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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

Approached by Somoto


I've just received an email from Somoto Inc. I've checked their webpage and it seems that it's some kind of software bundling company: I assume they would install my software together with other similar software in hope of making a bundled sale or something, I guess both of us would benefit.

My software is niche, but it's not something very obscure that one in a million people would ever use. Almost anyone could put it to a good use and it would indeed be logical to bundle with several types of commonly used software.

Any tips on hints on how these deals usually work, how much profit can be expected, are there any caveats?

Zka Send private email
Monday, June 16, 2014
I don't know about Somoto  specifically. But a lot of these bundling companies are very dodgy and will bundle your software together with crapware or malware, such as Babylon toolbar (which hijacks your browser search and is very hard to uninstall). They could do a lot of damage to your reputation and seriously piss off your customers. So be very wary about what exactly what you are getting into.
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, June 16, 2014
Doug Send private email
Monday, June 16, 2014
If you have a decent amount of downloads, bundling can make you a good amount of money. The will promote other products as optional offers in your installer. Some will be toolbars, others will be system cleaners, browser addons like coupon finders/cash-back finders etc. Some more useful than others.

I personally have no problem with bundling as long as the bundling company is one of those that "plays nice" and shows clear opt-out options. None of us like those offers that are hidden under an "Advanced" option that must be selected before you can see the opt-out option.

I don't use Somoto, but I think they're pretty OK. Ask to see an example of their installer that is live with another partner of theirs. If you don't like it, try another one. There are so many companies like them now.

I make several millions yearly (USD) on bundling, so good money can be made - also when using bundle companies that are not among the most aggressive ones.

Some will hate you for doing it though - especially fellow developers ;-)
Jaywalker Send private email
Monday, June 16, 2014
Jaywalker, you got me interested. Like original poster we also have a niche PC application with about a half a million installs per year. Or rather we have iOS application that communicates with a server running on users PC. What is your estimate how much revenue we could make if bundling some software to our installer? Also, what other bundling companies other than Somoto you think are decent? Can you share any figures how much they pay per install?
SuperG Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
These guys (and others) bombard me constantly with requests to join their bundling schemes.
I used to use bundling but I'm clean now. Was probably making around 2K USD per month.  The bundled programs they offer are generally rubbish that no-one would install by choice unless they weren't paying attention to the installer prompts.

The main problem is you'll get flagged by antivirus vendors as having a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) - a kind of low level malware.  Your program will be flagged (upon download), and your website too - so your reputation will be affected when this starts showing up in google searches.
DV Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
DV, I assume you are making much more than $2000 a month with software sales. How many downloads were required to reach $2000 a month with bundling? Did you see any difference in downloads or completed installs when your software was marked as PUP?
SuperG Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Around 10,000 per month.  The PUP thing probably did have an effect (I got emails from users complaining that their antivirus deleted the installer) but it's difficult to measure as I was always changing things around.
DV Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Yeah I'm afraid of being flagged PUP.

Also I'm not sure they have a business model that makes sense with my volume. I get ~20 downloads per day (with very high conversion ratio).
I could contribute to their profits by getting bundled to high-traffic software, but I could not provide them traffic.
Zka Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
If you are bundling something that might be useful to a proportion of your customers, you are being transparent about it, have a clear opt-out etc, then I don't see any ethical problem with bundling.

But if you are sneaking crapware onto customer's computer, then you are a scumbag.

The devil is in the detail, as always.

I definitely wouldn't take what any of the bundling companies say at face value. The dodgy ones are hardly going to admit to it.

Also you may be able to make more money without bundling, for example:
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Andy, I think you will find that these bundling companies want to be transparent, as their advertisers will jump ship if they have to pay for installs where the user won't use their product anyway.

Things have changed considerably the last year or so. Google has become very strict with what they allow, e.g. with regards to using Adwords ads to drive traffic to your products if they use bundling, and with regards to using their search results in toolbars.

Glad you were able to quit your day job. I'm 40 and could retire today if I wanted, mostly due to bundling income, and live very comfortably.

SuperG - they all pay about the same. Some do better in some countries than others and vice versa. I would ask a few to see a live installer and judge them by what you see. Perhaps Adknowledge (OptimumInstaller). OpenCandy or Perion. Ask for the offer screens to be "Google compliant" to get the most obvious ways to opt out for the user.

PS. I do tens of thousands of installs per day.
Jaywalker Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
>Glad you were able to quit your day job

The data in the article wasn't my data. I've never used bundling.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
"I make several millions yearly (USD) on bundling, so good money can be made "

Jaw drops...
Drummer Send private email
Thursday, June 19, 2014
All about volume..
Jaywalker Send private email
Saturday, June 21, 2014

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