Why the #$@!% isn’t the Gluten Dude app free? (and 3 more of your app questions answered)

questions about the gluten dude app

So the Gluten Dude App has officially been live for 11 weeks. And over the course of these 77 days (don’t worry…I did the math), I’ve gotten some amazing feedback, some fantastic suggestions, and lots and lots of questions. And as I always taught my kids…the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked. So let’s get you some answers to the top 4 questions I get.

Why the @#$%& isn’t your app free?

I have received a variety of these, though not all as eloquently stated as above. So let me tackle this from a few angles.

  1. When it comes to mobile apps, there’s no such thing as FREE. As they say, if an app is free, YOU are the product (meaning they’re monetizing your data). If you subscribe to the Gluten Dude app, you are not a product; you are a valued customer and I am here to make your celiac life better.
  2. There will never be advertising on the app or in any other medium connected to the app. I’ve been an authentic voice for the past 10 years and that is not changing now.
  3. All establishments on the app are listed at no cost.
  4. App development, infrastructure, upgrades and maintenance do not come cheap.

So in summary, a moderate subscription fee is necessary in order for the app to survive. The app is free to download and once you create an account, you get a 7-day free trial where you will have complete access to the entire app. When the free trial ends, you can choose from three subscription levels: monthly ($5.99), semi-annual ($29.99), annual ($49.99). No billing information is collected when you sign up, so there’s nothing to cancel if you choose not to subscribe. (But it would still hurt my feelings.)

What do the subscription fees go toward?

Fair question. Your subscription will allow my team to:

  • Find/vet/add new restaurants on a daily basis.
  • Manage the current restaurants, making sure the app has the latest info.
  • Keep the beer locations updated on a regular basis.
  • Pay staff, both full-time and part-time.
  • Host and maintain the app to keep it purring like a kitten.
  • Improve the app with new features and functionality.

The more people that subscribe, the more resources I can put into the app. And the more resources I can put into the app, the more it will help the celiac community. As I’ve said before, I created this app FOR the celiac community and I’m hopeful it can be supported BY the celiac community.

What if I really want the app but it’s just not in my budget right now?

I empathize as much as anyone how expensive having celiac disease can be (doctors, lab work, food, etc.) and how an additional expense could be a burden. I do not want anyone to be excluded from the app for financial reasons. If this is the case for you, please contact me and we’ll try to work something out.

I also have a program set up where someone else can gift you free months. Info is here.

How is the Gluten Dude app different than the Find Me Gluten Free app?

vet gf restaurantsThis is also quite a common question…and I get it. Do we really need two restaurant directories for the GF community? The answer is yes, because my app offers something quite different. How? Let me count the ways.

  1. The GD app is much more than a restaurant directory. It has five main sections where you can locate restaurants, order online from over 150 companies (with coupons), get answers to your questions on the forum, connect privately with others in the community, and find gluten-free beer.
  2. All of the restaurants on the GD app are personally vetted by the Gluten Dude team. A restaurant won’t go on the app until we hear back from the owner/manager and we feel they understand and have procedures in place to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. We are much more about quality than quantity and the top priority is keeping you as safe as possible. That is simply not the case on FMGF.
  3. You will not find any fast-food chains on the GD app. There are way too many variables and the risks of cross-contamination are simply too high. So no…you won’t see that McDonald’s is celiac safe on the app.
  4. As mentioned above, the GD app has no advertising and you will not receive any advertising via email either. Like I said…I’m not about the products. I’m about the people and the app’s sole purpose is to help you live a better gluten-free life.

I have a full FAQ and tons more info about the app on the app website and even more answers to your questions on the app itself. Thanks for listening and I appreciate your support.

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10 thoughts on “Why the #$@!% isn’t the Gluten Dude app free? (and 3 more of your app questions answered)”

    1. Hi. Yes…we have almost 3,000 restaurants with more being vetted/added every day (including Colorado). Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to answer.

  1. I absolutely love what you’re doing and enjoyed the free month trial of the app. I wish you could charge a one-time fee like $20 or something, that would make the cost easier to swallow. That’s my two cents. Keep up the great work, dude – we need you!

    Fellow Celiac,

  2. I used the app on a recent trip and it led me to a gluten-free brewery and a fabulous gf brunch. Neither of these were on the Find Me GF app (which I also use). If it weren’t for this app, I would have had every meal in the hotel kitchen.

    The gluten-free dude app has been worth the money for me!

  3. I’ve been sad that my free time in the app has expired. But I understand why it’s not free. I only have so many things I can sign up for. And you’re on my list for the future. It took me about three years to decide to sign up for gluten free watchdog. You should probably know that there are a lot of people interested in your app who just don’t have another slot for a paid app. And anyway I don’t have a smartphone. I was borrowing my husband’s. Eventually if if if… a bunch of ifs happen, I will get a smartphone and will be able to afford the higher payments for the phone and an app, and that app will definitely be yours.

    You have a no-nonsense approach to Celiac and gluten free and you hear people out. What more could anyone ask? But you still go beyond that, and offer 100% gluten free listings, which are pure gold. Thank you and keep the faith (in what you’re doing).

    1. I understand Angelica. And I don’t want it to be exclusive. If someone used just one of the coupons for online gf companies per month, the app would pay for itself.

  4. There is one fast food restraunt that we go to, Five Guys, that some locations are safe. I repeat, SOME (not all) locations are safe. That might be a good one to check out, but make sure it’s safe at that location. The two we go too (2 because one is closer, but the other has milkshakes.) use dedicated everything, even cook area, and they are already in that habit of changing gloves between ALL meals, not just celiac ones. Others we have been to, we left without anything because they weren’t safe, so make sure before you order. (also, they use peanut oil for everything, and have free peanuts, and peanut everything, so if you have a peanut allergy, don’t go.)

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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