Great news for content creators finding success with apps! Google Play will now let you create a free trial within a subscription app.Unlike Apple, Google’s rules are surprisingly merchant-friendly. For starters, Google Play (formerly the Android store) will require prospects to enter a credit card when signing up for the free trial. Google will charge the prospect’s credit card $0.00, and then automatically bill them the normal subscription price after completion of the trial.This is great news, since we all know that taking a credit card number at sign-up improves trail-to-paying-subscriber conversion rates tremendously.In addition, Google seems to be towing the line between merchant best practices and consumer-friendliness quite well. For one, unlike Amazon’s trial on Kindle, merchants can set the length of the trial. And two, if a user cancels during the trial period, Google Play marks the subscription as expired immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the trial period. The user can no longer access content past the cancellation point.There are some drawbacks, however. Merchants will not receive credit card numbers, and it’s unlikely they’ll get more than an email address in terms of customer info. And Google will still take a 30% cut, so selling apps through your website may still be a better tactic.And there’s no option for a paid trial. But that may be because $0 has replaced $1 authorization charges. As Paul Larsen explained to me, “$1 pre-authorizations are still allowed, but Visa and MasterCard levy a 5-cent ‘fine’ for each; Visa calls it a ‘Misuse of Authorization Fee’.”Instead, Visa and MasterCard are using the $0 authorization fee for account verification.And overall, a free trial with credit card is an improvement and a far better deal for content creators than Apple’s strict rules.
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