Tag Archives: clipstart

Mac App Store developer survey

DevMate surveyed 679 Mac developers to put together a report on who is using the Mac App Store vs. selling direct, what concerns developers have, which tools they use, and more. On why developers leave the Mac App Store:

If you’re thinking giving away 30% of your hard-earned revenue is the deal-breaker, you’d be surprised. Revenue share is not the main reason developers flee. The main reason is the long and unclear App Review process, closely followed by revshare and the absence of trial versions.

While sandboxing does show up on the complaint list, it’s ranked low as a reason to not use the Mac App Store, even though it was why I pulled my app Clipstart from the Mac App Store 4 years ago. And not much has changed since I wrote about Sketch and other apps leaving the Mac App Store last year.

For anyone who has been following blog posts and conference talks about the Mac App Store, there won’t be many surprises in this new survey, but I found the details interesting. The survey appears to be a good snapshot of how the Mac community is feeling about selling software.

Too late to save the MAS?

You’ve probably heard the news about Sketch. I found this section of their announcement the most interesting, because it highlights that this isn’t just about technical and strategic problems with the Mac App Store, but also about having a direct relationship with the customer to provide the best experience:

“Over the last year, as we’ve made great progress with Sketch, the customer experience on the Mac App Store hasn’t evolved like its iOS counterpart. We want to continue to be a responsive, approachable, and easily-reached company, and selling Sketch directly allows us to give you a better experience.”

Of course, Sketch joins a growing list of apps unavailable in the store. From John Gruber:

“Sketch isn’t the first big name professional app to be pulled from the Mac App Store (Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit, Panic’s Coda, Quicken, just to name a few). But Sketch is the poster child for Mac App Store era professional Mac software. It’s the sort of app Apple might demo in a keynote — and the winner of an Apple Design Award.”

Federico Viticci writes that Apple has to do something:

“The simple reality is that, gradually, developers of the best apps for OS X are finding it increasingly hard to justify doing business on the Mac App Store. I hope Apple also sees this as a problem and starts doing something about it.”

Daniel and I talked about this on Core Intuition recently. Developers have been complaining about the Mac App Store for years without seeing any progress. It was over 3 years ago that I pulled my app Clipstart from the Mac App Store to sell direct-only instead, because of my concerns about adapting to sandboxing.

All this time, Apple could have been iterating on the Mac App Store, improving sandboxing entitlements, improving review times, customer interaction, and more. Yet they have not. At this point, Apple can’t just do “something”. They can’t just improve the Mac App Store a little. They have to significantly improve it, addressing many issues at once. And even then, some of these great apps — Sketch, BBEdit, Coda, RapidWeaver — may not come back.

Two weeks notice: new products

Tonight I worked on some bug fixes to one of the new apps I hope to ship for Riverfold Software. I have just a handful of beta users, but got some good feedback and bug reports last week, things I want to address before opening it up to more users.

When I think of the in-progress apps that I can ship soon to help increase revenue, there are really only 2:

  • Clipstart 2.0, which will be renamed Sunlit for Mac, to complement the iPhone version.
  • Unannounced microblogging-related web app, which may also come with iPhone and Mac apps.

The problem with Sunlit for Mac is that I’m requiring 10.11 El Capitan. So no matter how much progress I make on it, I can’t ship it until Apple releases their next version of Mac OS X. I want to chip away at the new features, but I can’t spend all of my time on it yet. I need to focus attention on projects that have a chance of bringing in additional revenue in the very near future, not by the end of the year.

So the microblogging app — the one I worked on tonight — keeps coming to the front. Since it’s mostly a web app, it has the least number of external API and App Store dependencies that would hold it up. I can ship the core functionality whenever it’s ready. The sooner I get it out the door, the sooner I’ll know if it’s something I can count on as business income.

Yosemite toolbars

Jason Snell writes about some of the inconsistencies in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, such as how only a few of Apple’s own apps use the new combined title bar / toolbar style:

“It makes me wonder if Apple was initially enthusiastic about this approach, then realized it wasn’t applicable to many situations, and rather than abandoning it just decided to live with the inconsistency. There’s certainly no clear, this-is-the-future signal.”

I don’t hate the new style, but that does seem like the fundamental problem with it: it can’t possibly be used for all apps, especially those with lots of toolbar buttons. I considered it for the next version of Clipstart, but it’s not really a compelling enough change to risk breaking things that already work well.

MAS to Clipstart 1.5 upgrade

Despite everything I said about how easy it would be for customers to upgrade from the Mac App Store version of Clipstart to the direct download version, in the real world this doesn’t appear to be working well for some customers. Might be a little buggy, and it’s too late to fix anything in the Mac App Store. So I’m doing upgrades the old-fashioned way, giving everyone new serial numbers.

After the first few emails came in, I automated this with a simple form that customers can fill out. It’ll give them a new serial number right away and email the registration information. I’ve added a link in the FAQ on the Clipstart home page too.

MAS: there and back again

Gabe at Macdrifter comments on the shift back to direct download for 1Password:

“I recall the massive forum discussion about the decision to take 1Password MAS only. I converted to the MAS version in March to get on-board with their product roadmap. Now I see that it is available again as a direct download purchase and @roustem confirms it will receive the next update soon.”

I’ve never liked the idea of being exclusive to the Mac App Store. I don’t think any of those transitions — from 1Password to Pixelmator — were good for users, especially when customers had to re-purchase a product they already owned. I hope sandboxing will at least make more developers think twice about pinning their business to the Mac App Store.

The blog post continues with this point, and all the good and bad that comes with it:

“This is the MAS as I see it: It is not for utility apps or power users. Apps like 1Password, TextExpander and Keyboard Maestro should all be purchased directly from the developers site. The MAS is for people afraid of using a computer.”

In other words: it’s good for some users and some apps, and not others. And that’s okay. I have no regrets about pulling Clipstart from the Mac App Store. I think of my app as pretty easy to use, but it’s for people who get file systems and tagging and uploads. Most definitely not for people afraid of using a computer.

Clipstart 1.5

Today I released Clipstart 1.5 for direct download customers and removed the previous version of Clipstart from the Mac App Store. Even though I’ve written about leaving the Mac App Store several times, actually pulling the trigger was difficult. But I believe it’s the right thing for my app, right now.

Clipstart 1.5 is still $29. Changes for this release:

  • Now requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Please do not upgrade to this version if you are running 10.5 or 10.6.

  • Added “Consolidate” command for finding videos that have not been imported or duplicates outside the library.

  • Added AppleScript support for uploading videos. See the help menu for scripting examples.

  • Improved performance throughout the app, especially with importing and refreshing video thumbnails.

  • Improved error message when failing to import all videos from a camera.

  • Fixed tags field on Add Folder dialog not resetting tags value after an import.

  • Support for Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper security.

If you’ve been thinking about buying Clipstart but were on the fence before, I’ll throw in a discount for you. Use coupon code MANTONBLOG to save 20%.

Growing list of apps leaving MAS

TextExpander 4 shipped this week, and with the update it breaks from the Mac App Store and instead requires customers to buy directly. TextExpander is the first popular app I’ve seen to do it.

Moom is another one that actively encourages users to move away from the store. Recently on launch Moom displayed a news window that included this:

“Apple has activated sandboxing on the Mac App Store; under the sandboxing rules, we can no longer add new features to the App Store version of Moom (we can only fix bugs). However, we have a method by which you can migrate (at no cost) to our direct sales version of Moom, which has no such limitations. For details on how sandboxing affects our apps, and how to migrate to the direct sales version, please read this article on our blog.”

Even Panic – frustrated with the long approval times for Coda 2.0.1 – is experimenting with how best to let Mac App Store customers migrate to the direct version. See this tweet and screenshot from Cabel Sasser.

This has been a theme on the last couple episodes of Core Intuition. Daniel Jalkut and I talked about how we feel about sandboxing after WWDC, and more on my decision to migrate Clipstart out of the store. Things are getting better in Mountain Lion, and I’ll revisit my decision next year, but for now I think I made the right call to focus on work outside the Mac App Store.

(And if you haven’t listened to the podcast recently, check out the new episodes and subscribe. We’re now a weekly podcast!)

Clipstart 1.4.2 (on MAS)

Just approved in the Mac App Store, Clipstart 1.4.2 fixes upload issues with YouTube and especially Vimeo, which was broken in previous releases because of Vimeo API changes. I expect this to be the final Mac App Store release for Clipstart. As I blogged about before, all Mac App Store customers can upgrade to the direct download version for free.

Here’s what you should do if you bought Clipstart from the Mac App Store:

  • Update to Clipstart 1.4.2 using the App Store app.

  • Run Clipstart at least once, then quit it. This allows it to copy the Mac App Store receipt so that it’s accessible to other versions of the app.

  • Download the latest version from the main Clipstart web site and replace the existing copy in your Applications folder with the direct download.

And if you’re thinking about buying Clipstart for the first time, please get it directly from the web site and checkout via PayPal. There’s also a demo with support for 2 uploads and tagging 20 videos.

I’m now turning my attention to version 1.5, which will improve a few things and add support for Gatekeeper on Mountain Lion.

Clipstart 1.4.2

I released a small bug fix update to Clipstart today, version 1.4.2, to fix an issue with YouTube uploads when using your Gmail address sign-in instead of the YouTube account username. This version should also show up in the Mac App Store after it goes through Apple’s approval process. You can see the full release notes for recent bug fixes here.

As I said earlier this year, there will only be a couple more releases of Clipstart in the Mac App Store. My current plan is to switch completely over to direct-only sales with version 1.5. The new versions run without prompting for registration if you’ve already purchased and run a copy from the Mac App Store.

Sandboxing follow-up

The day after I “wrote about removing Clipstart from the Mac App Store”:http://www.manton.org/2012/02/sandboxing_and_clipstart.html, Apple announced that the sandboxing requirement would be delayed again. In that announcement was also a new twist: sandboxing would not be required for bug fix updates to existing apps.

This is welcome news, but I stand by my post. I still plan to transition Clipstart away from the MAS. The difference now is that I can do it at my own pace, providing a new version or two to MAS customers that will make the move easier.

I’ve already gotten started. Clipstart 1.4 just shipped with a few new features and better support for recognizing MAS receipt files. I’ve also submitted it to the Mac App Store, where it is waiting for review.

It’s not clear where we are going to end up with sandboxing. “Quoted in Macworld’s coverage”:http://www.macworld.com/article/165502/2012/02/sandbox_deadline_delayed_yet_again_to_june_1.html, Paul Kafasis suggests that sandboxing is so flawed that Apple should just scrap the whole thing.

“Michael Tsai talks about”:http://mjtsai.com/blog/2012/02/20/sandboxing-and-clipstart/ all the work that is required to stay in the store. He closes with something that I’ve been thinking about:

“At each step of the way, it looks like just a little more work to get into the Mac App Store, or to stay there. Until the next issue pops up. And then, if you’re successful, you’re sort of locked into it due to the reasonable expectations of your many customers.”

This lock-in creates two immediate problems with leaving the Mac App Store:

  • What about customers who may have originally bought the app directly from me, but decided to “upgrade” to the Mac App Store version? I’m sure I only have a few of these, but it’s still unfortunate if someone bought the app twice. I’m just glad I didn’t follow the lead of MAS-exclusive developers, such as “Pixelmator’s effort to encourage customers”:http://www.pixelmator.com/blog/2011/01/06/transition-to-the-mac-app-store/ to switch to the MAS.

  • How do current Mac App Store customers get notified that there is a new version available outside the store? Sparkle is not allowed in the MAS, but I think the right thing to do here is provide a similar notification in the app. It would link to a web page with instructions for downloading the app directly.

I’ll admit I have some regret leaving the Mac App Store. It’s just so convenient for purchasing and installation. If I’m going to make this work, I’ll have to redesign my own rather clunky purchase and activation experience. And I’ll have to do a much better job of marketing, something that has not been easy with Clipstart.

Sandboxing and Clipstart

I wrote a draft of this post a few weeks ago, before Mac OS X Mountain Lion was announced. It was pretty critical of Apple’s aggressive approach to sandboxing, and I’ve kept most of that, but the new Gatekeeper feature for Mountain Lion at least gives me a way out. I don’t think Apple would have created Gatekeeper if they planned to abandon apps sold outside of the Mac App Store.

For the next release of my app Clipstart, I will be removing it from the Mac App Store and only selling directly from my web site. With Gatekeeper I hope to have some confidence that my customers will still be able to run the app on future versions of the OS.

But let’s take a step back, to a good blog post from Craig Hockenberry on moving xScope to use sandboxing. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that what works for one app may be unsuitable for another. Craig touches on this with an example from Panic’s Transmit:

“Of course there are some applications that have a harder time than others: primarily if those apps require access to all or part of the filesystem (think about syncing data with Transmit, for example.)”

Clipstart also falls into the same “needs to access the whole file system” category as Transmit. It’s not just one feature; the whole app is based on the fact that it can point to video files anywhere on the system, or manage your video library in a central location on any hard drive. These are things that are difficult to do in the sandbox, but even worse, I don’t see a clear path forward for existing customers to move into such a restrictive environment.

Maybe I could file bugs with Apple for exemptions, and reduce the functionality of my app to fit within the limits of the sandbox, but I’ve made the decision that it is just not worth it. I would much rather spend 100% of the time I have for Clipstart on new features only, not playing catch-up with Apple.

Atlassian has made a similar decision for their app SourceTree. On the sandboxing restrictions:

“The trouble is, the sandboxing implementation currently in place on Mac OS X Lion doesn’t allow for all the behaviours that real Mac applications do _right now_, behaviours which are not at all contentious, are approved in the Mac App Store already, and indeed are very much appreciated by users.”

Daniel Jalkut continues this argument, saying that sandboxing could be good for developers, if only the current entitlements weren’t so very incomplete. That’s true. But we can only make decisions based on what entitlements and APIs are there today, and today it’s not enough.

I will try to make this casualty of sandboxing as painless as possible for Clipstart customers. I will honor Mac App Store receipt files so that everyone can migrate to new versions of the app. And I’ll provide extra serial numbers to anyone who asks, for fresh installs on machines that never had the Mac App Store version.

Clipstart has turned out to not be a very good fit for the Mac App Store anyway. It’s the kind of app that you need to download and try out before committing your whole video library to it. Sandboxing is just the latest and most significant in a series of frustrations with the MAS.

For my customers, sandboxing isn’t actually a feature; it’s a bottleneck to getting work done. I can’t justify spending any time on it. I already have a product and platform (Tweet Library for iOS) where I can play the app review game. I want my Mac app to be a break from that, with a total focus on making the app better and a release schedule and feature set that I control.

So it was a relief to hear about Gatekeeper. I don’t want pulling Clipstart from the MAS to automatically doom the product, and now I don’t think it will. Instead of shying away from features that won’t work in the sandbox, I can even embrace them as a competitive advantage. I’m more excited than ever to get back to Mac development without this decision and chilling effect hanging over my head.

Mac App Store follow-up

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. First the good news: “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ is in the Mac App Store. Overall I was very happy with the response and glad to have a new way for customers to find the app.

I’ve received a bunch of good feedback on “my blog post about Apple’s 30% cut”:http://www.manton.org/2011/01/app_store_30_cut.html. A few people are really upset with Apple, and there are posts in the dev forums about Mac apps that still weren’t approved for one reason or another weeks after the store launched. Other developers keep quiet, either for fear of rocking the boat or because they are happy with their sales and don’t see a significant problem.

And then there’s most of us who know Apple can do even better. We’re frustrated when an app (not just our own) is rejected or stuck in review indefinitely, but we just accept that things are a little dysfunctional and cross our fingers that maybe Apple will magically become more transparent.

But it’s not going to happen by itself. It’s not going to happen because the culture of Apple under Steve Jobs is secrecy. Apple is about great products, sure, but they’re so obsessed with the big reveal that it weakens their communication with developers.

From a “MacSB mailing list post about WWDC”:http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/macsb/message/18055 by Dave Howell, written back in February:

“Second, Apple employees are no longer allowed to talk about anything. In the past, half of the value of WWDC was talking directly to the folks who wrote the OS frameworks you have questions about. But now the answer to any question is always either ‘file a bug’ or ‘send an email to devprograms@apple.com.’ They’re all under a gag order.”

The baffling part is that many of the problems in the App Store process are easily solvable. The iTunes Connect team could, for example, make it a priority to answer all email. I don’t know what the organizational structure is over there, and I’m sympathetic to what must be a flood of app submissions, but it doesn’t feel like App Store support gets the same quality treatment that Developer Technical Support does.

Contrast with “Gus Mueller’s point on Twitter”:http://twitter.com/ccgus/status/24200147764256768:

“I’m with you on the 30% + silence issue. With PayPal, they’ll call me back when I email them with problems or questions.”

“Michael Tsai echoes this”:http://mjtsai.com/blog/2011/01/09/mac-app-store-unanswered-questions/ on his blog:

“The main value of Apple’s 30% cut is access to a larger market, but it still doesn’t look good that companies such as PayPal, eSellerate, and E-junkie charge much less and provide great service. I can e-mail or call those companies and get answers right away.”

Good support takes extra resources and it costs money. Luckily Apple has both, and that’s why drawing attention to Apple’s 30% cut was key to my original argument. Developers are playing by Apple’s rules and helping to fund the App Store.

Despite all this, I’m upbeat. In 2011 I want to look for ways that I can help Apple succeed, such as filing bugs. For years I swore off bothering, because it took so long to turn around a fix, if ever, and I had long since worked around a bug and moved on. iOS changes that delay because it improves so significantly every single year.

I’m all for “praising Apple when it’s deserved”:http://www.marco.org/2011/02/04/ode-to-the-app-review-team, but history shows that Apple improves the App Store when people complain. My posts are negative when it’s warranted and worth paying attention to.

The App Store is getting better. (I love that the Resolution Center is there even if I hope to never need to use it.) The writing is on the wall that a year from now most apps will be distributed through the Mac App Store, and the savings and independence of direct download sales won’t be worth the maintenance of two separate forms of distribution for many developers. But if Apple holds all the cards in this relationship, then we must hold Apple to a very high standard.

Clipstart is not iPhoto

I get a lot of great feedback about “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/. There’s value in almost every feature request, even the ones I don’t plan to directly implement. Some people also suggest that I should copy more from iPhoto. While I understand this — they want a familiar interface — it has always been my goal to be different than iPhoto. Why?

Two main reasons:

  • iPhoto never quite worked for me, and only by being different can you hope to be better. I took a few things that iPhoto did poorly (like tagging, video playback, and upload) and built the entire interface around them.

  • If I just created a clone of iPhoto but for videos, Apple could expand the video support in iPhoto one day and I would be left with nothing. If my app grows in a completely different direction, however, then even if they add video support to iPhoto my app will still appeal to people who aren’t satisfied with iPhoto’s approach.

I know I’m on to something because when I show the app to a certain type of person (who has thousands of short videos, or no quick way to share them) their eyes light up. It’s now just a matter of pumping out new versions to refine the interface and fill in the missing pieces. I have major features planned for the next few dot release (1.4, 1.5, and 1.6) to try to give customers as much value as I can, and execute on the potential for the application.

Both Aperture 3 and Lightroom 3 now have video support, but I’m not too worried. There’s plenty of room between iLife and $199/$299 for Clipstart to carve out a customer base.

iPad

My quote from “Cult of Mac”:http://www.cultofmac.com/i-have-been-hit-by-a-love-taser-devs-speak-out-on-ipad/28435 sums up my feelings about the iPad from a business perspective:

“I was so annoyed with the closed nature of the App Store that I stopped developing for the iPhone. The iPad will still have those frustrations, but the large screen opens up a whole new class of applications. It’s impossible to resist.”

Will there be a “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ for iPad? I hope so. This platform will be the future for plenty of customers. Apple lived up to the hype not because of the hardware or distribution or anything entirely revolutionary, but because of the software. Splitviews and popovers. Keynote and Pages. These apps are just as competent as their desktop versions.

Daniel and I talked about the iPad for most of “Core Intuition 26”:http://www.coreint.org/2010/02/episode-26-theres-a-pad-for-that/.

ParseKit (and Clipstart search)

The first couple versions of “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ had a very basic search feature. You could enter keywords and it would search filenames, tags, and video titles. You could also enter special terms such as tags=christmas or imported=today, but you couldn’t mix and match different terms together.

When I started working on a more advanced search parser, I realized that I was about to write a bunch of code that surely someone had already generalized and shared with the world. Tada! “ParseKit”:http://parsekit.com/ by Todd Ditchendorf is that framework.

Clipstart 1.3 now supports these kind of searches:

christmas and (@julian or @kids)

also…

(uploaded=no and flagged=yes) or (date=2010 and @vacation)

I use ParseKit’s tokenizer to take these apart and then I translate to SQL myself for SQLite. New in 1.3, Clipstart also allows saving any search as a “smart tag” for quick access. I’m very happy with how well it’s working.

Why not use “NSPredicate”:http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/documentation/cocoa/reference/Foundation/Classes/NSPredicate_Class/Reference/NSPredicate.html and friends? I wanted more control over the parser, for example for the @kids shorthand for tags. Eventually I’ll have a more traditional NSPredicateEditor-like UI for managing searches, but I find that text input is a much quicker way to find things in my video library.

Clipstart 1.2.4

Clipstart 1.2.4 is done! It’s a minor bug fix update but includes dozens of small improvements (and some not so small, if you’re measuring not with new UI but in number of lines of code changed). I’m very happy with this release and excited to move on to some other new features in the works for 1.3 and beyond. “Download and more info”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/.

And because I don’t have anything else of substance related to Clipstart to talk about yet, I’ll leave you with “this Buzz Andersen quote”:http://log.scifihifi.com/post/159881723/the-twitter-app-to-use-on-android-im-told-is about quality:

“Shipping quality is a longer, tougher road than just shipping whatever to be first to market, and its benefits tend to be realized more slowly, but if you want users to love your software as a brand, and not merely use it as a commodity, it’s the only way.”

I’m not there yet, but yeah, well said.

Clipstart duplicates

Clipstart 1.0 tried to be smart about not importing videos that were already in your library, but it stopped short of actually giving you much control over whether to import duplicates or ignore them. I also felt like the window showing duplicates could be improved to provide more information about each file. At a glance you should be able to tell if Clipstart is doing the right thing.

So I put a lot of effort into this for the soon-to-be-released Clipstart 1.2.4, and the result is this window:

Duplicates dialog

It generates a few frames of the timeline for each video (both old and new file side by side), which turns out to be an excellent way to confirm that they are indeed the same file, and also shows the original filename even after Clipstart (or the user) has renamed it. Now I can scan through the window in about 2 seconds and I’m done. Contrast with iPhoto which prompts after each video is imported, instead of at the end of the batch, and if you blindly trust it by checking “Apply to all duplicates” then you have no feedback on whether you made the right choice.

The new duplicates window works with both volume-based cameras like the Flip and SD cards, as well as USB devices such as the iPhone 3GS and iPod Nano. I hope to ship version 1.2.4 soon, and there’s a “beta in the forums”:http://www.riverfold.com/forums/topic.php?id=49.

Update: As pointed out by a customer, Ignore and Keep are actually pretty confusing verbs here. I’ve changed it to “Skip Duplicates” and “Import Duplicates” for the final release.

Feedback about lost sales

“Great post by Jason Cohen”:http://blog.asmartbear.com/blog/put-down-the-compiler-until-you-learn-why-theyre-not-buying.html on why you need feedback about the real reason people aren’t buying your product:

“You need to talk with the people who were interested enough to find your website, read your marketing copy, download your product, and then _give up without even an email_. That’s the low-hanging fruit; those are the people who are _in your grasp_, who should be buying _today_, but aren’t.”

I fall into this trap quite often, of pretending I know what the product needs for sales to finally take off. So I’ll add all the features I hope customers want, or I’ll make a small change and see if sales improve. But the truth is that there are so many variables in this system that it’s difficult to know which change made the difference.

As an example, I decided recently that I was being too generous with the demo limits in “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/, so in the 1.2.1 release I turned them down a little. Instead of letting you tag 30 videos and upload 3 for free, it’s down to 20 videos and 2 uploads. The idea is to just do a little bit more to encourage users to buy the software when they are first trying it out and like it, rather than waiting a month until they decide to use it again.

Sales have been up the last week, so this worked, right? Maybe not. Clipstart has a review in this month’s print edition of Macworld, so it’s possible the sales are up because of that. Or because a couple of my blog posts have been linked more heavily recently. Or for any number of other reasons.

Unless you measure why the product doesn’t sell, success will be based on luck and intuition, which only go so far. I’m looking forward to reading Jason’s next post.

Better is the best marketing

“Gus Mueller”:http://gusmueller.com/blog/archives/2009/08/setting_the_right_priorities.html, in response to a post from Joel Spolsky:

“If no one is buying your app then you’ve either got a dud and you need to focus on something else, or you need to improve your app so it’s worth paying for.”

I hinted at this in “my last post about new Clipstart features”:http://www.manton.org/2009/08/clipstart_12_ships.html. When Clipstart 1.0 launched and sales were lower than I had secretly hoped, the feedback was still so encouraging that it was obvious I had to keep rolling out new versions. Release 1.1, a month later. Release 1.2, which is “shipping today”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/.

Some products are just easier to sell than others. For Wii Transfer, people enter “music wii mac” in Google and then a few minutes later they are clicking the Buy button on my web site. But with Clipstart, even though I believe it to be a superior product, it’s going to take work and marketing and word-of-mouth and demo coaxing and making it so good that you’d be nuts to shoot video and not have it installed.