Why We're Charging for JOTS Version 2. (And How You Can Get it for Free.)

It's taken us three years, but we're proud to say that we have finally launched the version of JOTS we always wanted to build. And this time it works on Android as well as iOS.

I've talked before about how the business came about almost by mistake. But following it through has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. (And also frustrating, exhausting, exhilirating, educational and life-changing)

Needless to say there's been a lot of learning along the way. When we started, none of us really had much clue how an app business worked. (Or any business for that matter) So whilst we've been building Version 2.0, we've had to learn business too.

We spent a lot of time looking at the different business models for apps. A lot of time. But we didn't always like what we saw.

You see, most apps are free, which seems great for the user. But they're often free for one of two reasons.

One: They'll advertise to you. We thought about this, but then I realised that I f*ing hate intrusive ads on the web, and I guessed that most people who might use JOTS would too. So that one was out.

Two: They'll sell your data. And to me, that is an absolute non-negotiable no. I've always said that Johnny on the Spot will remain 100% private. I'm adamant that the app will hold true to what I know surfers want. Namely - to keep their favourite spots quiet. When a surfer puts time and effort into finding a wave to themselves, it's just not right to start sharing it around.

Our promise to all surfers who use JOTS to keep their surf diary is that we will never, ever share the surf spots and locations you record, and we will never, ever share your data with anyone else.

It's the only way that really feels right to us.

But we do have to make our business viable somehow. We want to build more features - to make Johnny on the Spot the best, most useful app in a surfer's digital toolkit. We've got big plans. To make them happen, we'll need a little more capital. (And yes, if we're 100% honest, after 3 years it would be nice to make a little bit of profit too.)

So for all these reasons we've made the decision that we're going to charge a small amount for every app we sell. It's a one off fee - no recurring contracts or surprises on your bank statement. The cost is just slightly more than a cup of coffee. But we hope that what we've made for you is a lot more useful.

Honestly - we don't know if going with our gut feeling about what's 'right' is the best business decision or not. We're still learning business.

But one thing that did feel right was to donate a portion of our profits to a charity we believe in. So 50p from every app we sell will go to Surfers Against Sewage, to help them with all the awesome work they do.

Here's the good bit that we promised in the headline:

If you'd like to get JOTS for free and be one of our very first users, we have 100 to give away right now. 50 to Android users, 50 if you have an iPhone.

To get your free version, click this link and enter your email. We'll reply within 24 hours and ask you whether you have an Android or iPhone. Then as soon as you respond, we'll send you a code.

Thanks for your patience and support.

Ben, Gerrit and the JOTS team. See you in the water.

The new look Johnny on the Spot. The surfer's personal, private diary.