* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

We're closed, folks!

Links:

» Business of Software FAQ
» The Business of Software Conference (held every fall, usually in Boston)
» Forum guidelines (Please read before posting!)

Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Sell desktop app like iPhone app?

I saw this website today:

http://www.pencilwedgees.com/store.html

No, it's not mine.  But I found it intriguing because it's got iPhone-like prices and concepts... pay a cheap fee to unlock the game.  But it's for a desktop game.

What are your thoughts on this approach for PC software?  People are used to paying small fees to unlock iPhone apps so I'm thinking it may translate well to PC apps?
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
Much as I hate the idea of the AppStore in terms of AAPL's control of it, I really like the idea of micropayments being more widely used.

When I look at a site like this one, I think to myself - oh, PayPal, I'm not sure if my account still works and I don't really trust those guys anyway; MasterCard might object to such as small charge -- screw it., I don't really want this game.

But with AppStore, if I wanted the game, I wouldn't give it a second thought. (Yes, I realize that those tiny AppStore charges often end up as tiny MasterCard charges, but I figure AAPL will sort out any problems with that).

I'm hoping that somehow micropayments being more acceptable will save our newspapers, eg. people that balk at signing up for a $9.99 per month subscription to a newspaper may be fine with paying $25 per month to read bits of it at $.25 apiece, or whatever.
GregT Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
> iPhone-like prices

Could be worth a shot. Try it and tell us how it went.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
Breaking up your business into small transactions seems to work for Starbucks, Tim Horton's (Canada and NE), 7-11 and parking meters, although for parking meters, I'm convinced the real money is made with collecting fines for expired meters.  Don't forget, Starbucks and Tim Horton's are pushing coffee cards that you load up, to reduce the number of transactions.

Even the iTunes store does everything it can to sell multiple $0.99 items together to reduce the number of transactions.  Telcos sell phone cards and monthly plans and packages to reduce the number of transactions.

There is a cost to every financial transaction, that is directly related to the complexity of the transaction and inversely related to the trustworthiness of the parties involved.  The cost of communicating the transaction is fixed.  Lots of transactions require lots of communication, regardless of the value of the transaction.  Purchasing software is more complex than buying milk and if you check the best before date on the milk jug, you can trust the contents more than a downloaded installer.

As for the newspaper example, micro-payments went out the window after the Great Depression.  Forget monthly payments, publishers are pushing quarterly payments or longer terms.  The app store isn't promoting micro-payments, it's trying to drive down the price of software to zero, because free software doesn't involve a financial transaction.

Micro-payments are a bad idea that keeps coming up in programmer circles and nowhere else.  There's no pot of gold at the end of the micro-payment rainbow.  Give it up.
Howard Ness Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
>Yes, I realize that those tiny AppStore charges

I wouldn't call 30% tiny!
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
@Howard, you may very well be right, but publishers also seem to be headed for extinction. Maybe they need to think differently.
GregT Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
 
> I wouldn't call 30% tiny!

That's true. But on some platforms (*cough* Mac *cough*) it's the only way to get enough traffic to make a software profitable enough to live off it.

Mac users don't use download portals anymore and our search engine traffic also went considerably down since the Mac app store inception. But overall customer exposure grew significantly.

Now the problem is: Your application will be displayed next to many others. So how it looks really starts to play a role. If your software looks like a donkey's ass with a hat you probably won't get many sales from a market where customers await good design to even consider purchasing.

In the case of the Mac app store I think the benefits outweigh the 30% commission you have to pay to Apple. But only if you can deliver above average Mac software quality.

I would love to know how it looks on the Windows store but the WinRT API is far too limited for our software to port - and the native application support seems pretty half assed.

/rant
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
 
 
If you are relying on the App Store for your marketing then your business is going to be fragile. Good luck with that.
Ducknald Don Send private email
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
 
 
> If you are relying on the App Store for your marketing then your business is going to be fragile. Good luck with that.

Either you didn't read what I wrote or you're trying to troll.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
 
 
"Mac users don't use download portals anymore and our search engine traffic also went considerably down since the Mac app store inception. But overall customer exposure grew significantly."

This sounds to me like your relying on an external entity for your marketing, it might be working for you now but it looks fragile to me.

Obviously I'm not saying you should withdraw your products from the app store but you should consider what it is and the risks involved.
Ducknald Don Send private email
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
 
 
30% of a .99 app is pretty cheap for someone that handles payment processing, hosting, and generating traffic. For a 99 dollar app on the other hand it is probably a bit pricey. And it is a heck of a lot better than what Handago used to charge.

The problem with low pricing is that you need volume. The app store has 100 million people browsing it AND pretty much everyone looking for an app will go there. If you get to the top of lists, you get a ton of "free advertising" for apples cut. When your hosting it yourself, you need to generate that traffic. You also need to make sure your not a niche app. Selling 10 million apps at .99 is a good business. Selling 10k at .99, not so much.



>Yes, I realize that those tiny AppStore charges

I wouldn't call 30% tiny!
Foobar Send private email
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz