MacSanta versus MacHeist

   20 December 2006, lunch time

They’ve added more applications to the MacSanta sale, so you can get more stuff on the cheap. (20% off BBEdit! 20% of SubEthaEdit!) So what’s new? God if I know. Apparently you need to subscribe to their RSS feed to find out. MacSanta’s web site seems poorly thought out and rushed, especially when compared to MacHeist.

In many ways MacSanta feels like the Anti-MacHeist. The site is hosted by Rouge Ameoba, who were one of several developers critcal of MacHeist and several of the first developers to participate in this new event were also critical of MacHeist. For example, in addition to the guys behind Rouge Ameoba we can add Gus Mueller and Rory Prior. Much of the criticism of MacHeist centres around its revenue sharing scheme, which was covered in detail by Daring Fireball. It’s interesting to note that many of the critics of MacHeist are also critics of Disco and the so called Delicious-Age applications: Rory Prior, Rouge Amoeba. Disco’s criticism centered around how little it actually did, and how popular it was in spite of that. It feels like there is a disconnect between the developers and this new generation of Mac users who are out buying software. If you read the Disco Blog the one thing that comes up again and again is that the smoke feature doesn’t work on MacBooks or Mac Minis. Real live users don’t care that the application is just repackaged Apple Frameworks, they care that the application spits out smoke and is affordable. With respect to MacHeist, users don’t seem to care about the profit sharing scheme in play, they care about the insane discount they are getting. The MacHeist forum is full of praise for the guys behind MacHeist — Gus Mueller’s blog, not so much.

I think MacSanta is a good thing. My guess is that the goal of MacSanta is to offer a nice Christmas discount to shoppers while providing developers with a reasonable amount of revenue; the developers wanted to do something, but not something as over the top as the MacHeist. However, I also think MacHeist was a good thing. TextMate and Delicious Library both have new applications in the works for when Mac OS 10.5 hits. (I am guessing this is true for several of the applications.) My guess is that they are hoping these current sales translate to upgrade sales later. It seems like a perfectly valid strategy to hope that some percentage of the 16,281 new users of your software will upgrade. That’s also 16,281 people who have been exposed to a new software, and have been exposed to the idea of paying for software. I’m sure that has to have some positive effect on the mac software community. I don’t think people expect fire sales all the time.

Update: Wired covers the MacHeist as well. Will Shipley of Delicious Monster has this to say:

The bundle was enormously successful, more than any of us had ever thought. I guess I could whine about this, but such is the nature of gambles — they assumed more of the risk, and as such they got the bigger payoff when the jackpot hit. Plus, MacHeist actually decided to double what they are paying us developers after it hit so big.

My guess would be that the unnamed unhappy developer is the man behind the kick-ass Newsfire and Acquisition, David Watanabe. He took down a post entiled, A Heist, Literally.

These little flare ups of controversy on the Internet are interesting.

 

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