Living or Killing?
December 19, 2006
I’m so pleased with the way MacSanta is turning out, already sales are up because of it (i.e. the extra sales use the discount code) but more than that, because it reaffirms the participants’ indie-ness.
We didn’t quit our jobs at big, ugly corporations (or just little stinky ones) to work for another middleman, the type of person who spends all their time patronising you so that you fail to notice them justifying their existence.
So, here is the simplest, most bullshit-free offer: enter a code, save 20%. And while this was essentially initiated by one person at one company, it’s not all about him or them. There’s a lot of software on the site that I’ve heard of but hadn’t really bothered checking out before. For example, I didn’t know Fission could edit MP3s and AACs without re-encoding, and that’s really handy to know when you record on an iRiver.
In justifying their existence, the middlemen have to come up with all these games and schemes. They read it in their book, saw it on a PowerPoint and have seen it work in supermarkets. Well, we’re not supermarkets selling the same old thing at different prices, and what they really didn’t bargain on was a very vocal, if small, community doing some very basic sums.
Last week one software promotional site probably made around $760,000 selling a $49 bundle of 10 mostly decent applications to around 16,000 people. The ten developers involved probably got less than $100,000 of that, less than $10,000 each, and some are claiming a $60K – 70K split between them. $200,000 went to charity. That left the organizers with something like $500,000.
Sure, there’s tax and expenses and the site was very nice to look at, with a lot of effort involved, but that still means for the developers, without whom there would be no point, the rewards were hugely disproportionate.
The only real purpose of such things for developers is exposure. The only purpose for consumers is a good deal. However, as a developer, each sale made establishes a relationship with a customer that can last for a very long time; it can be months or years before anyone gets to paid upgrades (another purported benefit). Meanwhile, the site organizers can walk away. A heist indeed.
MacSanta is encouraging to me because it proves that people can get together and gain exposure without putting their businesses in jeopardy (you can’t make new stuff if you spend all your time answering support emails having made much less than a $1 per sale) making people jump through hoops (which, if you’re over the age of 15 you won’t want to do anyway), being too cheesy or obsfucating (geek word for you) the figures, product benefits and motives involved for pure material gain.
That’s when it seems tacky. We all need to make a living, it doesn’t seem right to make that a killing instead.