Phil, what reaction do you expect from developers who aren't involved or turned you down? seriously?
Think about it, here's you guys offering free software and then a killer bundle. At the same time Gus, Rory or whoever else is still trying to sell their software at what he thinks it's worth. From a business POV they have every write to slate you cause you're undercutting them big time.
All the developers who participated will get what they deserve, whether that is good or bad. I don't think they are being screwed because they had no gun to their head. So that argument doesn't hold up to me.
The big danger of all of this is that people will no longer be willing to pay full price for software, they'll be so many maczot and macheist clones that they'll just wait until it comes with a bundle or discount or whatever. $49 for 10 apps, that $39.95 single peice of software from [whoever] doesn't look such a good deal in comparison
The mac shareware scene was rocking long before MacHeist & MacZot and I don't think for one second that MacHeist is good in the long term for mac software. It just devalues it.
I'd much rather see another MDA than another MacHeist. It's far more productive in every sense.
Unlike some other people, I won't try to tell you here that you're wrong. Because you're not necessarily. This is all relatively unproven territory, and undoubtedly the devs involved made their decisions to be involved (say with freebies) with some risk attached. And there is a chance that this may "hurt shareware" in the longterm.
But let me bring up some points.
About freebies. Ever heard of NetNewsWire? It's undoubtedly one of the huge success stories in the Mac shareware world, and its success was in no small part due to an accompanying, totally free, lite version.
The reason? It got people hooked. And then, these people bought the full app. Sure, it caused extra support. Undoubtedly much more during the app's lifespan than a single outing on MacAppADay or MacHeist with a "freebie" build would ever generate. And the same for extra dev time. Brent Simmons had to maintain two builds of his app with each version update. But was it a bad business decision? Hardly. It cemented NetNewsWire as the most popular RSS aggregator app on the Mac, and while arguably better competitors exist, it's been tough for anyone to make a dent in marketshare.
With the freebies developers have been giving out on MacAppADay, MacHeist and MDA, it's like a much more scaled down, toe in the water version of NNW lite. One build. One day of downloads. A terrible business decision? I beg to differ. Yes, I know this isn't a perfect analogy, but it's close enough to make a point I think. (At least, better than groundless number crunching.)
And about "devaluing shareware". I do think what we're doing is creating more MacZot fans, etc. who will be looking for deals. But I'd argue against it hurting shareware overall, for two reasons. First, it's most definitely bringing new customers into the market, who have never purchased shareware before in their lives. Especially Windows switchers, who come from a world where shareware is a dirty word. (I know this, because I've gotten literally dozens of emails about this over the course of this event.) And this is a good thing. Everyone benefits.
Second, is it hurting developers as a whole, or perhaps just redistributing the wealth a bit? People who have been weighing in, including Gus Mueller of VoodooPad and Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba, are sitting at the peak of the mountain, and are seeing potential customers springing for cheaper competitors looking for a better deal. I think people are buying more apps, and spending more on shareware, with a slight difference: they might be starting to buy more smaller apps, from lesser known developers on sites like MacZot, vs. paying in full for more "popular", well-known apps that don't require a zot for sales. In other words, things seem to be balancing out a little bit to me, and I don't see that as a negative thing. And of course, hell, if Gus and Paul are seeing their sales skyrocket, all the better.
One thing I do want to emphasize, however, is that undoubtedly this is good for the smaller developers climbing up the mountain, who are fighting for exposure.
It's tough getting exposure when you're new. Seriously. If you have a great product on your hands, don't sit back, waiting for an award, or word of mouth to spontanously explode. Because it's probably not going to happen. (It could, it's just unlikely.) The next step is getting the word out, and for smaller developers without a huge advertising budget, sites like MacZot are a great place to start.
I mean, hey, I totally see why Paul or Gus might raise a fuss about it. Because, probably, in their place, I would too. Remember, I would probably call myself a marketer, and what they're doing is great marketing. By putting themselves on a pedestal and pointing their fingers at us as the fall of Mac shareware, they're getting press coverage, seeing sales spikes, and best of all, totally for free, riding on MacHeist's success. Call me cynical, but that's how I see it.
But the thing is, I don't know for sure what's going to happen. And so far, there's been a lot of finger pointing without hard facts. But the only hard facts I know, are that we ARE bringing in new people into the market, and we ARE getting existing customers excited about shareware again. So hey, that's something.
Co-Creator of MacHeist, Clear, Partner at tap tap tap | follow me on twitter