Comments on: Lawful Prey http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey Mac & Technology Writings by Daniel Jalkut Wed, 08 Oct 2014 03:07:32 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 By: Daniel Jalkut http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16290 Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:39:39 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16290 And for the record, I also really appreciate and admire several awesome open source projects. I have participated by contributing at least small improvements to a few of them, and I try to make parts of my own code available as open source, whenver I can clean it up enough that I think it’s shareable :)

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By: Daniel Jalkut http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16287 Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:11:58 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16287 Thanks, everybody, for sharing your thoughts. I’m always interested to hear how both customers and other developers feel about the issue.

Thul: I appreciate that $19 is a lot for some people and almost nothing for others. I will have to think about whether I want to do any kind of sales promotions in the hopes of reaching out to people for whom $19 is too much.

However, I don’t think the argument “considering the number of timers that are out there” is really part of the equation. I’m not trying to compete with other timers, really. I’m trying to be the only timer that works the way my customers expect a timer to work. I’ve taken to heart the advice that competing on commodity products is a waste of time (and not a good way to make money).

That said, there are features from other timers that FlexTime should absolutely adopt, but what it does well now is completely unique to it. For those unique featuers, it’s both the cheapest and most expensive option available :)

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By: Thul Dai http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16283 Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:00:14 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16283 I find 19$ a bit stiff and will think long and thoroughly if I will spend that much, also considering the number of timers that are out there.

I’m not trying to discredit your work, it’s just that this is one of many apps I run. If I were to spend almost 20$ on each of them, it would add up to a lot. That is why I like the opensource movement, where I contribute with time/work rather than money.

I would prefer a lower price a lot. Maybe ‘sales week’ might be a good idea (could guarantee you a large and attentive mailing list community or blog readership). Or a lower student prize. Etc.

Lastly, I find the trial period absolutely essential. But 30 days probably should suffice.

Just my two cents. Feel free to ignore.

Cheers, TD
(not in the red zone yet)

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By: Dave Batton http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16035 Sat, 23 Sep 2006 23:08:29 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16035 Just for comparison, I priced Safe Place at $10 back in 2003, and got 24 sales the first month. Since then I’ve been averaging about 350 sales/year. That’s about $3,400/year after PayPal’s cut. I think I could increase these numbers if I got more updates out the door. Getting updates posted on MacUpdate and VersionTracker is an effective marketing tool.

Even after three years, I still have no idea whether $10 is a good price for the product.

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By: Conor http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16032 Sat, 23 Sep 2006 22:15:22 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16032 Welcome to the $18 dollar club, it has been a number that has treated us well, I hope it does the same for you. The importance of making clear what users are getting for a price is often overlooked. Will you support your product? How long are updates free for? What features are you working on? Being open about these things can have a bigger effect on your sales than price. (Your are quite a vocal person and proud owner of a blog so you have a head start.) I am sure the following statement has a big impact on SuperDuper sales: “back up and clone your drives for free — forever.”

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By: Cameron Bahan http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-16000 Sat, 23 Sep 2006 16:11:32 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-16000 I have been really curious about how others price their shareware apps. I am currently looking to finishing up my latest project, and thus once again started to discuss pricing. We were looking at $15 – its just a small game for kids, not a productivity suite. But is it too low? Maybe $25 would be better? Guess you can always come down in price … going up is harder.

My first, and so far only, shareware piece was a tough call. I looked at it as a neat gadget … a small extra workflow enhancement … so I put it up at $5. I just rounded the year, and managed just over 130 sales – most in the few weeks after an update (and “red zone”). So, while it has been a little slower than I wanted — it was very exciting to see the first sales notices enter my inbox.

One could argue that pricing higher would have caused people to look at it more seriously, still feel it was priced right based on functionality. Personally, I think I set my trial date too long … full 60 days. I was experimenting with integration into the users workflow as being the catch. However, looking back, I think that a shorter trail (if any) would have fitted the product better, specifically because it was priced as it was.

I appreciate your openness about the experience, thanks.

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By: Jason Swain http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-15930 Fri, 22 Sep 2006 21:25:03 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-15930 I started out pricing my app low as the first few versions had less features than I knew it would eventually have. I wanted to get a stable product out there and in use as soon as possible so that I could get feedback. This worked well, but sales were quite slow. When version 2.0 was ready I felt that the features justified a higher price, so I put the price up to $19.95. Sales went up a lot at that stage, I don’t think the price change had any negative effect.

I also think that people realize that you get what you pay for, if an app is priced cheaply don’t expect too much in the way of features or support. You need to set the price so that people take the product seriously. I’ve had a few questions from customers asking if I will keep supporting my software. I think they have been burned in the past by shareware that has been pretty much abandoned. They realize that you need to make money to keep upgrading and supporting the software.

I read an opinion somewhere (but I can’t find the reference now) that $24.95 was the minimum price that you could sell software for and expect to make a living from it, I think there is something in that comment.

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By: Kevin Walzer http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey/comment-page-1#comment-15918 Fri, 22 Sep 2006 17:39:58 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/191/lawful-prey#comment-15918 Pricing is tough, no doubt. I am still trying to work this out in my own software products. My rule of thumb for now is to price according to a product’s place in the market, and to how much pain I think it solves for the user. My most expensive program has less competition and solves more problems than my lower-priced apps. (The high-priced app is right near FlexTime, at $18.75; the others are at $12.50). Since I’ve just introduced a 30-day demo model, I’m not yet at the “red zone.”

I’m already self-employed, and pricing in my other business (book publishing) works a bit differently: I price the books I publish pretty much in line with the market (tilting slightly toward the high end, but not so high as to constitute a premium). It’s easier because there’s pretty much a standard profile for the kind of book I publish. With software, it’s harder. Especially when you consider how extraordinarily price-sensitive many people are about software (they will think nothing of spending $20 for beer and pizza, but not for a program).

Still, I have to agree with you–real sales beat donationware. And if something is only worth selling for $5, maybe it’s not worth selling at all.

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