In-app purchases: once again & new ideas?

Hi there,

I know there’s already been too many posts asking for when we’ll get the IAP for Thunkable – and naturally for a good reason. It would just be sweet to, for example, have an easy way to enable subscriptions to your app. A steady stream of revenue might also help us developers to upgrade our accounts to higher pro tiers with the platform. :slight_smile: :wink:

In any case, I just wanted to ask, first of all, and once again, if we have any newer update as to when this feature would be coming to Thunkable.

But besides this usual stuff, I just wanted to ask if you have any ideas as to how to implement such subscriptions otherwise. Things have changed a bit lately and Apple for example has had to back off a bit in this regard. It seems that it’s not that clear cut anymore that everything has to be IAP. Furthermore, for example, if you think of Thunkable in itself – I’ve paid for it outside the app store and here I am using the app, which asks me to login with my paid subscription (again, paid elsewhere). So how is this possible? I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, good for Thunkable, but could I use the same route myself too – to implement IAP before it’s available on Thunkable and also to avoid the cut the app stores are taking from the sale?

Any ideas anyone? Or from the team? @domhnallohanlon for example?

In any case, thank you again for Thunkable. I really love the platform, but I must admit the monetization is really the biggest challenge at the moment. Developers still got to eat, you know. :slight_smile:

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Is there a Thunkable app (apple or Android) with subscription?

I have not seen it myself. It would be nice to show an example. The only paid subscription I know is a web platform which is the development platform itself but the companion apps are free to download.

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I meant that the Thunkable development platform (the platform itself, not any app developed with Thunkable) works exactly in the way that the mandatory IAP requirement is trying to prevent – it charges users outside of app stores for their subscriptions and then enables functionality in the app based on this. However, as I was just browsing the App Store terms, it might be the case that Thunkable falls under a special free companion app category (at least for Apple so).

Nevertheless, the point was that if you think of some examples of real-life apps it’s not that clear cut that everything that’s happening inside the app should be processed IAP (or at least offered a possiblity for this). The classic example is Netflix, which has naturally got the attention from Apple. With Netflix you (at least usually) pay for the service outside of app stores and then, still, you download an app from the stores and use the full features with your paid account – something that shouldn’t really happen according to the IAP policies.

All in all, I was just wondering what are the actual policies in this regard, as it seems a bit unclear at the end of the day, and could we as developers somehow use this information to enable paid content within our Thunkable apps, at least before IAP becomes available on Thunkable.

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I have to apps (developed for clients) that charges users using external payment gateways from the app because the product does not full under the category of electronic products to be purchased by IAP.

One of my clients is selling discount cards in Bahrain and the products works well in both Android and iPhone and the purchases are being processed by Bab Al-Bahrain Gateway (a payment gateway for Bahrain.

What we are waiting for Thunkable to make available is subscription in the app itself. I am developing an app to share teachers’ notes with students for revision. The product is basically files and notes in Firebase and require a subscription for students to enjoy the services provided by the teachers. In this context, both Google and Apple do not allow external payment gateways and I’m forced to wait for IAP feature.

Hope this makes things clearer.

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Yeah, I pretty much have the same situation and it would really help me to get going if IAP was implemented on Thunkable. But my point was that content like Netflix should pretty much fall under the same IAP rules but it always doesn’t and would be nice to know if there is some gray area that we could utilize before getting the real IAP possiblities with Thunkable.

So, it really boils down to how something is defined as in-app content. Let’s say I’d offer the app for free but mention there that you can visit my website and buy additional features, like support, or personal tutoring to supplement a learning app, which wouldn’t directly change the behavior of the app but would naturally enhance the user experience. Then the question is if this is in-app content or totally unrelated content, and how you can tell about it on the app. I’m not saying this is my particular challenge but just an illustration that there might some room for interpretation here.

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i got your point @ethosworkfi. Apple is increasingly strict with these regulations. I think many of us are waiting for the IAP feature in thunkable.

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Yeah, now we only need the IAP component to be added to Thunkable. Easy… :wink:

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking that maybe I could create a Patreon community page to accompany the app and use subscriptions there. I’d try to offer all kinds of extra content / interaction etc. through this. Don’t know how successful this will be, but got to try something. :slight_smile:

Long story short, after researching things, it seems that the Patreon doesn’t work either, unless it’s about personal interaction (and not some kind of community) – at least if it connects with the app in any meaningful way. Yeah, it’s pretty much IAP or nothing. :expressionless:

But what still seems a bit unclear is how much you can utilize your user base to send them messages such as e-mail about outside services that are standalone as Patreon community would be, at least if you think it this way, i.e. as standalone. Awh. This is hard (confusing).

So, if others are interested, after putting things together, it seems that you can, for example, use Patreon the way I suggested. So if you have a user database with e-mails (or some other means of contacting users outside the app), you can do it and suggest them to sign up to, say, Patreon. Then you do there whatever you want as long as it doesn’t directly connect back to the app. For example have monthly subscriptions.

So, let’s say you have an app that catalogs old cars and lets users to submit their own cars for others to see. Fine. But you could also have a Patreon community where people could continue to interact around this theme – gettings updates on the theme, discussing, voting, what have you. That’s a different service and doesn’t really affect the way the app functions, so it should be OK. Apple can’t control everything in our lives, after all…

It’s not really ideal but a way that could work. A bonus is that you’d be building a community at the same time.

However, the truth is, also, that we just need IAP. It would allow us to build apps along the usual lines. I’m wondering why is it so hard for Thunkable to implement it as it would be a really kick-ass feature and at the end of the day it’s only a feature among many others. But I stop here. :slight_smile:

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Another way is to create two apps, one with limited features and you publish it as a free app and the other with all features and it is a paid app.

This way you get away with one time payment but would not work for subscription kind of payment.

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Hi,
i was really struggling with IAP too, to be fair i think they (Thunkable) are doing the max they can as it’d be a massive income for them too.

I found a walkaround, it worked for a bit, but for what i have done, it wasn’t worth, so i just put my app on selling.
Even though, i’d like to share it.

Through my Paypal account i set a Subscription, you can do it for free.
If my app users want to upgrade, they click a button and they are lead to a Airtable Form page where there are boxes to fill of: name, surname, paypal account mail, paypal direct link to subscription, attachment (screenshot of payment).
Everything is written in a super-clear way, like a step-by-step guide.

When i receive the mail that indicates someone has filled the form, or just a mail from Paypal that someone has signed the subscription, i collect the user’s mail (need Authentication component) which not always is the same of paypal’s mail from the form and add it to a special Airtable’s table.
Of course the user knows that it might take up to 2 days before his request is accepted, as i need to do it manually.

On screen opens, if the user’s mail is in this table, then…

Again, this is how it was nearly 1 year ago, havent tried it since.
I’m sure there are better and faster ways.

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Hi @ethosworkfi, Cass from the Thunkable team here!

We’re also very excited about IAP. We are closer to releasing it to everyone than you think :slight_smile: Currently, we have released it to our business and enterprise clients, and undergoing some rigorous tests with a small group of users.

If you are interested in helping us test and giving us feedback, we are happy to have you.

Please send me a private message if you’d like to join!

Best,
Cass

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Hi! This is absolutely great news, thank you! Will send you a PM.

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