Open Letter: Worth more than "Free"

2009-07-23 20:00:00 -0400

An irate user sent us an email today about Strip, our iPhone data vault software. She wasn’t mad about a bug, or a missing feature. She was upset that we were charging money for it.

I am highly annoyed that your company would jump from a free app to a $9.99 app with such a limited number of entries. No, I will not be upgrading.

We don’t take this kind of feedback personally, but do feel it warrants a response. We decided to reply in an open letter explaining the motivation behind our software pricing.

Dear Customer,

I’m very sorry to hear that you’re upset about the charge associated with upgrading Strip. The App Store is filled with inexpensive applications: some of these are low quality, hastily developed, and quickly released. Hopefully you recognize through your evaluation that Strip doesn’t fall into that category.

Strip took 6 months for our team to build and represented a big investment for our company. We spent countless hours refining the design and adding features to make it easy and pleasing to use. Working with a large group of beta testers delayed our release but ensured the application was stable and high quality. It took months for us to wade through documentation and approval with the US Government to have Strip’s encryption classified for mass market release. On top of this we continue to provide support, bug fixes when problems occur, and new feature updates. We even released our secure database library as open source software to the community so that other developers can use it.

Strip Lite is as an opportunity for everyone to try the software without purchasing it first. That’s also why the description in the App Store clearly explains that the Lite version is an evaluation limited to a small number of records.

We are a small business that builds software. We have employees and families, and our objective is to make money. Our software, and the time that we spend building it, is worth more than “Free”. It’s worth more than $0.99 cents-a-pop, too.

What’s more, the vast majority of our customers agree. We have a growing community of active users that were happy to purchase a quality piece of software at a reasonable price.

The decision to upgrade or stop using Strip is entirely yours, but I really hope you will reconsider its value. Thanks so much for your time.



Zetetic is the creator of the encrypted iPhone data vault and password manager Strip and the open source encryption-enhanced database engine SQLCipher.

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