Handing out apps under the table
March 16, 2012 11:03 AM   Subscribe

How do Kickstarter iOS projects that offer pre-ordered copies of the app deliver them?

As far as I know, the only way to give out free copies of an app is to use promo codes, and iTunes Connect only gives you 50 per version of the app.

Dark Sky has 891 backers (as of now) that have reserved pre-ordered copies of the app. So, I can't imagine that promo codes would do the job there.

My other guess would be ad hoc distribution, but apps distributed that way are tied to a provisioning profile that will expire at some point. Also, you can only register 100 devices per account.
posted by ignignokt to Technology (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know what Dark Sky is planning, but developers can use the "gift this app" feature of iTunes to purchase copies of the app for other people. When the purchases are redeemed, they get 70% of the purchase price returned to them.

Developers also control the purchase price of the app, so they could purchase these gift codes at a time when the app is set to a very low price, say $1.

I expect that's how they'd do it. Ad Hoc distribution wouldn't work for a number of reasons beyond the one you mention.
posted by alms at 11:32 AM on March 16, 2012

When I kickstarted an iOS app, they did it by making a free app available in the App Store that then let you log in to get all the actual content.
posted by KathrynT at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2012

Response by poster: So, the Dark Sky guys responded right away! (I didn't know if they would be flooded with so much Kickstarter contact form mail that they'd necessarily see my message, so that's a pleasant surprise.) They are doing exactly what alms talked about.
posted by ignignokt at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2012

Alternatively, Six To Start put up a version (AppShopper.com link) of their app Zombies, Run! on the App Store for their Kickstarters, and mention needing to log in with the same email address to unlock the app. "Qualifying users must log in using their ZombieLink details to unlock the full game. Please check your email for full details."
posted by IndigoRain at 8:10 AM on March 17, 2012

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