Lack of Privacy Policy Trips Up Indonesian App Developers When Submitting Apps For Review

Aulia Masna - 27 June 2013

Ahead of the Build conference on Wednesday night in Jakarta, Microsoft emphasized a number of aspects that software developers should take note when submitting apps to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store. Most Indonesian apps tend to be well regarded technically but developers often fail to recognize certain aspects that will negatively affect their applications.

Microsoft Indonesia hosted a number of developers, partners, bloggers, and journalists to a private gathering to watch the opening presentations to the company's developer conference, Build, which is being held in San Francisco this week. Microsoft's ever passionate tech evangelist Norman Sasono couldn't be more excited about the conference, talking about what was expected out of the event, but he also emphasized certain issues that developers should take note of.

Sasono explained that there is a prevailing trend for software developers taking advantage of in-app purchase features offered by many application stores. While purchasing boxed software programs had been the norm since the beginning of the computer age, there is a strong preference towards relying on in-app purchase or downloadable content for revenues.

People love buying virtual goods or paying for extra content from within applications or games and this will become the major revenue driver for developers going forward. For an app that costs US$4.99, the developer of the app will have to persuade over 200,000 people if he or she wants to reach a million dollars in sales, but with in-app purchases, that number can be reduced significantly.

"In-app purchase is the next big thing", Sasono said. "Today paid and ad-supported accounts are the norm but in-app purchases are growing more popular and it will be the way forward for software developers to be making money from their applications".

Sasono also highlighted the fact that both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store feature trial downloads to allow people to download paid applications without having to pay and use it for either a limited period or with limited functionalities.

Apps that allow trial periods generally receive up to 70 times more downloads than those without and it drives 10% more purchases according to him. The gap in numbers may seem fairly significant but any increase in purchases helps developers inch towards or even beyond their targets.

Additionally, according to Arik Cohen, principal program manager for Windows Store, apps that offer trial period on Windows Phone Store can receive up to seven times more revenue than those who don't. Now that is a significant incentive for developers to offer trial modes for their apps.

Microsoft's stores may have a rigid, strict quality review process but it has the flexibility of trial modes and a more favorable revenue split. Once an app reaches US$25,000 in sales on the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store, the revenue split changes from 70:30 in favor for developers to 80:20.

The biggest problem with Indonesian apps is the lack of privacy policy, according to Sasono. It is apparently the number one reason Indonesian apps get rejected from Microsoft's stores. "Most of the time the reviewers have no issues with technical aspects of the app, but Indonesian developers almost always forget to include a privacy policy in their apps". Privacy policy can be included within the app or linked from the app to the app's website.

Lastly, Sasono mentioned that with the top three local telcos signed up to provide carrier billing for buying applications and games from Lumia phones, it becomes much easier for Indonesians to purchase and download those paid apps. App developers shouldn't worry too much about relying mainly from advertising revenue since one of the biggest barriers to downloading paid apps have been removed.


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