The eCommerce side of our apps

So, I’m getting closer to release etc. and been trawling the old forums and other stuff. I can handle all the registration and payments by myself or involve services such as eSellerate or Fastspring. I’m seeing more positiveness for Fastspring at the moment, but I’ll have to decide myself.

As I wander the web, I’m seeing that at least eSellerate appear to have resolved the Previous issues with WIndows and Mac builds, however do they also cover Linux? (I’m not expecting much here but I may get a few sales due to the fact that for my area, it’s a good % that run Linux)?

I also liked what I saw with LimeLM registration schemes, but not sure I like the monthly commitment, wonder if any others had any throughts. My current registration scheme uses the MBS registration scheme with a console app running on AWS which so far so good.

Just would like some real world feedback before I re-invent too much of the wheel?

Thanks, Richard

I can only speak from my experience, but avoid eSellerate, since their take over by Digital River we’ve had numerous problems (weeks where their system wasn’t working, the latest one is their new support system wasn’t sending out e-mail replies to customers, leading customers to believe that eSellerate was either ignoring them or going OOB). Their reporting system used to be good and logical, but the replacement is full of promise, you need to take a course in order to understand it and by default it doesn’t match what they pay you (you can request it be changed!). Their new management team is also inflexible, when we first signed up to eSellerate, they would do their best to accommodate us. Nowadays their management would rather lose you as a customer than go the extra mile to assist.

The only negative thing I’ve heard about Fastspring is that their rates are higher than eSellerate’s.

We’re currently investigating building our own solution, yes it’s going to be hassle and hard work, but it’s the only way we can guarantee that the company won’t be bought and trashed by another company.

In saying that, Paddle.com now also have a system.

If you want to sell to Mac Customers, do what ever it takes to get your application on the Mac App Store. We sell apps via our own site, MAS, Amazon, Paddle.com and others. MAS accounts for the majority of sales.

[quote=17995:@Sam Rowlands]The only negative thing I’ve heard about Fastspring is that their rates are higher than eSellerate’s.

We’re currently investigating building our own solution, yes it’s going to be hassle and hard work, but it’s the only way we can guarantee that the company won’t be bought and trashed by another company.[/quote]

Many thanks Sam for the response. The way I see eSellerate is that they appear to be trying to push you to their myCommerce solution and if I search for pricing on eSellerate, is all I get is “Starting at 7.9%…”

The first year of my lil’ enterprise is more a test bed for what I’m starting to develop as a bigger product so I plan to lean a lot with the smaller software offerings.

MAS is a given for me as well, although I’m very niched.

Regards, Richard

In all honesty, the main advantage of having an alternative sales system to MAS (unless Apple don’t approve your application) is to get into Bundles. For us, software bundles are the second largest source of income after the Mac App Store.

Sam,

How do you get in Bundles? I would love to do Bundles with my software.

Unfortunately I have no secret for getting into bundles, with every bundle we’ve been in, the bundle organizer has been the one that has contacted us.

If I had to guess at a reason, it’s probably is to do with visibility. When we launch an application, we do everything we can to gain visibility (short of paying for ads). This involves issuing press releases, making contact with Mac sites and asking if they would like to do reviews. Contacting the Mac publications and again asking for reviews. We hit our mailing list, our Facebook pages and Twitter feed. As most of our apps are also Photography related we do the same for Photo website and photo magazines.

I’d also suggest that you do your best to make sure that your application looks and feels like a real Mac app. We have many competitors on the Mac App Store who’s apps look and feel like a badly ported Windows app (heck one of them uses Windows dialogs and a window interface), yet none of these appear in bundles (even though Apple has featured one of them).

Give review copies to anyone who feels genuine that asks for one.

We’ve also found that once you can get into one of the big bundles, the other big bundles tend to contact you in the future.

There’s a couple of other Xojo developers who frequently have their apps featured in bundles, perhaps they have some tips too.

There are also “daily deal” websites: Mupromo from Macupdate for instance. It’s relatively easy to participate there.

Sorry for the bump on this. We have a client that’s using LimeLM. They seem to like it and TurboActivate is Real Studio (I’m assuming Xojo too) friendly. It does not have an integrated web store like eSellerate & Kagi but they have examples the tie into Authorize.net, PayPal and others.

BTW, thought this webpage does a great job explaining some of the pitfalls of various licensing schemes. http://wyday.com/limelm/features/why/

I did a little research on Paddle and the feedback from end users doesn’t seem all that good. After that I didn’t pursue it much. If someone has a real life example I’d love to hear their experience.

I’ve had a lot of users really like the Stripe classes addition. It allows for un-branded payment systems, subscriptions, is easy-to-use, and will integrate into iOS apps easily. There is no redirection for payments, or expensive fees, so your user stays on the site and knows instantly that the payment was accepted or denied.

https://forum.xojo.com/13171-stripe-web-desktop-payments-subscriptions-release

[quote=17983:@Richard Gorbutt]So, I’m getting closer to release etc. and been trawling the old forums and other stuff. I can handle all the registration and payments by myself or involve services such as eSellerate or Fastspring. I’m seeing more positiveness for Fastspring at the moment, but I’ll have to decide myself.

As I wander the web, I’m seeing that at least eSellerate appear to have resolved the Previous issues with WIndows and Mac builds, however do they also cover Linux? (I’m not expecting much here but I may get a few sales due to the fact that for my area, it’s a good % that run Linux)?

I also liked what I saw with LimeLM registration schemes, but not sure I like the monthly commitment, wonder if any others had any throughts. My current registration scheme uses the MBS registration scheme with a console app running on AWS which so far so good.

Just would like some real world feedback before I re-invent too much of the wheel?
[/quote]

It is difficult to know in advance how many sales you will have, but you may want to consider some aspects.

If it is your first foray in online sales, you may want to get your feet wet with the least possible overhead. Unless you sell applications that require a lot of support and you are ready to maintain a heavy database of users with license numbers, you may want to switch to no license numbers and a fire and forget scheme where you keep a record of the sale, the details of the customers, the date. It may suffice. If you feel license numbers are absolutely necessary, then look into partners that can manage issuing numbers and managing customer delivery. Your business is development, the less you distract in ancillary things the better.

If you envision selling on the Mac App Store, you got to remember that it is pure fire and forget : All Apple shares with you is money and sales figures. You will not know whom you sold to.

Building your own delivery system is necessary only if you are getting a reasonable amount of sales. Ready-made platform such as e-junkie.com are nice, because you can immediately sell software and do not need to worry about engineering or issuing keys and stuff, as well as storage space.

When I built my own delivery system back in 1998, almost nothing existed and Digital River just started. I did not trust them and it seems they have not improved. I went for a Merchant service with a web gateway, then they could not handle the level of chargebacks, so I went to Authorize.net who also canceled my account because of chargebacks, and tried a couple more until I went with Paypal, and have been with them since 2001 or so. I’m telling you the horror story of chargebacks because that is the risk with Merchant services. They do not take any risk, and selling software over the Internet has its share of bad customers. Paypal on the other hand has a rigorous process of arbitration, and does not freak about chargebacks.

In terms of engineering and support, I went from perl scripts back in 1998 to PHP around 2005, then added Xojo WE for software delivery and mail management last year.

If I was starting today, I would probably not bother building all that and go for a ready solution.

In terms of sales, I have Windows and Mac products. Up until 3 years ago, Windows was the largest share. Then it seems the preverse effects of the free mentality killed a lot of sales, and some products plummeted. Also, one my major products got no only cloned, but they also took the name of the product which definitely ruined its image :frowning: For a small guy, going after these kinds of spandrels is kind of traumatic. You need to be aware that as soon as you get on the market, though, you will become the unfortunate target of such things. Cyber squatting and counterfeiting has become an art and defending against it is difficult. see https://forum.xojo.com/13853-protecting-ip/unread

Today most of my sales are Mac, especially since last year I started selling on the Mac App Store. I am still amazed by the number of sales. In comparison, the Windows Store has about 10 times less activity.

I looked into Linux but am frankly afraid that now generalized 64 bits may render selling 32 bits applications challenging, and much too demanding in terms of support.

[quote=111882:@Matthew Combatti]I’ve had a lot of users really like the Stripe classes addition. It allows for un-branded payment systems, subscriptions, is easy-to-use, and will integrate into iOS apps easily. There is no redirection for payments, or expensive fees, so your user stays on the site and knows instantly that the payment was accepted or denied.

https://forum.xojo.com/13171-stripe-web-desktop-payments-subscriptions-release[/quote]
I would never enter payment information into an app itself. I also never enter payment information into anything where I can’t tell who the processor is. If I don’t see something that tells me who’s processing it, and it’s not a big well known name, I’m not buying it. I think un-branded may backfire on a lot of small-time developers.

Also, I’m almost positive you can’t implement your own payment accepting methods in iOS (because Apple has in-app purchases, and subscriptions.)

Always take Matthew’s posts with more than a grain of salt :wink:

We had enough of a scare with the Target scandal at Xmas for customers to be extremely weary about entering their credit card details online. The more reputable a payment processor the better. Unfortunately, Stripe maybe technically nice, it is largely unknown. On the Internet, statistics show that a consumer will not wait more than 2 seconds to abort if anything bothers him. Better make sure to reassure him as much as possible, explain and have a smooth process, otherwise the sale is lost and you will never know about it.

Probably one of the major reasons why the Mac App Store and to some extent the Windows Store have it so good : customer trust.

Richard Gorbutt
Jul 2013 Beta Testers, Xojo Pro

So, I’m getting closer to release etc. and been trawling the old forums and other stuff. I can handle all the registration and payments by myself or involve services such as eSellerate or Fastspring. I’m seeing more positiveness for Fastspring at the moment, but I’ll have to decide myself.

You might also check IPortis

This year eSellerate announced that they will no longer support Xojo users. We’ve had nothing but trouble from them, technical issues, useless ‘new’ reporting system (that doesn’t show all their charges, nor does it match their sales reports). All since DR took over. Even our existing contacts have since left and been replaced with very unhelpful staff members.

The real stinker for me, was using their activation system, we entered into a promotion where our product was given away for free. I forgot about it, until we started earning negative money from them, while the product was given away for FREE, they still charged for activation and refused to negotiate.

Then to make matters worse, we discovered that they refuse to activate applications from certain countries, for our own protection. You can imagine the flak and shitty feedback we got from customers.

If you do decide that you do want to use eSellerate, do not use their serial number or activation system, as this will lock you in.

Ooh, some further good advice and some other portals. Still a ways away (doesn’t everything take longer!) and so thanks all.

[quote=18142:@Brandon Skrtich]Sam,

How do you get in Bundles? I would love to do Bundles with my software.[/quote]
This starts with ‘a little bit a luck’ and is helped by contacting bundle sites and forming a relationship with the decision makers. It also helps, if you create relationships with the Mac press and get your products reviewed by them.

We’ve been in MacLegion, mainly because I’ve known the guys behind it for over 10 years and are personal friends.

Lastly, having higher priced products that they can really discount also helps.

Sam Rowlands
48 minutes ago Alpha Testers, Beta Testers, Xojo Pro Hengchun, Pingtung, Taiwan

Walter McCrate eSellerate

I mentioned IPortis - not eSellerate

But now I realize, that you were quoting someone else, it just doesn’t show up as a quote of someone else.

[quote]
Sam Rowlands

Walter McCrate So, I'm getting closer to release etc. and been trawling the old forums and other stuff. I can handle all the registration and payments by myself or involve services such as eSellerate or Fastspring. I'm seeing more positiveness for Fastspring at the moment, but I'll have to decide myself.

But now I realize, that you were quoting someone else, it just doesn’t show up as a quote of someone else.[/quote]

No problem Sam, I’m pretty much of a clutz with this quote stuff. This one might actually work.

No worries, looks like you nailed it this time :slight_smile: