Design Element
Comment on "The Impact of MacHeist"
by Scott Stevenson — Dec 17
You really think a lot of people who "will actively seek out and pay for software that isn't sitting on store shelves" haven't heard of the most successful indieware on the platform?

I believe there are groups of participants: the "inner circle" users who were first to get invitations for MacHeist and were actively involved throughout, and a secondary group who became part of it and heard about the apps because of the activities of first group.

I'm sure most of the people in the first group know what Delicious Library is, and often already own a copy, but the real story is the second group (and the non-participating third group). The first group is probably a calculated cost.

It seems to me that the people who buy into MacHeist are the ones who will not normally buy your software. In fact, that's exactly what Wil Shipley suggested in his interview.

I don't think that's what he's saying. Here's the quote:

I think events like this get a lot of publicity, so they bring in new customers that I wouldn't reach on my own...As a single datapoint, in the two days since the bundle has gone on sale our direct sales (not part of the bundle) have actually gone up

I think "publicity" is the key word there. It's the net effect of all the activity, not just the specific users that were actively involved in the event. That's why he mentions direct sales went up.

Clearly people aren't going to buy the bundle and Delicious Library separately, so these are people that heard about Delicious via MacHeist then went straight to the source. These are people Delicious wasn't reaching through their own means.

I still really question the usefulness of this to developers. Gus has posted solid numbers on how lopsided the spoils of MacHeist are

He did post numbers, but "lopsided" is a judgement, and perhaps one component missing from that equation is long term versus short term value.

There's no way for MacHeist to reasonably extract ongoing royalties for the software they promote, which leaves them shortchanged if their efforts generate substantial future sales for an app. I'm not saying this proves anything one way or another, but it's a non-trivial variable.

The whole is about speculative investment on both sides, with a very short window of opportunity for one side. In that situation, a flat fee is inherently reasonable for consideration. It's making a compromise on risk.

I'd rather pay the developers for their apps than Mr. Ryu. Aside from FotoMagico, I'd say they're all pretty reasonably priced even without the bundle.

Which is part of the equation. If somebody like you only wants one or two apps out of the bundle but never got around to buying them, MacHeist may have reminded you about them, which translates into direct sales. In that case, MacHeist effectively eats the promotion expense of that sale for the developer without any compensation.

It's not the end of the world, but the point is I think it all comes a lot closer to balancing out when you step back and consider the net effect of the entire event and all the side effects.
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