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MacHeist Kvetching 2009…

So Mar­co wrote this post kvetch­ing MacHeist (yeah, that’s my bun­dle ID link) and how hor­ri­ble it is for soft­ware devel­op­ers. You know, for devel­op­ers, some of his argu­ments might be true. In fact, depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, I can see how it might not be in a developer’s best inter­est to par­tic­i­pate. But I take excep­tion at this:

Call it what it is: You’re will­ing­ly accept­ing a license that will result in the devel­op­er earn­ing almost no mon­ey.

There­fore, you’re not real­ly sup­port­ing these devel­op­ers: you’re telling them that you don’t val­ue their work enough to pay full price, but you’re going to use their soft­ware any­way.

Their com­pli­ance with the MacHeist deal is irrel­e­vant.

Most soft­ware is an incred­i­bly good deal, espe­cial­ly the appli­ca­tions that you use every day or as part of your busi­ness. For exam­ple, giv­en that I make all of my liv­ing by using Text­Mate, and it was devel­oped entire­ly by Allan Odgaard over (prob­a­bly) thou­sands of hours, it would be ridicu­lous for me to hag­gle its €39 price. Why seek dis­counts on some­thing that you want to sup­port and that you believe is already a great val­ue?

I refuse to pur­chase MacHeist for the same rea­son I respect­ful­ly decline license dis­counts or App Store free­bie coupon-codes from oth­er devel­op­ers (that I occa­sion­al­ly receive because of my roles in Tum­blr and Instapa­per):

I believe in sup­port­ing soft­ware devel­op­ers by pay­ing full price for their appli­ca­tions.

MacHeist sup­ports MacHeist’s staff extreme­ly well, but it’s not a way to sup­port its appli­ca­tions’ devel­op­ers.

I buy a LOT of Mac soft­ware. A met­ric shit­load. Almost always at full price. Peo­ple assume that because I write for TUAW, I’m get­ting tons of stuff for free. That’s just not true. We go out of our way not to accept full licens­es of stuff unless we can either give it away after­wards or it is a NFR and we need it to test all the fea­tures. Almost every­thing we review (for OS X apps any­way, it’s more com­pli­cat­ed with iPhone apps since there are now pro­mo codes), we buy.

So as some­one who buys lots and lots of soft­ware, I don’t real­ly appre­ci­ate the guilt-trip that because a devel­op­er or soft­ware com­pa­ny decides to take part in a bun­dle, me buy­ing that bun­dle some­how means I don’t sup­port devel­op­ers.

I won’t lie; there are plen­ty of apps that I get with bun­dles that I either nev­er use, ever, or won’t pay to upgrade to the next ver­sion. But there are plen­ty I’ll pay for — even if they don’t offer upgrade pric­ing. 1Password, for instance, which I got from MacHeist or MacUp­date last year, will total­ly get the entire amount of mon­ey from me when­ev­er the time comes. It’s just too valu­able to me. The same goes for CSSEd­it, Rapid­Weaver, and any oth­er num­ber of apps I find myself using day in and day out.

At this point, espe­cial­ly with MacHeist, devel­op­ers know what they are get­ting into. If they choose to offer a prod­uct through MH, they have their rea­sons. If Real­mac, a com­pa­ny and a com­mu­ni­ty I have lots of respect for (and Nik Fletch­er is like my broth­er, seri­ous­ly), don’t want my busi­ness if I hap­pen to get some­thing of theirs through a bun­dle, I trust they won’t offer it in a bun­dle to begin with.

Pan­ic, who makes some of my favorite Mac soft­ware, doesn’t do bun­dles. I did, how­ev­er, save $10 when I bought Coda because I also bought Trans­mit. I saved 10% on Text­Mate because I bought it as a stu­dent. Should I not have tak­en advan­tage of those dis­counts? Does that make me uneth­i­cal or unsup­port­ive of soft­ware devel­op­ers? Of course not!

So why does buy­ing some­thing in a bun­dle make me a bad per­son? I respect Macro’s unyield­ing sup­port for devel­op­ers, but I pre­fer to live in a world where I’m less pious and don’t have to walk around with a stick up my ass.




March 2009

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Rob - Gravatar

Rob said:

I agree with you. If the devel­op­ers aren’t hap­py with their deal, then they should­n’t have agreed to par­tic­i­pate in the bun­dles. I don’t feel guilty when I go to Best Buy, and that copy of Fer­ris Beuller’s Day Off I’ve been want­i­ng has been dis­count­ed down to $4.99. Do I buy it? Hell yes I do. Do I feel guilty that Best Buy isn’t get­ting their “full cut?” No f’ing way.

There are apps on my com­put­er that make me think, “Wow, this app was com­plete­ly under­priced.” There are apps on my com­put­er that make me think, “Crap, I paid too much for that.” And then there are apps (Can­dy­bar, I’m look­ing at you, here…) that make me think, “There’s no way I’m pay­ing THAT much just to have THAT func­tion.”

I find myself skip­ping over more and more pur­chas­es, and con­se­quent­ly, pass­ing on appli­ca­tions because I feel they’re over­priced. Devel­op­ers need to decide which busi­ness mod­el works best for them… Lots of sales at a poten­tial­ly low­er price, or few­er sales at a high­er price. If Wid­get A is sold at $100 a unit and only sells 4 units, and Wid­get B is sold at $25 and sells 100 units, does Wid­get B’s sup­port costs/needs increase by 25 times? Hard­ly.

Which leads me to the ques­tion: As a devel­op­er, is it bet­ter to have SOMETHING or NOTHING? Some argue that all the devel­op­ers get out of the bun­dle deals is a shit­load more users to sup­port for not much mon­ey. I’d argue that they get much more than that… They get an enhanced user base. With that enhanced user base, they get more poten­tial cus­tomers for any oth­er app they hap­pen to devel­op and sell at full price. As for the increased sup­port load, does Mar­co real­ly think that the full-price-pay­ing users don’t have the same sup­port needs as the dis­count­ed-price folks? I’d wager that for every bug a dis­count-user expe­ri­ences, a full-price user SOMEWHERE is hav­ing the same issue. So, you’re going to have to sup­port the app any­way.… might as well be expos­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to your apps.

Sor­ry to rant so much, but I’ve always despised Mar­co’s posi­tion on this mat­ter.


- Rob

Posted on: August 22, 2009 at 4:14 pmQuote this Comment