Google to let app devs to A/B test their apps, price discrimination inevitable?

Google to let app devs to A/B test their apps, price discrimination inevitable?
If you've ever sat through a semester's worth of Economics 101, the topic of price discrimination (or differentiation) likely came up at some point. In practice, such a pricing strategy simply means that the provider charges a different fee, depending on a number of factors, including region and demographics. Something along those lines may soon be possible on Google's Play Store.

According to developers who were told about such plans, cited by The Information, this new 'feature' will likely be announced at the upcoming Google I/O event, due to take place at the end of May in San Francisco. Charging different prices depending on some nebulous factors is only part of what is expected to be a larger, focused A/B testing initiative from Google, which will allow app developers to test out different approaches to marketing their goods in hopes of finding a sweet spot. In other words, developers will have the ability to test out, say, a different app icon and presentation, in addition to price, in order to better understand their markets.

The question that you're wondering, of course, is whether we'll arrive at a point where a friend next to us is charged a dollar less for the same app than we were. The reality is that we don't know, at least not yet. If we were to guess, however, Google will likely put some serious limits to this feature of the Play Store in order to avoid just that. Otherwise, outrage will be imminent. 

In conclusion, A/B testing may very well be a good thing for Android developers and users, as it could lead to more successful apps, and thus — higher quality and even more diversity. 

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6 Comments

1. haphap

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

I think that's for 3rd world country.

4. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

hopefully because for us with currency exchange controlled by our freaking dictatorship, each single $ dollar is "officially" the equivalent of spending $26.4 So yeah! that is that. I really have to think very hard if I want or need to get a paid app...

5. TBomb

Posts: 1484; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I see that being the reason too. Where there's less money but still a need for certain apps. Devs can charge the people who have the money, but help out the people who don't by offering a cheaper option. Either that, or they'd be able to update the app that someone paid more for and not the cheap version... which would suck.

6. MrET1

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 29, 2015

So from now on there will be both false advertising and price discrimination in Google Play...great...

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