Why has the app changed to a subscription?

Going back to a free app with in-app subscription has the following benefits to users of the app:

  • Try before you buy. You can try out the functionality of the app without paying a penny and only pay if you want to subscribe. Previously you had to pay full price for the app based only on the description you see in the app store

  • A single subscription can be shared within a household across different handsets including Android and iPhone/iPad. Previously you would have had to buy it again on each platform.

  • Changing your phone between iPhone and Android, you can now transfer your GBG subscription to the new phone. Previously you would have had to buy it again.

  • You always have access to information from the latest guide. Previously if you bought the app in August just before the new edition is published in September, you were stuck with last year's edition unless you paid again. Pubs are closing or changing very quickly. Around 30% of the pubs in GBG change each year, the number of breweries increased by 25% in the last year. Using an out of date edition is not very helpful if you travel to a real ale pub only to find it is now a gastro pub or even worse a Tesco Direct store!

  • We can now offer discounted and free subscriptions. In 2012 for example everyone who is a member of the CAMRA Privilege club got a voucher for a free 6 month subscription. In the future we hope to offer discounted subscriptions to CAMRA members, and to people renewing a subscription. This would have been impossible with a paid app.

Prior to 2010, the Good Beer Guide Mobile was an annual subscription service, where the app was free for 7 days and then you bought a subscription from within the app. However when Apple launched iTunes, this model was against their terms and conditions, so after a few different trials we changed it to being a paid app to get access to one edition of the Good Beer Guide. However we received bad reviews such as:

  • "I just bought the app of last year's edition last month, where is my free upgrade!": This was impossible under the paid app mechanism. This is now not a problem because you always have the latest edition regardless when you bought it.

  • "I have upgraded my phone between iPhone and Android, how do I transfer my subscription": This was impossible under the paid app mechanism as the subscription was specific to either iTunes or Google-Play. Now all you have to do is sign in with the email/password you registered with GBG Mobile.