Mac users love their apps, there is no doubt about it. There are sites out there dedicated to finding and posting hundreds of mac apps or updates a day and we eat it up. Also, there are several groups that take this process a bit farther. They are the ones who offer application bundles.
A bundle is a group of applications which you can buy together for one fee, usually some where in the neighborhood of $50 for 10 or so apps.
The most popular bundle group are the folks of MacHeist. Recently they ran their second bundle event selling several pricey applications for only $50. MacHeist came under a lot of heat form several different members of the web community for thier opperations, all questioning the ethics of running a bundle program.
There are several issues that arrise with bundled software, here is a list of a few:
As the bundle host, you cheat the software developers by luring them with new clients
Sure most developers sign a contract and probably know what they are getting into, many may be broadsided by the appeal of new clientele, but at a dire cost.
As a developer, if you sell you app for $25 you only see about 1% of that revenue when your app is sold in a bundle
The money spent on bundles don't go to the developers who worked so hard on the app and is now agreeing to sell it so inexpensively. No, most of the revenue goes to MacHeist and in more disproportionate amounts as more bundles are sold.
The new clients of apps expect software support that they didn't necessarily pay for.
Typically when you buy a piece of software a part of that cost is earmarked for updates and support. As a user you expect that the app will get updated with new features. You also expect to have your problems handled in a timely fashion. After bundles developers are flooded with many new customers who didn't exactly purchase that inherent support, but expect it anyway.
Buying apps in bundles devalues the overall indie development community
The indie development community for Apple developers is small and it is hard to make a good revenue from great apps. Learning the ways of coding for mac is still a niche skill and when apps are sold for extremely low prices it devalues overall perception of Mac software in general. People start to believe that maybe $20 it too much for an app and expect low prices when the app is worth so much more
App developers get more exposure
Some apps sold in bundles are underexposed and it is a good way for developers to get their name out there
There is money in upgrades
Developers have the opportunity not only to sell the app itself, but also gain extra revenue in selling updates to that app
Some money goes to charity
In the case of MacHeist some of the money raised in selling the bundle goes to different charitable organizations
The pros and cons listed above are only a few examples that come to mind, Im sure you can think of a few more. So I would like to know what the NewsVine community has to say on this issue.
Is is ethical to sell apps in a bundle? Is it ethical to buy a bundle from a group like MacHeist?
What do you think?