It’s probably very uncool to admit this in writing, but I am an undying fan of John Gruber’s Daring Fireball .
Every now and then, he pulls a post out of his hat that sets the standard to which all other Mac bloggers can only aspire. For analysis, for insight and for clarity, he is rarely matched.
This time, he nails the recent MacHeist promotion to the floor. Completely.
Last week (in a post I missed), he set out the economics underlying the promotion.
Deconstructing the publicity material from MacHeist, he noted:
If you didnâ€™t know any better, judging only from MacHeistâ€™s promotional copy and statements such as Ryuâ€™s, you might think that most of the profits from the bundle were going to the developers of the bundled applications. Not so. Most of the proceeds are going to MacHeist, and the more bundles they sell, the more disproportionate MacHeistâ€™s share of the profit will get.
Today, he totals up the final break-down of money going to charity (US$200,000), to MacHeist and to the developers. It’s not pretty reading:
– MacHeistâ€™s percentage share of the total profit: 87.5
– Average percentage share of the total profit for each individual developer: 1.3
MacHeist clears US$463,500; the developers share a total pool of US$66,500, with most getting a flat fee of US$5-6,000.
To see this episode as “one of the biggest successes in the history of Mac shareware” is only part of the story. It was a great deal for users. It was a fantastic deal for MacHeist. But it shafted the developers.
A deal in which two parties have a great time and one party gets (willingly?) exploited isn’t a recipe for a Mac community that flourishes in the long term. It’s just a heist.
Or as John more elegantly puts it:
MacHeistâ€™s organizers and defenders are arguing that no one forced the participating developers to agree to their terms, and that these developers are in fact happy with how the promotion is going, and that the users whoâ€™ve purchased the bundle are delighted with the price. But none of these things are in dispute.
Whatâ€™s in dispute is whether the money is being distributed equitably. Just because someone is satisfied with a bad deal doesnâ€™t mean it isnâ€™t a bad deal.
Developers? Let them eat cake!
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Tags: Apple, developers, gruber, macheist, not apple mail, seeing the whole picture, software