It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.
Let’s just say there is one of these bundles – lets just call it MacTheft – and the price for eleven apps is $19.95. And, let’s just say they promise to give $5.00 of your purchase to starving children in cataclysmicly devastated regions of the world. Therefore, the price of the software – all eleven apps – is theoretically $14.95. But, let’s just say there is only two apps out of the eleven that you really think you need. Here is a crazy idea to try…
Buy the apps outright, full-price, directly from the developer.
OK, fine. You want a “bargain”. How about this… Contact the developers of the two apps you want and say something like…
“Hey, I see you have your apps available on MacTheft and, while that is great and all, I really don’t need all eleven of them. I really only need two, your’s and this other guy’s. Therefore, I am contacting each of you to see if I could give you $7.50 cents directly. I figure that is about 10 times more than you will get from my individual sale if I buy it through MacTheft. Also, I was planing on giving five dollars to the starving children too.”
via Minimal Mac.
Minimal Mac is, of course, talking about the recent MacHeist nanoBundle which contained heaps of pretty cool apps for the bargain-basement price of just $20.
I wasn’t going to buy the bundle at first, but then Tweetie (the super-mega-awesome Twitter client for Mac) came along, and I figured I might as well buy it for Tweetie, and get the rest of the apps for free (which were valued at over $260 if bought separately). Here’s hoping I actually get around to using RapidWeaver one of these days…
In hindsight after reading the above article I should have really bought Tweetie separately (the few-and-far between ads are so awesome I have them turned on anyway, haha), but the clincher this time was that there was some sort of “public beta” access to Tweetie 2 for Mac – a pretty big deal as 2.0 has been a long time coming, and will probably feature all those cool Twitter features the iPhone version of Tweetie has had for the past couple of months.
The thing is, had I bought Tweetie directly from the developer all those months ago, there’s absolutely no obligation for the developer to come along and say “hey, thanks for purchasing our app, we’ll get in touch when we need beta testers for the next version”. By buying Tweetie from MacHeist, not only did I get into some privileged beta program (along with every other purchaser), but I also got a whole lot of other apps for, what is essentially free. Where’s the loser here? The developers of the other programs? They gain some publicity. The charity who received the 25% donation? Well, any money’s better than no money. Me? I “paid” for an app I use constantly, and got some more apps for free. Who then, is the loser here?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against schemes like MacHeist. They’re a great way to get some HUGE publicity for your app – had you asked me a year ago what ShoveBox was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Same for pretty much every other app that came included in last year’s MacHeist bundle, and same again for this year’s nanoBundle. Ambrosia Software recenltly had a pretty good sale as well – I’ve been looking to pick up a copy of EV Nova for a while now, and they had it in a bundle with some other apps. The only catch was, it was the Windows-only version. Ambrosia make some cool Mac stuff and EV Nova is available for Mac as well – so I didn’t end up buying that particular bundle that time around. Just a month or so ago however, I picked up EV Nova from their website, at full retail, and as a result, got both the Mac and PC versions for the same price, similar to what Valve will be doing when they release Steam for Mac sometime later this year.
Yeah, I know I’ll probably never use some of those applications, but the thing is, other people might. I know I’ll almost never need to use a clipboard manager under OSX, but other people might – now that Clips was included in MacHeist, I can now recommend it to other people to try out. Sure, the couple of people I tell in my lifetime that buy Clips for the full price probably won’t make up for the 50,000 or so people who bought Clips for nothing, but even if every person managed to on-sell just one copy, that’s an additional 50,000 copies they probably wouldn’t have sold. I know I’m not taking into consideration things like support costs and all that, but do you kinda see my point?
That being said, if developers actually offered decent discounts (25% or more) on some of their apps, I can certainly see myself buying software more often. Hell, Panic held a sale with 50% off all their software last year, and I picked up Transmit because it was a frequently used app of mine. I wish I picked up Coda at the same time, but I know I’d almost never use it. So, to Cultured Code, Panic, Ambrosia, and all those other software developers that make cool stuff – have sales. You’d be surprised how many people will buy your stuff if it’s priced decently.
That’s how I’m going to justify it to myself, anyway. Your mileage may differ, but here’s hoping you got something out of this. mini-rant.