When Selling Virtual Products Abroad, Don’t Put Prices On Autopilot

For our experiment, we selected six different currencies — Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, British pound, Mexican peso, Malaysian ringgit and Saudi riyal. Over six months, we charged various prices for the app in each of the currencies to see how sales and revenue would respond.

The TeleRead Take: This article is about a study looking at the effects of setting prices of virtual goods individually by country rather than letting the currency converter translate your USA price into other countries’ currencies. Although the study considered pricing smartphone apps, it occurs to me that it might apply equally well to e-books. (I noticed when I self-published my Indianapolis guide that Amazon had a panel where you could set the prices individually by market or just let it set them automatically.)

Some interesting findings here, including the idea that the psychological hook of prices ending in “.99” may not be universal—at least for smartphone apps. I wonder if that would also be true for e-books?

Finger, Knuckle, Nail, Or Stylus? Qeexo FingerSense Is A Really Cool Software Solution That Knows The Difference (Android Police)

Bay Area start-up Qeexo has been working on its FingerSense technology for several years, and it looks like it’s starting to reap the fruits of its labor. The software solution, which allows modern touchscreen devices to detect the difference between fingertips, knuckles, nails, styli, and erasers, has been licensed by Huawei (under “Knuckle Sense”) and has been shipping with its P8 and P8max since April. It’s also included in the company’s more recent Honor 7. Thus I’m not sure why Qeexo decided to send its press release only a couple of days ago, but it did serve to bring the technology to our attention and we thought it was cool enough to merit showing you.

The TeleRead Take: This is really a pretty cool tool—one of the first truly big interface changes I’ve come across for touch-sense since capacitive screens. By making the device do different things depending on which part of the finger or stylus you tap with, it effectively retrofits right- and middle-clicking in a much more sensible way than the long-press we have now. That could be useful across a whole range of apps, including e-readers.

My main concern is that this makes it possible to tap, outline, gesture, and drag (hey! “knuckle-dragging” can be a mobile thing now!) in so many different ways that it might make it hard for the average user to remember what they all are! Another issue is that, as with many tech demonstrations, the video shows the body-part gesture recognition working flawlessly 100% of the time—but in the real world, anything that relies on recognition and differentiation tends to be subject to edge cases and involuntary gestures. Just how well will this system really work?

One Edge Android May Have Over Apple’s iOS: Entree Into the X-Rated Adult Market (re/code)

“There are still areas where Android is uniquely open, where you can circumvent some of the constraints that iOS has,” [DCM Ventures general partner David] Chao told Re/code. Namely, he said, mobile companies that are “doing anything that has slightly violent content in a game. Or the sex industry.”

Another example: Eaze, the medical cannabis delivery app (reductively, the “Uber for pot”), in which DCM invests. Apple often cracks down on these apps. Google doesn’t.

The TeleRead Take: Ah, the adult dichotomy. We’ve seen this before. Especially in the USA, there’s a puritan ethic that can cause trouble for anything adult-oriented, and can cause some companies to position themselves as exclusively “family-friendly” to try to appeal to concerned parents. Nintendo was historically the family-friendly game console, while Sony and others were happy to push the envelope. In the e-book world, erotica has caused its own share of controversies. (Just ask Smashwords or Draft2Digital.) But at the same time, there’s little doubt that pornography and erotica can be major drivers for both technological adoption and revenue. Of course, there’s ample room for both approaches.

The Next Great Copyright Office (Social Science Research Network) (found via Slashdot)

While Congress considers whether to update U.S. copyright law through the House of Representatives’ copyright review hearings, there appears to be a growing consensus that it is time to modernize the Copyright Office. This article reviews the developments that led to the last major revision of the Copyright Act, including similarities between that process and the review process today. It discusses Congress’s focus since 1976 on narrower copyright bills, rather than a wholesale revision of U.S. copyright law, and the developments that have led to the review hearings. Finally, it considers the growing focus on Copyright Office modernization, with particular emphasis on the hearing “The U.S. Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources.”

The TeleRead Take: This 13-page report (of which only 6 1/2 pages are actual text; the rest are footnotes) is an interesting analysis of how the Copyright Office as it currently stands came to be, and what might be needed to modernize it. The last major modernization of copyright law was in 1976, and it’s only seen piecemeal patches since then. According to the report, the Copyright Office needs increased funding (and a bigger staff), an improved IT system, and greater autonomy and authority. The process of making these changes could take years. (It took about ten last time.) Something tells me we’d better get started.

So far, WordPress denied 43% of DMCA takedown requests in 2015 (Ars Technica)

In total, the publishing platform received 4,679 DMCA takedown requests as of June 30, identifying 12 percent of those as “abusive.” The top three organizations submitting these requests were Web Sheriff, Audiolock, and InternetSecurities. “Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by third party take down services, many of whom use automated bots to identify copyrighted content and generate takedown notices,” WordPress noted. The company wrote at length about this practice in April, both explaining and condemning the general procedure.

The TeleRead Take: Speaking of areas where copyright could use some revision. It seems as though so much of our current copyright regime is built on the back of automated agents firing off complaints about things that look like they shouldn’t be permitted. How much extra time, effort, and money do publishers have to spend on dealing with badly-programmed bots requesting that articles be taken down from the very site that originally published them, and so forth?


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.