Linkly & in-app currencies

I just added a new app to the x-callback library called Linkly, it has a nice premise to let you quickly add links to Evernote as articles, which I believe is one of the biggest challenges using an iPhone. Although Linkly has background update to grab links freshly copied in the clipboard — option I'd appreciate to disable due to the app business model, which I'll mention later — I created a Safari bookmarklet to send specific links to Linkly and return.


Simple, right? I hope that I don't have to tell you how to create a bookmarklet, you probably have a few already.

Let's talk about its interesting business model, Linkly is a free download in the App Store and it lets you clip 30 web pages to Evernote; you can get 250 more for $0.99 with an in-app purchase. Considering clips as the app currency, Linkly shares a model remarkably similar to many predatory games in the App Store and I think it can shed a good light on the subject – if one thing changes:

Before iOS 7, every app with a background feature were limited to 10 minutes, such as Pastebot and Everclip. Now there is a smart background refresh and the limit increases as you use the app more often, meaning Linkly can work in the background continuously. Now consider that it grabs every url you copy and uploads to Evernote, so besides unable to review whatever is uploaded, cluttering your notebooks with unwanted clips, you also spend one clip doing so. That’s why Linkly desperately needs the option to disable automatically sending links in the background.

I believe charging .99 for 250 clips is healthy for steady development and harmless for users, as long as it is not used abusively, which the aforementioned option would prevent. I also believe it shows that it is possible to use the “in-app currency” respectfully, which may succeed in a larger adoption of this model among developers, who, therefore, could appreciate the recurrent purchases instead of unlocking all features with a single shot.

Maybe this is the future, if used wisely.