Mac Online Distribution System Mac Devs use to sell OS X Apps?

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
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Greater Seattle, WA
All feedback is appreciated. This thread is directed towards lone developers and small companies making a living off of selling Mac Leopard and Snow Leopard Apps. Just let me know how you host and sell your Mac Leopard or Snow Leopard Apps, whether it is self-done, or if done through a distribution system - what is the system you use and what do you think of it so far? Thanks very much! Kagi is an example of one for Mac and PC ( http://shop.kagi.com/ ), and for just PC SteamPoweredGames is very popular ( http://store.steampowered.com/ ).

I'm getting into Mac app development and was wondering what avenues developers use to distribute their paid apps (Mac NOT iPod/iPhone)? Truthfully I just want a cheap way to sell Mac apps, without the hassles of self-distribution and worrying about handling payments and payment systems myself. I have done this before, it is a big headache. iTunes does not host and sell Mac apps like they do for iPod/iPhone apps, although it is arguable that could be a bad thing [if they did]. I have a wife and two kids, so I have to make a living somehow :)

Plus I don't really have too much money after buying a Mac and an ADC Select Membership. You know so I can't go the 'paid advertising' and 'retail store' route of selling Mac apps. That is like 'Million Dollar Corporate' money, not 'little ol me' money :)
 

kainjow

Moderator emeritus
Jun 15, 2000
7,958
5
For managing sales, I used Kagi when I was independent. I haven't stayed up-to-date with them for several years, but they are one of the originals.

I also worked with a company who used eSellerate. I didn't do too much with it but did see a little how it worked.

As for distribution, you're kind of on your own. However, you might find Bodega interesting (I've never used it).

Be sure to keep your app updated on sites like MacUpdate and VersionTracker.

That's all I can think of for now, but again I haven't dealt with any of this for several years so I may behind the times.

Good luck :)
 

rowsdower

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2009
269
1
I have no idea how it is from a developer's perspective, but from a user's perspective I have never had a problem with Kagi.
 

forcesteeler

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
275
565
Well everyone is waiting for apple to come out with some kind of Tablet PC with a App Store.

I Like the Itunes Distribution Model in which Apple Handles the Payments, delivery,Hosting, etc..

I Hope they can make a similar model for MAC OSX Applications soon.
 

forcesteeler

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
275
565
If Apple did that it would do far more harm than good.

I used to agree with you but the more I think about it the more I think it would be an extremely bad business decision on Apples part if they did do it.
Not Really. The Centralized Model is Perfect idea. Customers tend to spend more money and they like to go to 1 place and shop for all there needs.

This is the reason why Wallmart and http://www.amazon.com is so big because you can buy Food, TV, DVD's, Games, Jewelry, Drug supplies,etc.. all in 1 place. unlike a few years ago where you would have to travel to many stores.

Same Revolution is happening in software industry. Instead of spending money on Hosting, Advertising, Payment Processor,etc.. Upload your product to 1 place like (Itunes) where all your customers can see your product instead of them going to different websites to look for it.

This is the Reason why Itunes and the APP Store is so successful They follow the Wallmart Centralized Model.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
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Greater Seattle, WA
If Apple did that it would do far more harm than good.

I used to agree with you but the more I think about it the more I think it would be an extremely bad business decision on Apples part if they did do it.
I think it would be fine as long as Apple didn't go nuts and 'take over', but they tend to do that so you may be right. I'm just hoping that someone 'gets it right' and creates a distribution system that is very popular but doesn't necessarily monopolize. It doesn't have to be Apple/iTunes.

Again if you go to SteamPoweredGames.com or have a PC and download their client, they have done a great job at this and didn't try to 'take over' (although it is only games, so they couldn't really 'take over').

FYI there is a mirroring thread on this here when I originally asked a different but very similar question (before posting to the programming forum) https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=818368

Anyone know how to get on this list ( http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/
)?
I mean if anyone actually has apps on the list or has tried previously to get their app on the list please shed some light for me. Thanks! :)
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
581
208
Greater Seattle, WA
There was a discussion on this topic last month actually.
I tried searching the forums, I guess the keywords I had in mind were different and the search didn't bring anything up. Ah thanks, awesome. Well the new feedback is great too, definitely some suggestions not in that other thread. I must have missed the link for submitting on Apple's Downloads page. :)

You can already submit your app for listing on Apple's Downloads web page.

http://www.apple.com/downloads/

The link for submitting apps is near the bottom of the page, labeled "Submit Downloads".

This area of the Apple site has been around for years. Much longer than the App Store, in fact. If it hasn't spurred development, or been a fabulous way to get your app "discovered", you should ask yourself why not.​
 

GorillaPaws

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2003
930
6
Richmond, VA
I tried searching the forums, I guess the keywords I had in mind were different and the search didn't bring anything up. Ah thanks, awesome. Well the new feedback is great too, definitely some suggestions not in that other thread. I must have missed the link for submitting on Apple's Downloads page. :)
I didn't mean to imply you didn't do your homework, only that the somewhat OT discussion of the merits of an Apple run App store for OSX apps might best be kept to that thread. My concern was trying to keep the discussion here more on topic to your question of what methods of distribution currently exist. Sorry for any confusion.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
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Greater Seattle, WA
My concern was trying to keep the discussion here more on topic to your question of what methods of distribution currently exist.
Yes I agree lets keep on track. People could even reply to the post that I mentioned a few replies ago to my other thread that is more a less a duplicate of the thread you just mentioned.

Yes also if anyone has posted or tried to post their or their company's Mac OS X app to http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/ I would love to hear your feedback!
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
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The Land of Hope and Glory
Again if you go to SteamPoweredGames.com or have a PC and download their client, they have done a great job at this and didn't try to 'take over' (although it is only games, so they couldn't really 'take over').
Imagine if Steam was run by Microsoft and not Valve and then imagine that the whole Windows user base assumed that Steam was the only legitimate way to buy Windows software. Now also assume that some developers for whatever reason couldn't or didn't want to sell their software on Steam. What do you think would happen to their sales?

That is basically what would happen if Apple released a Mac OS X app store.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
581
208
Greater Seattle, WA
That is basically what would happen if Apple released a Mac OS X app store.
But that is not the case with Steam. I said it doesn't have to be Apple. In this Post I'm asking actual Mac OS X devs how they make a living and for general feedback (specifically with regards to hosting, distributing, payment systems, any use of anti-piracy measures, etc). Lets reserve further banter for the other thread(s) such as GorillaPaws suggested (Besides as people in the software industry we should all already know about the histories of Microsoft and Apple since their corporate birth). If I didn't want to deal with the on-again off-again sleazy tactics of the corporate giants I wouldn't be developing for their platforms (however much I would like them not to use such tactics - you can assume I don't want to encourage such behavior).

If someone who is at this moment in time actually making a living off of selling Mac OS X apps and is against online distribution systems of any kind, that is the kind of feedback I would also be interested in, but please respond to me privately or in one of the other two threads: https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=818368 https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=797387
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,625
448
Redondo Beach, California
.
This is the Reason why Itunes and the APP Store is so successful They follow the Wallmart Centralized Model.
Successful only for selling $1 and free apps.

If Apple has to approve your app and can reject any it wants to then just like with the iPhone NO ONE will invest development money in a serious app. Would you risk $10M in development budget without knowing if the app would be rejected?

A soon as to give Apple veto power all you get are simple apps that don't cost much to develop.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
581
208
Greater Seattle, WA
Would you risk $10M in development budget without knowing if the app would be rejected?
Please stop with the banter. ChrisA how do you distribute your paid Mac OS X apps, talk about what you do instead of what you don't do? If distribution systems of any kind are so bad then you must know a better way and it makes you lots of money. ChrisA What was your gross income last year selling Mac OS X apps without using a distribution system? ChrisA why do you even make apps for a company if you despise the tactics they use on some of their products and/or services? Plus all cell phone companies engage in these same brutal tactics with their devices (not sure about the new Android).

And your comment is farce because companies spend over a million dollars on console game budgets and the console manufacturer still has full veto power. In some ways the tactics of companies like Nintendo and Sony are worse than Apple. For iPhone apps you can submit an early stage version of the app to get initial feedback from Apple (just like the console companies do), you don't have to wait till the product is completely done and the budget is mostly gone to submit for initial approval.

And just to put it into perspective, I know the people who made the 'NightVision' app for iPhone, the app was just OK and still sold about 100,000 copies. It only took 2 people 4 days of development time to make. Even at only 99c a copy, those two people still made over $40k after paying Apple's distribution fees and government taxes (both guys are single so the IRS takes alot from them).
 

chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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For iPhone apps you can submit an early stage version of the app to get initial feedback from Apple...
AFAIK, that's not true. When you submit an app, Apple expects it to be complete. If it's approved, it will go directly into the App Store, exactly as submitted. If you don't want to distribute the app you submit for approval, then you better not submit it.

I suppose you could structure development so the first version submitted is simplified in some way, compared to your vision of where the app will eventually go. But I think Apple would still expect it to be complete: no placeholder text, no placeholder images, no invalid URLs, fully conforming to UI guidelines, etc.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
581
208
Greater Seattle, WA
AFAIK, that's not true. When you submit an app, Apple expects it to be complete.
Ah. Yes that is a legitimate concern. Any manufacturer with full veto power on apps has to have an initial submission process. Apple's iTouch/iPhone app submission process is highly flawed then. They should be following Nintendo or Sony's initial submission process. We are still getting off track here :)

What process and systems does everyone use to sell their Mac OS X apps?
 

forcesteeler

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
275
565
Successful only for selling $1 and free apps.

If Apple has to approve your app and can reject any it wants to then just like with the iPhone NO ONE will invest development money in a serious app. Would you risk $10M in development budget without knowing if the app would be rejected?

A soon as to give Apple veto power all you get are simple apps that don't cost much to develop.
I have worked in the Video Game Industry and Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft all have the power to reject your product.
 

CodeJingle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 23, 2009
581
208
Greater Seattle, WA
I have worked in the Video Game Industry and Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft all have the power to reject your product.
Yes. They all have an initial submission process though, which it seems is Apple's biggest flaw in their iTouch/iPhone distribution system.

Though I am most interested in the answer to the question What process and systems does everyone use to advertise, host, distribute, sell, etc. for their Mac OS X apps (I am more interested in people answering this question who are doing this currently for a living as opposed to being out of it for a while)?
 

chown33

Moderator
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Aug 9, 2009
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Here's a recent article on using PayPal as your payment processor.
http://arstechnica.com/web/guides/2...n-e-commerce-site-using-paypal-to-process.ars

Be sure to read the comments for further information and recommendations, e.g. Google Checkout.

I'm not going to advocate or disparage PayPal. I know people who've been hosed, and others who've happily been working with them for years. I also know people who haven't been hosed, but still deal defensively. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data". YMMV.
 

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