Many of you have been waiting on our official response to the Speed Download mess so here we go…
First off, as we’ve stated several times already, ALL licenses for apps participating in the MacHeist II bundle were to be full licenses this time. We made that point crystal clear to all the developers involved. Some of you may remember from MacHeist I that the license for TextMate was slightly limited in that there was to be a minor upgrade charge to their next major version, whereas it was a free upgrade to purchasers directly from their website but this was explicitly stated on the purchase page.
Right before the bundle sale was about to start, we received a build of Speed Download from Yazsoft that included product “activation” and this raised a major red flag for us as again, we made it very clear that there was to be no differentiation between buying from MacHeist and buying directly from the developer. As a result, we contacted Yazsoft alerting them about our concerns. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive a response back from them in time so we had little choice but to pull it from the bundle at the last minute. This decision wasn’t taken lightly at all because we had advance stories prepared with major news outlets and the information we’d given to them was that Speed Download was to be included in the bundle. And as many of you may remember, there was a good amount of fallout when people read that Speed Download was to be included but it actually wasn’t (at the time).
Once the bundle sale was underway, we managed to make contact with Yazsoft and while I don’t feel it’s appropriate to post their responses here without their permission, we do feel it’s very appropriate to show you what we conveyed to them to further make clear that what they were including in MacHeist II was to be the same license that customers would purchase on their website during the time of the bundle sale:
Um, and why is that? That implies this license is totally handicapped? I hope you realize this bundle only includes full, normal licenses.
So say hypothetically a user doesn't register their copy until the sale is over, and the download links are no longer up at MacHeist. What then? This sounds horrendous support wise, and our members are highly sensitive to anything deviating from a normal license. We were not negotiating for licenses that don't even work on copies downloaded from your site. We were negotiating for full, regular licenses. Surely there must be a way to fix this? I'm sorry for being anal about this, but this is very important if you guys want a good reaction from our very vocal members.
After solid assurance from Yazsoft about all this, we then decided to put Speed Download back into the bundle as a bonus for you.
“Loot” Apps vs. Bundle Apps
Many of you who participated in the MacHeist missions are familiar with “loot” apps. For those of you who didn’t participate, I’m going to try to give a brief explanation to familiarize you with this all… Before the bundle sale happens, we put out a series of “missions” where members solve various puzzles. After a mission is solved, “loot” is awarded as a reward. The loot usually contains a few free apps and a coupon for a discount off the purchase of the bundle. The apps that are awarded as loot are often not full versions (often limited by not being upgradable for free), although some developers do make the decision to include a full license.
We make a HUGE differentiation between a loot app and a bundle app, both in terms of the licensing scheme that we allow developers to provide and in terms of the amount paid to developers. In the case of loot apps, as mentioned above there’s a ton of flexibility in what they’re allowed to provide for a license. This is because in most cases, the main benefit to the developers is in the exposure that they get… it’s a great way to get tens of thousands of people turned-on to their apps. As far as what we pay out to the developers for loot apps, it’s not a ton of money… by design, it’s a great way to get upgrade sales. This works out well because MacHeist members aren’t paying anything for these apps and they’re free to use the loot version of the app indefinitely. But what’s great is that members who like the apps often purchase later upgrades and many developers included in loot have had great success with it.
Now in the case of an actual bundle app, the licensing is very strict. Again, for MacHeist II, we were very careful in making developers aware that what they were to be giving out to purchasers were full licenses. And in terms of the cuts developers get… there’s a common misconception that MacHeist doesn’t compensate developers much for bundle inclusion. But without releasing specific numbers, I’m going to let you all in a little secret… developers get very fair cuts. To put it simply, if they didn’t, there’d be no MacHeist since no developer would agree to be included, knowing how much the sales take in. Anything else you’ve ever heard on the matter is either pure speculation or inaccurate information.
The Developers We Normally Deal With
Trust is extremely important when dealing with most issues, whether personal or business, even when written agreements are involved. And this is why both for MacHeist I and MacHeist II, we’ve generally dealt with developers that we’ve known personally. It’s no real surprise when you see an app like AppZapper or CoverSutra in the bundle because I’m very close friends with Austin Sarner and Sophia Teutschler, the respective developers of those apps. But we don’t personally know everyone in the Mac community who makes a 1st-class app, so it’s natural that we expand outside our circle of comfortability. Sometimes we choose very well, like in the case of Tweakersoft and the inclusion of their stellar app, VectorDesigner. But sometimes we don’t, and that led us to this situation (and this is no reflection on Speed Download itself as an app because we still feel it, in itself, is a first rate, high quality app).
What We believe to be Yazsoft’s Failures
We believe that Yazsoft has made a number of failures in regard to this whole situation. First off, as mentioned above, we made it crystal clear on several occasions that the licenses they’d be providing to customers were to be full licenses with NO RESTRICTIONS compared to licenses for purchases made directly through them. And they assured us that this was the case. In light of this, they didn’t follow-through here.
Another failure is that they released a press release that stated the following:
Everyone that purchased SD 4 between Jan 01, 2008 and Feb 12, 2008, may upgrade to SD 5 for FREE. Speed Download 5 can be purchased from the Yazsoft web site.
But after the fact, added this qualification to their website:
Purchases made via the MacHeist 2 bundle not applicable for free upgrade.
The relevant thing is that, as per our agreement with Yazsoft, all of you who purchased the MacHeist II bundle did, in fact, purchase Speed Download during that “grace period” and should be eligible for the free upgrade. Plain and simple.
Yazsoft has tried to use the excuse that Speed Download 4 and Speed Download 5 aren’t the same products but since the Speed Download 5 upgrade was pushed through the auto-update mechanism, this completely nullifies this assertion.
In addition to all this, Yazsoft has repeatedly made public posts regarding this issue that contain very inaccurate information. This is from a comment on MacUpdate.com:
As for the complaints from MacHeist users, I believe the confusion comes from an incorrect and potentially misleading note on the MacHeist website with regards to Speed Download. They state that all 'UPGRADES' are free. That was never quoted by us. As always, all 'UPDATES' are free.
We’ve NEVER anywhere stated that “all Speed Download upgrades are free” as they’ve claimed and used in their defense of this situation.
After carefully assessing the situation, and in light of some facts that we simply can’t make public at this point, we strongly feel that Yazsoft has acted with malicious intent here. Please bear in mind that a statement like this isn’t one that’s ever casually made.
What We Feel Should Happen
We strongly feel that the honorable thing for Yazsoft to do to rectify this situation is to give all MacHeist II bundle purchasers a free upgrade to Speed Download 5. And we feel that any of those qualifying people who’ve already bought the upgrade should be refunded the price of the upgrade by Yazsoft.
Our Pledge to You
We’re currently exploring our legal options here. We at MacHeist strive to bring you the customer great value with our promotions while also providing great benefit to the developers involved and helping out important global causes through the charity donations. And we’ll be fighting for you to see that what’s right is done here.
Ultimately, this whole fiasco warps people’s perspectives on MacHeist because no matter how this turns out, some people will likely make claims in the future that when you buy through MacHeist, you get “crippled” versions of the software. This is extremely unfortunate because we’ve worked very hard to ensure that what you buy in the bundle is not only 1st-class but also not disabled in any way.
We try very hard at everything we do, ranging from the countless sleepless night we go through pulling the missions together to the efforts we spend putting together top notch bundles. Having something like this situation happen simply hurts our reputation and it’s very unfortunate, given the amount of work we put into everything that is MacHeist.
We know that the support for MacHeist regarding this situation has been overwhelmingly positive throughout the whole ordeal (which we sincerely greatly appreciate), with a few exceptions. But now that you’ve all been given a chance to hear our side of the story (at least whatever we’re allowed to reveal), we hope that we’ll be supported unanimously here.
Thanks for your patience and stay tuned for further developments. We may be a bit quiet for a while but we will report back as we have more information that we’re allowed to share...
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