Side Effect of Mac Marketing Schemes?


The other day I pontificated about Mac software marketing. The short of it was, I’m into it. Well then I caught wind of this similarly-themed post from MacUser. Pat takes an angle which I hadn’t considered before. It seems he’s of the mind to hold off on buying some software in anticipation of that app being offered for free or heavily discounted through some marketing plan. The twist, he points out, is that these marketing schemes are in place to enhance sales…

I’m sure there’s some validity to that, but I’d be surprised if it’s that large a cross-section of the user community. Or maybe it’s just me. For me, if I need some application, I buy it. If it’s something that looks cool, but I have no huge need for, I’ll usually demo it for 30 days. If after 30 days I’m totally hooked, I buy it, or else I let it just sit, unused. Then if a deal on the app comes along, I may consider buying it. But at the end of the day, I don’t find myself holding out for a better deal – I just disregard it until I hear it’s at some price point that balances out my need for it.

How do you approach it? Are you holding off on purchasing software for a freebie or better deal?


Jonathon Maller

I refuse to learn more as my brain is just melting. I am looking forward to the holidays ending this year. Seems outr industry has slowed a lot this year.


K.I.T developer Steve Harris wrote a blog entry about getting his app onto MacZOT which I thought was interesting:

“My aim was to get KIT some exposure. People like KIT when they see it, but don’t know to look for it. KIT got a lot of attention, so that worked and the objective was achieved. Kind of.

For me, what happened afterwards is what was most interesting. Unsurprisingly, I was inundated with support emails, some were bugs, many, many more were feature requests and others were just questions. All were welcome. I did underestimate the impact of this, however. After working my way through them all diligently I found it was the middle of October.

Six weeks vanished and financially, it wasn’t actually worth it, but I see that as an investment for the future. I gathered a lot of valuable feedback and now have more users for KIT that may potentially wish to upgrade to KIT 2.0 at a future date (a long way off, if you’re wondering). There have been times running this business when that alone would have been the ruin of me.

Perhaps most significant thing is that normal sales of KIT didn’t change one iota. What I was selling before the promotion was exactly the same as afterwards. I think I know why.”


Mark, I have downloaded every MacAppADay download so far. No, I do not think any have been bad apps – now I’ve only got one (so far) that looks promising for me to use daily and purchase upgrades. Which means you did your job right! :) With so many users and so many different areas of interest a hit on one is great.

Let me explain a little on my 1st comment.

When you have 3, 4, 5 sites shooting daily deals you run out of good apps fast. And by good I’m talking about well thought out apps that work and are priced reasonably for what they do. What you end up with is a site like MacZOT putting out a special on an app that charges $20 for a licence when there are already FREEWARE alternatives that do a better job. I could name a few I’ve seen where that happened (how about Font Pilot) – and you do see the “complaints” in the comments. What happens is that some sucker who trusts MacZOT as a reliable site clicks buy and wastes his money. NOT that it isn’t his own fault for buying.

It’s just a catch that comes along with deal sites. MacAppADay is the best site (I think) that handles generating shareware purchasing. You gain from advertising not from sales, therefore you are less likely to push the “bad” app to make a profit. MacZOT in my opinion hasn’t always done a great job at that, but I still buy there – and I do see Brian makes an effort to listen to the users and correct what we see as mistakes.


I am with Joe. I am participating in MAAD and MacHeist and check the Zot everday, mainly because I am an App junkie. But when I come across a product that I need, I but it. All of the hold offs, and there are a few due to MacHeist and MAAD, are on products that interest me but do not fill a need. But for advertising these things work. After receiving ChatTranscript Manager and 1Psswrd from MacHeist, I have become a huge fan of both (and I don’t even chat that much), and as such I tout the software to fellow Macsters regularly. I would have never, ever purchased the transcript manager, not for any price, but since getting it, I love it. 1Psswrd just would have never gotten my attention long enough to explain its functionality for me to get interested, so I would not have ever purchased this app unless a friend showed it to me. So while there are those that will wait, I think in general these methods are successful. And the ones that wait are the same type that are cranking their tunes on a 3rd Gen iPod that is on its 3rd battery because they don’t want to buy a new iPod, because any day now there will be a new Jobsian announcement. I would rather grab the current model of iPod or Mac and enjoy the hell out of it, same with apps, I am not wealthy, nor am I averse to good deals, but if I want an app, I buy it.

Joe Cabrera

The difference is between “need” and “really interested by.” If I need it, sure I’ll buy it. But if it’s merely something I’m wondering about, if I see it on sale I’ll take a chance and buy it outright in case it’s never at that price again.

I also bought Delicious Library during that interesting sale (but I got it at $20 just in case it didn’t drop further); BBedit which I’ve noticed goes on sale at some time each year (got that in 2005); Toon Boom 1 was available at a really cheap price ($30?) so I bought it, but still it sits there unopened, which is the chance you take hunting bargains.

Mark (a.ka. MacAppADay Admin)

It’s something like 10% of the community that will hold off. I guess, if you really want an app, you’ll buy it. If you might want it, our deals help to confirm that need.

In the case of MacAppADay, the two principle objectives are:

a) Let people see great new products
b) Sell upgrades

As for Lonnie’s remark:

The “sell” is starting to become the goal instead of producing good mac shareware, which hasn’t always been the case. The thing that bothers me the most about the abundance of deal sites right now is that lots and lots of bad apps are being pushed as great ones

I’d be interested to hear if you consider any of the MAAD apps bad. We think they’re all great. Remember, while MAAD, MacHeist and MacZot act as sales venues, we work with developers we like the products of. When we offer a product, things are at stake for us too, like ad revenue, or in Brian’s case, his PayPal account balance at the end of the day.


I think Mr MacUser has it right in this case. I am seeing in forums, comment areas, etc – people constantly saying they want an app but are waiting to see if MacZOT, MacUpdate, MacHeist . . . and so on . . . are going to offer it. The Mac online community has lots of students in it, paying $40 for an app or waiting a month and finding it for $10 makes a difference.

The thing that bothers me the most about the abundance of deal sites right now is that lots and lots of bad apps are being pushed as great ones. The “sell” is starting to become the goal instead of producing good mac shareware, which hasn’t always been the case.

Michael Clark

I have held out for a better deal in the past. The notable example is Delicious Library. They had a price auction where they dropped the price $5 a week for 4 weeks, but only for X number of sales. So I might be able to get a $20 discount if the promotion lasted 4 weeks. I ended up buying at the 3 week point, a $15 discount. I was pleased with that, I felt like I got a deal, and they got a sale.

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