Talking Sober community,
I’ve been working on a change to Premium for the last two months. This change is already live on the iOS version of the app, and the Android update is coming soon. In a nutshell: Premium and Patreon benefits have now been combined into a single subscription. I’ve written a lot below, so I’ve divided them into sections that you can navigate a bit easier.
Before the change, this is how Premium worked:
- You paid a once-off fee of $5 to unlock widgets, cloud sync, backgrounds and to remove ads.
- Optionally, you could also sign up to Talking Sober’s Patreon subscription for an additional $5 per month to support the app and to unlock a custom title and flair icon on your community profile
After the change, Premium will work like this:
- You subscribe to Premium within the app for $5 per month or $30 per year
- You get all the Premium features: widgets, cloud sync, backgrounds and removal of ads
- You also get a custom title and flair icon for your community profile (now called Community perks)
Why this change is happening
The reality of running Sober Time is that it requires sustained revenue. Sober Time’s app has a system behind the scenes that takes care of things like cloud sync, signing in and hosting backgrounds. The Talking Sober community runs on a separate system that needs to be constantly online and accessible worldwide. It has databases, emails, authentication, file hosting, bandwidth costs and more. Most of these are monthly expenses, and some are annual.
Currently, Sober Time is mostly ad-supported. Even though they do deliver sustained revenue, it really isn’t much when compared to the above-mentioned bills. To put it in perspective: the ads the average user sees over the entire lifetime of using Sober Time amounts to under $0.05.
The other revenue source for an app is in-app purchases. I’m extremely grateful for everyone who has chosen to purchase Sober Time’s Premium in the past. But again, the reality is that less than 1% of users choose to do this and instead choose to use the free version. I’m completely fine with this and I understand it.
Lastly, we have a wonderful group of Patrons that have decided to contribute to Talking Sober through a monthly Patreon subscription. They have helped so much in the past, and they can directly be attributed to our community’s growth and infrastructure upgrades. Talking Sober always runs smoothly and quickly and it’s thanks to them.
I’m writing all of this out, because I hope people would understand why I chose to make this change. It was a difficult decision to make and I still am stressed and nervous about it. It’s not because of greed - which I often see people default to when they see anything in a monetized app. In fact, Apple and Google will both take a cut out of this subscription (as with any in-app purchase).
My hope is that, through increased revenue from the subscriptions, we can reduce ads throughout the app for everyone while still keeping Sober Time’s doors open.
Technical reasons for this change
Currently, you can support the community through a Patreon subscription. This is not completely ideal:
- Requires an additional account registration process on Patreon’s website
- You have to manage your Patreon profile and your card payments
- There is no direct integration between Patreon and our systems, so the functionality we can provide is limited
- There can be issues with the sync between your community account and Patreon. If your email addresses differ, you won’t get benefits, and this gets messy when you decide to change your email address on either side.
With the subscription now being in-app, these are simpler. You already have an Apple/Google account with your preferred payment method. You just tap and you’re subscribed. This is also better in compliance with Apple and Google’s policies, and better supports sales taxes for different jurisdictions.
Because of the better integration, I can do a few more technical things that I couldn’t in the past. You can now enter your username that you want the perks to go to (you can even enter a friend’s username) and you can pick between a combination of titles and icons.
How this affects you
How this affects you depends on if you have Premium or not.
- If you don’t have Premium, and don’t plan on getting Premium, this doesn’t affect you
- If you already purchased Premium, you will retain your Premium benefits and you don’t have to subscribe at all. You can still subscribe if you want to receive community perks, but it’s optional.
- If you are a Patron, you can choose to keep your Patreon subscription or you can cancel it and subscribe to the new Premium. The monthly plan is $5, the same as Patreon, but there’s an annual plan that works out cheaper at $30 per year.
This topic will be pinned and I want to keep it as an informational piece that everyone can reference. For that reason, I am closing it. However, feel free to start a new topic in the Feedback category if there’s anything you want to discuss about it. You can also send me a private message at any time.
(All prices mentioned above are just base values and will be affected by your jurisdiction’s taxes, currency exchange rate, etc)