mechanism. Consumers are hesitant to enter their credit card information on their phones, and that hesitation isn't
unfounded: it's not easy to fill out a form on a touch screen, and harder still to pull out a credit card while doing it.
Add to that the fact that someone using their phone is possibly in a public setting, entering financial information is
even less appealing.
It therefore isn't surprising that third-party payment providers who handle the transaction and securely store
payment details (such as PayPal, Square, Dwolla, GoCardless, and many more) are finding their services under
increasing demand. Although integration with payment providers such as this is getting easier, it still requires
additional developer effort.
Native apps, however, have a built-in commerce platform through their respective marketplaces, allowing for
upfront pricing to buy the app, in-app purchases, paid upgrades, and more.
That's not to say that there aren't many other ways to monetize an app, both native and non-native, but that
discussion is outside the scope of this topic.
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