iOverlander 2

We recently launched a new app, iOverlander 2. (Available on the App Store and Play Store.) Entirely rebuilt on a new platform with a lot of features that have been requested for years! We’re excited about it. But, we know it raises some questions, especially with our paid subscriptions. So, in an effort to continue our transparency, here’s what ’ s happening and why.

First, let me clarify, this new app is still free. There is an optional paid subscription available which turns off ads, gives you the ability to download more points at one time, and allows you to download offline maps,. All other features (new and old) are still available for free.

Why does your new app have a paid upgrade?

In short, iOverlander is nearly broke and we want to do better. Overlanders need better. We have massive technology problems that we can’t solve on volunteer hours. I know, because we’ve been trying for a decade to make this work and it simply doesn’t.

Without a steady stream of income we cannot support the time and technology required to maintain our app and our database of places. We currently have an amazing team of volunteers, moderators, developers and just awesome people doing what they can. It’s an incredible community. But, people get busy, go back to real jobs and our cycle of recruiting starts over. It’s a constant struggle to have enough income to pay our hosting and software fees, much less to pay developers to maintain our app.

And, if you haven’t noticed, our old app is pretty broken and really needs an upgrade. It’s on a platform that’s no longer supported, and has become near impossible to maintain. We intend to keep the old app available as long as possible, for people that want all the points at once or have bugs in the new app… and I know, some of you are emotionally attached to it. However, because of the lack of support for this app’s infrastructure, it will eventually be discontinued. That will be a sad day.

A big reason for this paid app is because of the frequent requests we get for new features. Wow, you guys have ideas… and most of them are really good! You’ve been waiting for some really basic ones for years. It’s painful and I’m sorry about that. This new app is loaded with stuff that’s been on the list for a decade, but it’s not the end. The income generated gives us the ability to keep new features rolling. Search. Translations. Garages. Map Routing. Cell phone signals. So. Many. Things. It’s coming.

Are you still asking for donations?

No. We have an income now, from our subscriptions. We have removed all language and requests for donations on our website. In addition, as a thank you for supporting us, anyone who has donated $50 or more will be given a free subscription to our new app. If this is you and you haven’t heard from us by July 1, 2024, send an email to [email protected].

Isn’t it terrible to use donations to build an app that you then expect us to pay for?

Yes, that would be terrible, but we did not do that. As stated several times, all of our donations are tracked separately than other income. These funds are used to pay for expenses related to our current app, and expenses related to running and maintaining our website and database. Is there some overlap here? Yep. That’s one of the reasons that many donors received a free subscription. But, did donations directly pay for the development costs for building our new app? No.

Are you still going to be run by volunteers?

No. Because the 2.0 app will bring a steady income, we will be able to pay all moderators, developers, translators, etc. We hope to transition to fully paid positions in the first few months after the app is released.

Are you still operating as a nonprofit?

There are a lot of misconceptions around the term nonprofit, so please bear with me on this explanation. iOverlander has always operated on a nonprofit model, but we are not and have never been a registered 501c3. (We made this decision a long time ago to save the cost of registering and renewing annually.)

When I say “nonprofit model”, I mean that 100% of our income went back into our apps. Our income pays expenses, like hosting fees, maps, development time, etc. As owners we have never taken profit draws. Meaning that at the end of the year if iOverlander had extra money, we (as owners) pay tax on this revenue, but it stays in the iOverlander bank to use the next year for whatever expenses we have.

For the foreseeable future, our income will still go directly back into maintaining and improving the app, operating similar to our nonprofit model of the past. However, as explained above, we are no longer soliciting donations, and we are no longer volunteer run. Because of this, we believe it would be misleading to claim that we are still a nonprofit.

Regardless of how you classify our entity, this change from a volunteer run, donations-based system, to an app with paid upgrades, was not because we wanted to make a whole bunch of money. We made this change because our expenses exceed our donation income and it is the only way to sustain our app, and improve it for overlanders worldwide.

About iOverlander

iOverlander is a website and mobile app created to help overlanders on the road find their next destination. Please help us improve our data by updating and adding places you have been.

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