Business ID Theft (Part 2): Public Info, Easy Access By Laura Bruck

TheDigitalWay / Pixabay

Business ID Theft 101: Part 2

In Part 1 of our Business ID Theft series, we looked at how business identity theft is much like personal identity theft. Let’s review some key points:

  • Business identity theft and data breaches are not the same. Business identity theft requires the “actual impersonation of the business itself.”
  • Stealing your business’ identity allows criminals to open new lines of credit, bank accounts, apply for loans and make fraudulent purchases in your business’ name.
  • Identity thieves keep coming up with ways around existing protective measures put in place, as well as exploit loopholes in filing processes to carry out their crimes.
  • Business identity theft can ultimately lead to business failure. A study found that 60 percent of victims go out of business within one year.

Now that we understand what business identity theft is, let’s talk about how criminals go about committing it. This type of crime targets certain companies for a variety of reasons. However, the goal for any identity thief is to misuse the information — while remaining undetected — for as long as possible. Thus, criminals have come up with ways to outsmart existing systems in place, as well as create new routes to a business’ sensitive information.

Let’s explore four ways that criminals can obtain your business’ sensitive information and victimize you and your business through business identity theft:

#1: Technological advances

Fraudsters also utilize legal services to facilitate their business identity theft schemes. Virtual offices and virtual telephone services – used legitimately for remote and cloud-based businesses or overseas communications – help criminals maintain fake business facades without ever having to show their face.

Virtual telephone services (VOIPs) give users the ability to make calls over the Internet instead of through a telecommunications company. Consequently, criminals manipulate phone numbers to appear as local numbers to carry out their identity theft schemes from virtually anywhere in the world.


#2: Ambiguous addresses

Businesses that reside in large industrial complexes or multi-floor buildings can be first picks in business ID theft schemes. Criminals can closely replicate company addresses to redirect sensitive mail to themselves. They can also rent building space to maintain a physical presence through fake offices and phone lines.

Physical address scams highlight a weak link in transaction and application processes, which only require an applicant’s address to meet “exact match” requirements – address line 1 and zip code. While “exact match” is used to spot obvious cases of misused addresses, criminals can easily stay under the radar by modifying the information in the second address line, often not considered when determining “exact match.”

#3: Public business records

Identity thieves can easily evade the Office of the Secretary of State by manipulating existing information on registration applications. A study conducted by the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Business Identity Theft Task Force found that 83 percent of Secretary of State offices do not track business identity theft complaints. What’s more is that 29 percent of offices noted the lack of state laws surrounding business identity theft.

More than 25 percent of fraudulent applications used some form of recycled business information. Criminals take advantage of most states’ “good faith” filing systems – only requiring forms to be completed and submitted, and all filing fees to be paid.


Good Faith Filing: if all basic filing requirements are met, the Secretary of State must accept the information filed about a business at face value and record it.

Source: Business ID Theft

Business credit reports – necessary because companies often extend credit to one another – are also another source of sensitive information that criminals turn to when attempting to steal your business’ identity.

Like people, businesses must provide sensitive identifying information to apply for loans or open lines of credit. Instead of Social Security numbers, creditors and lenders will request a business’ Employer Identification Number (EIN) in addition to account numbers, trade information and even the owner’s personal information.

Unlike personal credit reports, business credit reports are available to anyone who wants them. While these records remain public to maintain transparency amongst businesses, it also leaves sensitive information exposed and easily obtained by identity thieves.

#4: Dissolved businesses

Your business doesn’t have to be in operations for criminals to target it. A dissolved business is one that has either chosen to discontinue business or that has failed to comply with its legal obligations. While varied state-by-state, companies typically have up to two years to reinstate a dissolved business.

Fraudsters rely on the fact that owners are not likely to continue monitoring a dissolved business’ records. However, dissolved business records are still public record. Criminals can easily find and reinstate businesses to carry out their fraudulent schemes – without the prior owner’s knowledge.

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Enterprise Messaging Solutions With AI for Business By Murray Newlands

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest tech topics today, partly because it has already changed the way businesses interact with their audiences. AI-powered messaging solutions, also known as chatbots, have allowed companies to provide assistance for their customers and potential clients around the clock. Now, artificial technology is slowly infiltrating the world of big corporations and enterprises as well.

Thanks to advancements in AI technology, artificial intelligence messaging solutions are now helping enterprises automate and streamline numerous business processes. These messaging solutions, sometimes called enterprise chatbots, have many benefits like increased productivity and faster turnaround just to name a few.

That being said, setting up a successful enterprise chatbot requires a lot of planning and time investment. To help you out, I’ve put together an article that will teach you how to build an AI-powered chatbot and show you the benefits of using one for your enterprise.

Benefits of AI-Powered Enterprise Messaging Solutions

AI-powered messaging solutions offer an array of benefits and advantages, if used correctly. For instance, they can help big companies cut costs while improving performance. Once integrated, enterprise chatbots can provide information about specific accounts and statistics quickly and efficiently.

In addition, enterprise chatbots can:

Help Manage Projects

Small companies can get away with reduced teams, but larger corporations need as much help as they can get when it comes to organization. Enterprise chatbots are dynamic tools that can help you organize your tasks in a more efficient, productive, and cost-effective manner.

Each one of your clients has different needs, and AI-powered messaging solutions can help identify and ameliorate potential areas of improvement. They allow you to establish communication, receive regular updates, and generate reports automatically.

Serve as Virtual Assistants

Having a personal assistant at your disposal can take a huge load of work off of your hands, but not all employees can have their own secretary. But, AI-powered enterprise chatbots can serve as a virtual assistant not only for you, but for your entire team. They can help you make or change appointments, set reminders, make bookings on your behalf, provide extensive information about any major or minor company details, and much more.

Automate Mundane Tasks

One of the best ways to increase productivity is to find a mechanism that automates mundane, yet essential tasks that need to be carried out on daily basis. We all know that boring tasks can become a huge stress factor and can have a negative effect on productivity. Enterprise chatbots can help by taking over these grueling responsibilities, which are often simple in nature but considerably time-consuming.

Instead of hiring new personnel to address mundane responsibilities, big enterprises are implementing AI-powered chatbots. Automating these boring endeavors will help your team keep focus, spend their time completing tasks that add value to the company, and develop new strategies that help promote growth.

Collect Valuable Insights

One of the biggest reasons why chatbots are so efficient is because they help companies gather valuable information about their target audiences. These companies then use the information gathered to build marketing campaigns that have a better chance of connecting with their potential customers.

Enterprise chatbots can help do the same for a corporation’s internal structure. By collecting information about each transaction, an enterprise bot can reveal what areas of your business your team is struggling with the most. You can then use this information to build or remodel your training and upskilling programs, which will result in a more prepared staff.

Provide Assistance for B2B Applications

Artificial intelligence messaging solutions are now helping businesses with numerous B2B applications. These enterprise chatbots are designed to answer questions about supply options, stock, delivery schedules, invoicing, prices, and payments. Moreover, natural language processing and voice activated technologies allow users to interact by voice input, creating a seamless experience.

Streamline Internal Operations

Customer-facing chatbots are stealing the spotlight, but that hasn’t stopped enterprise bots from proving that they are versatile tools. Big enterprises can now streamline internal operations to cut down on paperwork and man hours spent on tasks that don’t generate revenue.

Enterprise chatbots are already being used in different departments, including human resources, finances, production, sales, customer service, and even purchasing. They help by creating reports, comparing prices, sending reminders, analyzing production outputs, and contributing to other vital areas.

Gather Feedback and Satisfaction Surveys

Businesses need to be aware of where they stand at all times, so having open feedback channels is critical for success. Moreover, you have to consider both external feedback that comes from your clients and internal responses from your employees. AI-powered enterprise chatbots can collect and organize surveys that will give you a good idea of where you stand with your customer base and how your team’s morale is doing.

Assist Your Sales Team

Your sales team is the engine of your enterprise, and you need to give it all the tools it needs to be successful. An enterprise chatbot can be a valuable tool for your sales team that can help them answer questions and find unique selling points for each service or product.

How to Build an Enterprise Chatbot

Although they have traditionally required extensive coding knowledge, you can now create an AI-powered enterprise chatbot in a matter of minutes thanks to platforms like Chattypeople. With Chattypeople you can create an AI-powered chatbot without any coding knowledge whatsoever, which you can then manage and optimize through their easy-to-use dashboard.

Building an enterprise chatbot requires a good amount of planning and precise execution. It’s important to remember that the first version you create will not probably be your last one, so you will most likely have to run through the creation process a few times before making it available to your team members

The first thing you have to do is set a tangible goal for your AI messaging solution. Ask yourself:

  • What department will my bot be serving?
  • What tasks take up most of my team’s time?
  • What is the most frequently asked question in the office?

Once you identify the purpose of your bot, you can start creating a list of features you would like it to include. Note that your team members will prefer a simple chatbot that can complete a few tasks rather than a complex bot that doesn’t work properly. Your bot’s artificial technology gives it the ability to learn with time, but you should start simple and give it more complicated tasks once it has mastered a few simple responsibilities.

Finally, you have to remember to optimize your bot similarly to how you would optimize a digital marketing campaign. There’s a huge array of metrics available so you can analyze each interaction, and make changes accordingly to increase user experience and overall performance.

Finally…

The impact of artificial intelligence in modern society is becoming more and more obvious every day. Implementing an AI-powered enterprise chatbot can help your company cut costs and improve productivity dramatically. By following the tips I outlined above you can set up and implement an enterprise chatbot efficiently and start harnessing the power of AI technology.

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The Data Value Chain Part 2: Steps for Monetizing Your Data By Rado Kotorov

geralt / Pixabay

In my last post, I wrote about the first three steps in transforming your information management strategy from one focused on data collection and analysis to an environment designed to have a positive impact on the bottom line. In this article, I’ll discuss the final two stages and outline some considerations for optimizing their impact.

To recap, organizations must first focus on data capture, data quality and integration and data enrichment. Once these steps have been addressed, companies can turn their attention to the next stages along the path:

4. Analytics

Once data units are established, organizations can begin to extract insights on what has happened in the past and what is possible moving forward. Analysis may reveal trends that can be capitalized on, bring to light hidden costs, or reveal new sales and revenue opportunities. Increasingly, organizations use data enrichment to understand why things happen or why consumers behave in certain ways, and with these insights, they create new revenue streams.

There are a number of considerations that must be made along the way. A company has to decide on the type of analytics they want to go after: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive. It also must decide on the presentation layer of analytics, how it will be communicated to end users: via a written report, interactive dashboard, analytical visualization, info application, etc.—or some combination of these. One type of presentation does not fit all use cases. Finally, the delivery vehicle for that information is important—will it find its way to the user through an online portal, a third party application, embedded in a third party application or some other way? Each of these three dimensions of analytics are critical parts of the planning process, as they affect how efficiently analytics can be used in decision-making.

5. Monetization

With analysis complete, you now have a data asset, which has the potential to be monetized. The insights—or “aha!” moments—derived from it point toward how those assets can be properly utilized and allow organizations to discover new opportunities, but by itself, insight is not sufficient for monetization. The opportunity that is illuminated needs to make its way into the market somehow, either by operationalizing it or making it available to external parties.

Support operational decision making – The first way to monetize data and analytics is via internal, easy-to-use apps that support decision making within the organization. Those apps are intended to drive fact-based decision making, in turn, changing employee behavior and driving higher levels of performance. These self-service apps are drastically different from traditional business intelligence software. The goal is not to enable employees to perform analysis themselves, but rather to provide factual answers to business questions quickly, based on the user’s role. This is why all the analysis has to be built into the app.

Consider Expedia.com; the site democratized travel booking by allowing its customers to acquire information about trips and prices quickly and without any need for training. This is a self-service model that others would be wise to imitate. Most organizations do not know how to leverage the insights they’re procuring to build an operational application, and thus are missing out on a significant opportunity.

Put data in customers’ hands – Packaging information as a consumer product is the second way to monetize data. We call this the consumerization of analytics. To do this though, organizations must make exceptional ease of use a priority.

Some organizations distribute great volumes of data to consumers in static PDF documents (like a financial statement), but in that format the consumer is powerless to do pretty much anything with the data. This is another missed opportunity. Providing in-document analytics that allow customers to filter information or easily manipulate the data empowers the consumer to make better decisions about their personal business, which in turn creates more revenue opportunities for the organization. For example, when utility companies distribute interactive statements, their customers can make “what if” analyses and decide whether to buy smart meters.

Now that we’ve covered the operational side of the Data Value Chain, let’s briefly address culture. The transition from data collection to monetization also requires a cultural change; this may be difficult, but it’s crucial to the success of an organization-wide initiative. Think, for example, of the omnipresence of taxi companies up until a few years ago. Major taxi companies have dispatch software in place to map the location of their cars, but they didn’t think to use this data in innovative ways—yet Uber did. It was an industry outsider—a startup with zero cars, but with a culture that promoted the value of data.

So, are you ready to turn your organization’s crude data into a monetizable business asset as well? By following the Data Value Chain approach, you can ensure that data projects are seen all the way through to monetization, without simply ending at the insights step.

If you don’t act on insights you glean from analysis, and monetize data, other companies will. It takes a methodology like this—and an organization-wide commitment to it—to remain ahead of the competition.

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Secrets That an iPhone App Developer Will Never Disclose About Wearable By Dina Destreza

Wearable technology is the new frontier for companies seeking to remain on the cutting edge of consumer technology. After witnessing the transformation from laptop to tablets and smartphones the next step to the evolution of technology are wearable devices and augmented realities. We have been truly blessed with the endowment of Apple wearable applications for next-gen wearable devices. When it comes to wearable technology, the wrist has proven to be the most attractive area for companies to target. Wearables will prove to be more than an iPhone on your wrist. The technology is such that everything that an iPhone can do can fit on your wrist in a compact casing.

ErikaWittlieb / Pixabay

In a nutshell, these wearables represent a great opportunity for app development as well. There are lots of potential gains while working with wearables. Building a top app for these devices can quickly get you in front if hundreds of millions of consumers with less competition. Wearables are an emerging trend today and will be the next big thing in the mobile world, which iPhone app developers are curious about. But today’s iPhone app developers can create apps for wearable technology as they know how to take the most out of this unique app development platform.

By 2018 the wearable technology market is expected to reach upwards to $12.6 billion.
Studies show that wearables can increase productivity by about 8.5%.

And it’s not just smartwatches, wristbands, and fitness trackers that will drive this growth. The latest wearable technology developments show potential applications for healthcare, virtual reality, IoT – the possibilities are endless. Apps related to wearables are changing the world, enriching people’s lives, and enabling iPhone app developers to innovate. As a result, the App Store has grown into an exciting and vibrant ecosystem for millions of iPhone app developers with more than a billion users.

Imagine that users can open their hotel room just with a tap of their watch or unlock their car without the need of key with their watch when they are in the vicinity of the car. Apple watch offers several useful features with its full-fledged apps; hence it has become a challenging task for iPhone app develops to create an effective Apple Watch app. With the help of these important tips, clients can make the Apple Watch App development successful. With some limitation and obstacles, using the expertise and knowledge of iOS app development, iPhone app developers can innovate the Apple Watch app. Developing for Apple Watch means providing app users with helpful and impactful information in the most convenient way.

Secrets to Success of Wearable App Development

Businesses are harnessing the power of these wearable devices by developing an innovative application for these wearable devices. As the wearable devices are very special in nature and have a specific segment of users, there are many challenges faced by the wearable iPhone app developers.

  1. Cautious about User Interface: For any device, UI UX designs are very important. The challenge with the wearable device is that it has a smaller screen size; hence iPhone app developers have to be very cautious about designing the wearable application. The best approach can be to emphasize the methods like passive data collection and speech focused commands.
  2. Cross Platform Support: To capture different users, make sure to develop a wearable application which can support all the platforms.
  3. Quick App Development and Launch: New devices are getting launched every day so if you want to achieve success, you have to be fast in your wearable app development and launch.

Wearables – The Next Inevitable Game-Changer in the Tech World

Thus we see that wearables are increasingly aiding business in improving profitability as well as altering consumer behavior. While the initial impact of wearables was on the average consumer, one cannot deny the impact on business practices. According to some researchers, wearables are the next big technology wave after mobile technology. Many businesses, particularly those providing field services, have already adopted wearables. From reliable healthcare apps to utility or business apps, iPhone app developers are delivering the best of wearable technology. Researchers believe that wearable technology is the next wave of computing which will augment the human experience, making people better at everything they do. These iPhone app developers provide customized, user-centric and business – aligned solutions.

Preparing Organizations for Enterprise Wearable

The true value of wearables lies in the line-of-business and workflow applications that enable operational employees real-time, hands-free access to business-critical information needed to do their jobs. In order to successfully deliver this context-sensitive information at the right time and place, it’s imperative that wearable deployments easily integrate with existing enterprise systems. Bestowed with a skilled team of iPhone app developers can develop Apple watch applications that ensure technology is closer and usable than before.

This could be anything from smart glasses to the drill of an oil rig, it will not only be able to connect to your corporate network but also generate a massive amount of data – thus improvising productivity, automation, agility, customer experience and security. In fact, more than half of new business processes and systems can leverage wearable technology to use it for the benefit of enterprises.

Key Facts About Wearable Technology

Apple Watch is a major tool for productivity. iPhone app developers work on solutions which seamlessly connects users to their calendars, maps, reminders, to-do list, which keeps them on track and on time. Apple has envisioned endless ways app can enhance leisure and travel experiences with notifications allowing users to detect their hotel rooms, order food, check-in flight, collect bags and much more.

Wearable technology is gaining momentum with constantly evolving and compelling use cases, from devices that monitor health and fitness in real time, to technology that improves workplace productivity. There is a huge potential for this market to continue to grow and change our lives as consumers weigh in on the features they want. This is only achievable because of iPhone app developers, who have worked on numerous successful wearable app development projects. Bottom line, iPhone app developers will be moving their focus on from smartphones to wearable device applications for enterprise and other industries.

Gauging the Impact of Wearables

Wearable technology has many potential uses in the business world. However, businessmen hesitate before investing in these technologies because of concerns regarding safety, security, and reliability. Today’s teams of talented, experienced iPhone app developers are dedicated to offering you robust Apple Watch Apps development services. As the wearable products mature and the prices are reduced by the forces of demand and supply, wearables will definitely be the next big technology to hit the market after tablets and smartphones. Despite how young the wearable industry is as a whole, it’s rapid growth has fueled innovation and fostered dialogue among new companies which are doing exciting things with these devices, as well as many thought leaders.

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Subscription-Based Apps: Pros, Cons, and How to Make the Big Bucks By Megan Marrs

Paid subscription is just one of many app revenue models, but subscription-based apps have become increasingly more popular and prevalent in recent years.

In this revenue model, when users subscribe, they’ll pay you a monthly fee for access to your app. In exchange, subscription apps must work to retain their customers by continuing to offer new and incentivizing features.

Today we’re exploring why subscription based apps have become the new revenue model favorite, and what makes this type of app so successful (as well as challenging).

Benefits of Subscription App Models: Why Devs Love ‘Em

spotify subscription.jpg

Apple Adores Them and Offers Big Bonus

Seeing the trend and popularity of subscription apps, last year Apple introduced a change in the App Store that emphasizes app subscription business models over others by offering developers an 85/15 revenue split (rather than the standard 70/30 split) for subscriptions lasting over a year.

Basically, Apple wants to reward you for keeping a customer for a longer period of time.

This extra cut of the App Store pie is a pretty huge deal for app developers, leading those who were on the fence about subscription-based apps to give this revenue model a closer look.

Subscription-Based Apps See Great Revenue

The additional App Store revenue isn’t the only financial benefit of the app subscription structure. Subscription-based apps tend to see higher revenue per user than apps with other business models.

One VisionMobile study showed that subscription-based apps earned 2-3 times more per user than apps that relied on advertising or a pay-to-download model, while also earning nearly 50% more than apps relying on in-app purchases for revenue.

Subscription Apps Result in More Reliable Income

Subscription-based apps offer a very nice, steady source of reliable income, especially compared to other app revenue models.

When you know your revenue per user, and can trust that your cash flow will grow with each additional new user you acquire, you can sleep a bit better at night.

This trust in your revenue flow allows apps to be more confident in their marketing efforts and in planning major feature upgrades that can be developed without constant fear of things collapsing.

Mobile apps relying on subscriptions also have the added bonus of even more predictable, reliable income by offering discounts for longer subscription periods.

Many apps will offer discounts for users who commit to 6 or 12 month subscriptions. It’s a win-win for everyone; users love saving money and will often opt for the lower price plan with the extended commitment, and app developers can make reliable revenue projections. The benefit of knowing that at least a portion of your user base will be paying you for the next 6 or 12 months usually far outweighs any money lost through the discounted rate.

Being able to offer discounted subscriptions also offers apps some unique retention options. If a user churns or unsubscribes from your app, you may be able to rope users back in by providing their future monthly subscriptions at a discount.

I’ve myself have had this offer given to me when unsubscribing from a few monthly services and the discount often convinces me to stay put!

Subscription Based Apps Results in More Engaged Audience

The subscription app model also provides a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.

Maintaining app engagement is a huge challenge for many apps, but it tends to be easier for subscription apps since users are more actively invested in making sure they get as much out of your app as they can.

When people pay to subscribe to your app, they’ll use the app more often because they want to make sure they get their money’s worth! Since users are paying for your subscription each and every month, they feel obligated to use your app, resulting in a more engaged audience.

Of course it’s your job to foster that engagement and make sure that users have interesting, rewarding experiences each time they choose to engage with your app. If users don’t feel they are getting enough value from your app, they’ll unsubscribe as soon as they can.

Challenges of the App Subscription Model

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While there are many benefits to the app subscription model, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are certain challenges that go with this revenue stream as well.

You Need to Continuously be Providing New Features and Content

Since users are paying you a monthly, recurring fee, they’ll expect more than they would for a one-off app payment. When you’re asking your users to pay you each month for access to your app, you’re really obligated to continuously provide new content and/or features for your user.

It’s essential that you make it clear to your users that you’re in this for the long haul! Consistent updates and bug fixes are no brainers, and while you don’t need to release a new build every week, your app needs to be stable and you’ll need to continue to adopt new, impressive features to excite your paying customers.

It’s also smart to make sure you’re getting in touch with your users regularly to remind them of all the great new stuff you’ve launched.

Personalization can help a ton with keeping users happy and satisfied with your app’s value – keep tabs on what kinds of content or which features an individual user frequents the most, then make sure to send a push notification and email when you launch updates that will connect with their specific interests.

Onboarding / Free Trial Period is Vital and May Require Tweaking

Users need to be properly onboarded to understand the true value of your app (and why they should continue paying for access to your app each month). Attention really needs to be given to making sure users can get up and running without too many roadblocks.

Subscription apps also often struggle with figuring out how to best handle the user trial period. Most users will need some kind of temporary access to your premium content in order to be convinced of subscription on a per month basis.

All apps do this differently – for some, the first week or even month is free. Spotify offers their premium service for 99 cents for the first month. Hulu offers two weeks of their streaming service for new sign ups. Figuring out the precise amount of time users need to get won over by your service can be tough.

With other apps, certain features can be used for free indefinitely, but the higher value benefits being for the paying customers.

As noted in a fantastic Medium post by Adrian Hon, the creator of the app Zombies, Run:

“No-one can tell you how much you should offer for free or for how long, and even A/B testing has its limits…The important thing is that new users have to understand the value your app holds, and they can only do that by trying it out, sometimes for a long time, if they use it infrequently.”

Subscription Apps Need Great Support

Solid support is ideal for all apps, but it’s certainly more important for some than others.

With single purchase apps, users are more likely to buy the app and never get in touch again. However, subscription buyers will expect to get their money’s worth, and they’ll want a decent level of service for their dollar.

Support teams can be pricey, but since subscription apps result in more engaging, active users, support will be essential. The good news is that the recurring revenue from the subscription-committed users can help fund your support team. And having a great support team means that your users are more likely to stick around and not churn.

If Transitioning to a Subscription Model, You May Get Some Backlash

Launching your app with a subscription-based revenue model is one thing, but transitioning from a one-time fee to a monthly charge can result in some serious backlash from existing users.

To once again quote Adrian Hon of the Zombies, Run fitness app, Hon recalls how outraged some users were when they changed to a subscription model and notes:

“A shitstorm erupted, mostly on our subreddit, in which we were accused of being ‘greedy devs’. Attempts to politely engage were consistently rebuffed. It was incredibly stressful and disheartening.”

What’s crazy is that Zombies, Run actually took great care of their existing players, who received all content and features developed up to that point in time for free, plus a discounted subscription option for future content.

Still, some people really hate change, and some individuals raged hard.

I was a Zombies, Run user when this transition went down, and I have to say, it was a bit confusing, and I stopped using the app for a while because I didn’t quite understand what I had access to and what I didn’t.

When making a transition from a single fee to a subscription app model, make sure to be clear with customers and treat them well. After all, it’s your existing user base who will help get new fans on board, so don’t be stingy with them!

Which Types of App Succeed at the Subscription Model?

While nearly any apps can attempt a subscription model, they tend to be better suited towards certain types of apps:

  • Content apps. Recurring subscriptions in exchange for new content is a tried and true business method that’s already been successful offline for years – magazines and newspapers being the most obvious examples. This works well for digital content as well, whether it be news articles, music, or video content.
  • Service Apps. The category of “service apps” is a pretty huge umbrella covering a wide variety of apps, from digital storage to social scheduling. Productivity apps like Todoist, Evernote, and LastPass are more examples of service apps. However, subscription-based apps can’t simply release a great service and then update the app occasionally – you’ll need to commit to regular product updates that will truly wow users.

Where the Subscription App Model Won’t Work As Well

  • Single Purpose Apps. Apps designed for specific, small solutions probably won’t have enough value to justify asking for recurring monthly payments. For example, alarm clock apps or dictionary apps.
  • Gaming Apps. I have yet to see many gaming apps successfully pull off a subscription-based model. While some more massive console or PC games require subscriptions, they also regularly release huge upgrades and additional content. Most gaming apps prefer instead to rely on in-game micro transactions for revenue.
  • Shopping Apps. If users are utilizing your app as a gateway to purchasing products, you can’t really ask them to pay a monthly fee as well (unless that fee provides some additional discounts, free shipping, or other major bonuses).

Ultimately, subscription-based apps offer a very powerful and reliable revenue stream that’s attractive for many app developers. However, you’ll need to make sure you can provide plenty of new features and/or fresh content over time, along with great support, to really make this model work for you.

Have you considered a subscription-based model for your app? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

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Subscription-Based Apps: Pros, Cons, and How to Make the Big Bucks By Megan Marrs

Paid subscription is just one of many app revenue models, but subscription-based apps have become increasingly more popular and prevalent in recent years.

In this revenue model, when users subscribe, they’ll pay you a monthly fee for access to your app. In exchange, subscription apps must work to retain their customers by continuing to offer new and incentivizing features.

Today we’re exploring why subscription based apps have become the new revenue model favorite, and what makes this type of app so successful (as well as challenging).

Benefits of Subscription App Models: Why Devs Love ‘Em

spotify subscription.jpg

Apple Adores Them and Offers Big Bonus

Seeing the trend and popularity of subscription apps, last year Apple introduced a change in the App Store that emphasizes app subscription business models over others by offering developers an 85/15 revenue split (rather than the standard 70/30 split) for subscriptions lasting over a year.

Basically, Apple wants to reward you for keeping a customer for a longer period of time.

This extra cut of the App Store pie is a pretty huge deal for app developers, leading those who were on the fence about subscription-based apps to give this revenue model a closer look.

Subscription-Based Apps See Great Revenue

The additional App Store revenue isn’t the only financial benefit of the app subscription structure. Subscription-based apps tend to see higher revenue per user than apps with other business models.

One VisionMobile study showed that subscription-based apps earned 2-3 times more per user than apps that relied on advertising or a pay-to-download model, while also earning nearly 50% more than apps relying on in-app purchases for revenue.

Subscription Apps Result in More Reliable Income

Subscription-based apps offer a very nice, steady source of reliable income, especially compared to other app revenue models.

When you know your revenue per user, and can trust that your cash flow will grow with each additional new user you acquire, you can sleep a bit better at night.

This trust in your revenue flow allows apps to be more confident in their marketing efforts and in planning major feature upgrades that can be developed without constant fear of things collapsing.

Mobile apps relying on subscriptions also have the added bonus of even more predictable, reliable income by offering discounts for longer subscription periods.

Many apps will offer discounts for users who commit to 6 or 12 month subscriptions. It’s a win-win for everyone; users love saving money and will often opt for the lower price plan with the extended commitment, and app developers can make reliable revenue projections. The benefit of knowing that at least a portion of your user base will be paying you for the next 6 or 12 months usually far outweighs any money lost through the discounted rate.

Being able to offer discounted subscriptions also offers apps some unique retention options. If a user churns or unsubscribes from your app, you may be able to rope users back in by providing their future monthly subscriptions at a discount.

I’ve myself have had this offer given to me when unsubscribing from a few monthly services and the discount often convinces me to stay put!

Subscription Based Apps Results in More Engaged Audience

The subscription app model also provides a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.

Maintaining app engagement is a huge challenge for many apps, but it tends to be easier for subscription apps since users are more actively invested in making sure they get as much out of your app as they can.

When people pay to subscribe to your app, they’ll use the app more often because they want to make sure they get their money’s worth! Since users are paying for your subscription each and every month, they feel obligated to use your app, resulting in a more engaged audience.

Of course it’s your job to foster that engagement and make sure that users have interesting, rewarding experiences each time they choose to engage with your app. If users don’t feel they are getting enough value from your app, they’ll unsubscribe as soon as they can.

Challenges of the App Subscription Model

newspaper-1595773_640.jpg

While there are many benefits to the app subscription model, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are certain challenges that go with this revenue stream as well.

You Need to Continuously be Providing New Features and Content

Since users are paying you a monthly, recurring fee, they’ll expect more than they would for a one-off app payment. When you’re asking your users to pay you each month for access to your app, you’re really obligated to continuously provide new content and/or features for your user.

It’s essential that you make it clear to your users that you’re in this for the long haul! Consistent updates and bug fixes are no brainers, and while you don’t need to release a new build every week, your app needs to be stable and you’ll need to continue to adopt new, impressive features to excite your paying customers.

It’s also smart to make sure you’re getting in touch with your users regularly to remind them of all the great new stuff you’ve launched.

Personalization can help a ton with keeping users happy and satisfied with your app’s value – keep tabs on what kinds of content or which features an individual user frequents the most, then make sure to send a push notification and email when you launch updates that will connect with their specific interests.

Onboarding / Free Trial Period is Vital and May Require Tweaking

Users need to be properly onboarded to understand the true value of your app (and why they should continue paying for access to your app each month). Attention really needs to be given to making sure users can get up and running without too many roadblocks.

Subscription apps also often struggle with figuring out how to best handle the user trial period. Most users will need some kind of temporary access to your premium content in order to be convinced of subscription on a per month basis.

All apps do this differently – for some, the first week or even month is free. Spotify offers their premium service for 99 cents for the first month. Hulu offers two weeks of their streaming service for new sign ups. Figuring out the precise amount of time users need to get won over by your service can be tough.

With other apps, certain features can be used for free indefinitely, but the higher value benefits being for the paying customers.

As noted in a fantastic Medium post by Adrian Hon, the creator of the app Zombies, Run:

“No-one can tell you how much you should offer for free or for how long, and even A/B testing has its limits…The important thing is that new users have to understand the value your app holds, and they can only do that by trying it out, sometimes for a long time, if they use it infrequently.”

Subscription Apps Need Great Support

Solid support is ideal for all apps, but it’s certainly more important for some than others.

With single purchase apps, users are more likely to buy the app and never get in touch again. However, subscription buyers will expect to get their money’s worth, and they’ll want a decent level of service for their dollar.

Support teams can be pricey, but since subscription apps result in more engaging, active users, support will be essential. The good news is that the recurring revenue from the subscription-committed users can help fund your support team. And having a great support team means that your users are more likely to stick around and not churn.

If Transitioning to a Subscription Model, You May Get Some Backlash

Launching your app with a subscription-based revenue model is one thing, but transitioning from a one-time fee to a monthly charge can result in some serious backlash from existing users.

To once again quote Adrian Hon of the Zombies, Run fitness app, Hon recalls how outraged some users were when they changed to a subscription model and notes:

“A shitstorm erupted, mostly on our subreddit, in which we were accused of being ‘greedy devs’. Attempts to politely engage were consistently rebuffed. It was incredibly stressful and disheartening.”

What’s crazy is that Zombies, Run actually took great care of their existing players, who received all content and features developed up to that point in time for free, plus a discounted subscription option for future content.

Still, some people really hate change, and some individuals raged hard.

I was a Zombies, Run user when this transition went down, and I have to say, it was a bit confusing, and I stopped using the app for a while because I didn’t quite understand what I had access to and what I didn’t.

When making a transition from a single fee to a subscription app model, make sure to be clear with customers and treat them well. After all, it’s your existing user base who will help get new fans on board, so don’t be stingy with them!

Which Types of App Succeed at the Subscription Model?

While nearly any apps can attempt a subscription model, they tend to be better suited towards certain types of apps:

  • Content apps. Recurring subscriptions in exchange for new content is a tried and true business method that’s already been successful offline for years – magazines and newspapers being the most obvious examples. This works well for digital content as well, whether it be news articles, music, or video content.
  • Service Apps. The category of “service apps” is a pretty huge umbrella covering a wide variety of apps, from digital storage to social scheduling. Productivity apps like Todoist, Evernote, and LastPass are more examples of service apps. However, subscription-based apps can’t simply release a great service and then update the app occasionally – you’ll need to commit to regular product updates that will truly wow users.

Where the Subscription App Model Won’t Work As Well

  • Single Purpose Apps. Apps designed for specific, small solutions probably won’t have enough value to justify asking for recurring monthly payments. For example, alarm clock apps or dictionary apps.
  • Gaming Apps. I have yet to see many gaming apps successfully pull off a subscription-based model. While some more massive console or PC games require subscriptions, they also regularly release huge upgrades and additional content. Most gaming apps prefer instead to rely on in-game micro transactions for revenue.
  • Shopping Apps. If users are utilizing your app as a gateway to purchasing products, you can’t really ask them to pay a monthly fee as well (unless that fee provides some additional discounts, free shipping, or other major bonuses).

Ultimately, subscription-based apps offer a very powerful and reliable revenue stream that’s attractive for many app developers. However, you’ll need to make sure you can provide plenty of new features and/or fresh content over time, along with great support, to really make this model work for you.

Have you considered a subscription-based model for your app? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2uZHrRf

Subscription-Based Apps: Pros, Cons, and How to Make the Big Bucks By Megan Marrs

Paid subscription is just one of many app revenue models, but subscription-based apps have become increasingly more popular and prevalent in recent years.

In this revenue model, when users subscribe, they’ll pay you a monthly fee for access to your app. In exchange, subscription apps must work to retain their customers by continuing to offer new and incentivizing features.

Today we’re exploring why subscription based apps have become the new revenue model favorite, and what makes this type of app so successful (as well as challenging).

Benefits of Subscription App Models: Why Devs Love ‘Em

spotify subscription.jpg

Apple Adores Them and Offers Big Bonus

Seeing the trend and popularity of subscription apps, last year Apple introduced a change in the App Store that emphasizes app subscription business models over others by offering developers an 85/15 revenue split (rather than the standard 70/30 split) for subscriptions lasting over a year.

Basically, Apple wants to reward you for keeping a customer for a longer period of time.

This extra cut of the App Store pie is a pretty huge deal for app developers, leading those who were on the fence about subscription-based apps to give this revenue model a closer look.

Subscription-Based Apps See Great Revenue

The additional App Store revenue isn’t the only financial benefit of the app subscription structure. Subscription-based apps tend to see higher revenue per user than apps with other business models.

One VisionMobile study showed that subscription-based apps earned 2-3 times more per user than apps that relied on advertising or a pay-to-download model, while also earning nearly 50% more than apps relying on in-app purchases for revenue.

Subscription Apps Result in More Reliable Income

Subscription-based apps offer a very nice, steady source of reliable income, especially compared to other app revenue models.

When you know your revenue per user, and can trust that your cash flow will grow with each additional new user you acquire, you can sleep a bit better at night.

This trust in your revenue flow allows apps to be more confident in their marketing efforts and in planning major feature upgrades that can be developed without constant fear of things collapsing.

Mobile apps relying on subscriptions also have the added bonus of even more predictable, reliable income by offering discounts for longer subscription periods.

Many apps will offer discounts for users who commit to 6 or 12 month subscriptions. It’s a win-win for everyone; users love saving money and will often opt for the lower price plan with the extended commitment, and app developers can make reliable revenue projections. The benefit of knowing that at least a portion of your user base will be paying you for the next 6 or 12 months usually far outweighs any money lost through the discounted rate.

Being able to offer discounted subscriptions also offers apps some unique retention options. If a user churns or unsubscribes from your app, you may be able to rope users back in by providing their future monthly subscriptions at a discount.

I’ve myself have had this offer given to me when unsubscribing from a few monthly services and the discount often convinces me to stay put!

Subscription Based Apps Results in More Engaged Audience

The subscription app model also provides a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.

Maintaining app engagement is a huge challenge for many apps, but it tends to be easier for subscription apps since users are more actively invested in making sure they get as much out of your app as they can.

When people pay to subscribe to your app, they’ll use the app more often because they want to make sure they get their money’s worth! Since users are paying for your subscription each and every month, they feel obligated to use your app, resulting in a more engaged audience.

Of course it’s your job to foster that engagement and make sure that users have interesting, rewarding experiences each time they choose to engage with your app. If users don’t feel they are getting enough value from your app, they’ll unsubscribe as soon as they can.

Challenges of the App Subscription Model

newspaper-1595773_640.jpg

While there are many benefits to the app subscription model, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are certain challenges that go with this revenue stream as well.

You Need to Continuously be Providing New Features and Content

Since users are paying you a monthly, recurring fee, they’ll expect more than they would for a one-off app payment. When you’re asking your users to pay you each month for access to your app, you’re really obligated to continuously provide new content and/or features for your user.

It’s essential that you make it clear to your users that you’re in this for the long haul! Consistent updates and bug fixes are no brainers, and while you don’t need to release a new build every week, your app needs to be stable and you’ll need to continue to adopt new, impressive features to excite your paying customers.

It’s also smart to make sure you’re getting in touch with your users regularly to remind them of all the great new stuff you’ve launched.

Personalization can help a ton with keeping users happy and satisfied with your app’s value – keep tabs on what kinds of content or which features an individual user frequents the most, then make sure to send a push notification and email when you launch updates that will connect with their specific interests.

Onboarding / Free Trial Period is Vital and May Require Tweaking

Users need to be properly onboarded to understand the true value of your app (and why they should continue paying for access to your app each month). Attention really needs to be given to making sure users can get up and running without too many roadblocks.

Subscription apps also often struggle with figuring out how to best handle the user trial period. Most users will need some kind of temporary access to your premium content in order to be convinced of subscription on a per month basis.

All apps do this differently – for some, the first week or even month is free. Spotify offers their premium service for 99 cents for the first month. Hulu offers two weeks of their streaming service for new sign ups. Figuring out the precise amount of time users need to get won over by your service can be tough.

With other apps, certain features can be used for free indefinitely, but the higher value benefits being for the paying customers.

As noted in a fantastic Medium post by Adrian Hon, the creator of the app Zombies, Run:

“No-one can tell you how much you should offer for free or for how long, and even A/B testing has its limits…The important thing is that new users have to understand the value your app holds, and they can only do that by trying it out, sometimes for a long time, if they use it infrequently.”

Subscription Apps Need Great Support

Solid support is ideal for all apps, but it’s certainly more important for some than others.

With single purchase apps, users are more likely to buy the app and never get in touch again. However, subscription buyers will expect to get their money’s worth, and they’ll want a decent level of service for their dollar.

Support teams can be pricey, but since subscription apps result in more engaging, active users, support will be essential. The good news is that the recurring revenue from the subscription-committed users can help fund your support team. And having a great support team means that your users are more likely to stick around and not churn.

If Transitioning to a Subscription Model, You May Get Some Backlash

Launching your app with a subscription-based revenue model is one thing, but transitioning from a one-time fee to a monthly charge can result in some serious backlash from existing users.

To once again quote Adrian Hon of the Zombies, Run fitness app, Hon recalls how outraged some users were when they changed to a subscription model and notes:

“A shitstorm erupted, mostly on our subreddit, in which we were accused of being ‘greedy devs’. Attempts to politely engage were consistently rebuffed. It was incredibly stressful and disheartening.”

What’s crazy is that Zombies, Run actually took great care of their existing players, who received all content and features developed up to that point in time for free, plus a discounted subscription option for future content.

Still, some people really hate change, and some individuals raged hard.

I was a Zombies, Run user when this transition went down, and I have to say, it was a bit confusing, and I stopped using the app for a while because I didn’t quite understand what I had access to and what I didn’t.

When making a transition from a single fee to a subscription app model, make sure to be clear with customers and treat them well. After all, it’s your existing user base who will help get new fans on board, so don’t be stingy with them!

Which Types of App Succeed at the Subscription Model?

While nearly any apps can attempt a subscription model, they tend to be better suited towards certain types of apps:

  • Content apps. Recurring subscriptions in exchange for new content is a tried and true business method that’s already been successful offline for years – magazines and newspapers being the most obvious examples. This works well for digital content as well, whether it be news articles, music, or video content.
  • Service Apps. The category of “service apps” is a pretty huge umbrella covering a wide variety of apps, from digital storage to social scheduling. Productivity apps like Todoist, Evernote, and LastPass are more examples of service apps. However, subscription-based apps can’t simply release a great service and then update the app occasionally – you’ll need to commit to regular product updates that will truly wow users.

Where the Subscription App Model Won’t Work As Well

  • Single Purpose Apps. Apps designed for specific, small solutions probably won’t have enough value to justify asking for recurring monthly payments. For example, alarm clock apps or dictionary apps.
  • Gaming Apps. I have yet to see many gaming apps successfully pull off a subscription-based model. While some more massive console or PC games require subscriptions, they also regularly release huge upgrades and additional content. Most gaming apps prefer instead to rely on in-game micro transactions for revenue.
  • Shopping Apps. If users are utilizing your app as a gateway to purchasing products, you can’t really ask them to pay a monthly fee as well (unless that fee provides some additional discounts, free shipping, or other major bonuses).

Ultimately, subscription-based apps offer a very powerful and reliable revenue stream that’s attractive for many app developers. However, you’ll need to make sure you can provide plenty of new features and/or fresh content over time, along with great support, to really make this model work for you.

Have you considered a subscription-based model for your app? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2uZHrRf