Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better!

“So”, I hear you thinking, “I remember James being very anti-software bundle earlier this year. He had that spat with John Casasanta and everything. Imagine my surprise when I saw this offer in my inbox this morning – both DragThing and PCalc are part of the new MacUpdate Promo Winter Bundle. Is he a just a big capitalist sellout after all?”


Ok, let me qualify that slightly.

Way back in June, we took part in the inaugural bundle. The idea was a great one – this was a bundle by developers, for developers, with an equal split of the profits for all who took part. In practice however, it was something of a disappointment. Sales of the bundle were small, not down to the quality of the applications or people involved, but partially because it was going up against the much stronger MacUpdate bundle at the time, and partially because – in my opinion – it didn’t compare particularly favourably to the slick marketing efforts of MacHeist and MacUpdate.

It was mocked at the time by the ever-tactful John Casasanta of MacHeist, who basically said that without a substantial marketing budget, it was doomed. Annoyingly, he was actually right.

A couple of months ago, the MacUpdate people contacted me and asked if I wanted to be part of their winter bundle. What they offered per-bundle-sold wasn’t completely terrible – I’ve been offered a lot worse. Sales of DragThing have slowed a little bit of late since I’ve only done fairly minor updates recently, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to get it back into the public eye. And likewise, PCalc on the Mac has always been a good promotional tool for selling copies of PCalc on the iPhone.

So, fine, let’s give it a try. It’s a good bundle of apps – I fancy getting a few of them myself. I’ve been looking forward to the point-and-click adventure game Machinarium for ages, and I didn’t realise it was already out. Plus I’ve heard good things about Socialite and GarageSale, and many of the others. Path Finder is another veteran app in the bundle, and I know lots of people use that in combination with DragThing.

Will we make more money over the next two weeks than we would have otherwise? Am I damaging future sales of our apps? That remains to be seen. You can see the total number of sales of the bundle on the MUPromo page. I’m legally not allowed to tell you exactly how much of the $49.99 we’re getting, but think of a very small number. Now half it. You’re pretty much there. Feel free to multiply that by the current sales figure.

The bottom line is that our decades-old kitchen is due to be replaced in January, and it would be nice if this deal helped pay for it… Does that make me a capitalist?

Or a culinarist?

Author: James Thomson

Indie iOS / Mac developer, maker of PCalc and DragThing. Occasional writer, conference speaker, and podcast pundit.

6 thoughts on “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better!”

  1. Well, I was about to buy dropzone and overflow but I’m so impressed by DropThings that those trials are now deleted! 🙂
    Hope you make enough money out of the bundle to make it worth it.

  2. The reed that doesn’t bend, etc…

    In fairness, the way I had read it, you were giving out about MacHeist in particular, and the way they dressed their purely commercial affair up as a charitable pursuit and then pocketed far more of the proceeds than any other participant.

    Casasanta didn’t like his pious balloon being burst, but his own contribution to the debate didn’t do him any favours. In the words of Saint Benedict, “f__k him”.

    I know you’ll eat well from the kitchen, and it’s been a long time coming. Lass es euch schmecken!

  3. Monitoring, assessing, and changing marketing tactics certainly doesn’t make you a hypocrite. No, you don’t deserve that.

    Similarly, just because one bundle offer is good for a developer doesn’t mean that all bundle offers are good for developers. Offering $1200 for, essentially, two weeks of unlimited licenses for one of your key products would have been a bad decision in my world.

    That said, I’m about to purchase my MUPromo bundle and you’ll be making a tiny bit of money from me. I don’t know what the deal is–and neither is it my business nor do I particularly care–but it’s a good deal for you precisely because it isn’t money I would otherwise have been sending your way.

    This isn’t meant as a sleight to your products, as you have an excellent reputation, but I simply have no need for those two licenses. I may or may not install the products, I may or may not keep them installed, but it is highly unlikely that I will ever be any kind of burden on you for support. For you, one of the big wins of the bundles is the “customer” like me.

    That, of course, supposes that you will make more than you would have selling to your normal customers during that period and that the customers who adopt your tools don’t overtax your capacity to support them. A large influx of new support calls from a smaller pool of money would be a big loss.

    I’m betting that you find that this is at least a small win in your favor, but that it won’t convince you that a bad offer is anything other than just that: a bad offer.

    Good luck. I hope it works well for you, and I’m enjoying the blog.

    Especially the “PCalc Prevents iPhone Profanity” posts. Good stuff.

  4. What’s wrong with capitalism? To inverse-paraphrase Reagan, it’s the solution, not the problem.

    You wanted/needed a new kitchen, so you participated in a bundle: big deal.

    That’s how it works. You work hard to produce a product: they benefit from your product/service, you benefit from the money charged.

    I’m sure you’ve put in literally thousands upon thousands of hours into building, what has to be, the best app dock out there. Why shouldn’t you make a little coin from that?

    If capitalism is such a problem, then you should give away dragthing. (don’t do it.)

    BTW: I have loved dragthing since v2, and over the years, have even convinced a few employers to purchase it.

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