Distributing apps on the Mac App Store is definitely an interesting prospect for Mac developers. I have seen many highly regarded Mac app developers backing the initiative almost immediately after the announcement saying their apps would be available on the App Store at launch. No wonder: imagine the amount of people who have never even thought about downloading an app that will suddenly discover all the great apps that they’ve been missing. As we’ve seen from the iOS App Store, the one-click simplicity of purchasing, downloading and installing apps makes them so much more accessible to the common user. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft creates an app store of their own soon.
When news got out that the Mac App Store was a reality, some speculated that developers could decide to price their apps differently on the App Store than on their own websites because of the 70/30 cut for app sales revenues. I was intrigued by this possibility but didn’t consider it until recently.
Selling my apps on the App Store
I have decided to try something: selling my apps on the App Store for a small amount of money while keeping them free on my website for anyone to download. This could be seen as some kind of variation on the “different pricing for different stores” strategy I talked about in the previous paragraph, but instead of a developer charging say, 12$ on his website and 15$ on the App Store, I’ll be charging 0$ (nothing) on my website and 2$ on the App Store.
Developing applications takes time and hard work. Even more so maintaining them and supporting them in the long run. As I am currently studying software engineering, I’ve been pretty much booked since I first published my apps back in April 2010. Still, I’ve been able to publish two apps that I’m very proud of and I have received great feedback, feature requests and bug reports from many of you.
As much as I like to give to the community, there are some fees that I must pay to make that possible (website hosting, domain names, Mac Developer Program membership, etc.). I don’t really care if I’m not making a profit with my apps because they aren’t meant for that. I created them for myself in the first place, then decided to polish and publish them. One thing that’s a bit uncool though is if I’m losing money publishing my apps, which is currently the case (donations have alleviated that a bit, thanks so much!).
I really don’t mean this as a cry for help; I simply don’t want to begin charging for apps that have been available for free thus far and screw my current users, while I would also like to compensate for some of the fees that I have to pay in order to make my projects work.
The App Store seems like a great way to do this and keep everyone happy.
What do you think about this strategy? Do you think it’ll work? Do you think it’s fair? Tell me in the comments. Take care!