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Mac Shareware Marketing Craziness

December 6th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

There’s been a bunch of inventive and off-beat marketing schemes in the Mac software market recently. MacAppaDay is giving away 5,000 copies of one application every day in December. Mac Heist is creating a riddle / puzzle game to unlock a free copy of a few applications each week. MacZot! is promoting an app at a discounted price in a Woot-like model. My Dream App is also a very cool idea.

Nick Santilli wrote about Peddling Software to the Mac Crowd the other day and then followed up on the side effects of these programs to say that he generally buys the software that he uses. I don’t disagree, but I don’t think the story is about how many test drives were converted into “pro” version upgrades or registered users that will buy the next version.

I think this is an interesting experiment in social marketing. Just like Digg and the blogosphere have changed the way that people find the news and stories that interest or entertain them, I think that software marketing will also be revolutionized by ideas like iusethis. I know I don’t go shopping without checking reviews on Amazon first. I suspect that more and more people will buy software based on the community buzz, comments, ratings and reviews they can find on the Internet. Think about every Mac board you’ve ever visited. There are always threads asking for recommendations. Getting 5,000 copies of your app into the hands of people that are plugged into the latest trends in the Appleverse is a good way to help get mentioned in those conversations or maybe show up on iusethis. Maybe someone will write a review in their blog. You get the idea.

Still, I suspect that the most effective marketing is going to be getting mentioned in MacWorld or hitting the front page of Digg, or even landing on Tech Crunch. Even though we talk about the democratizing effect of social software there are still a few large players that generate the most attention, even on the Internet. But, like I said, I think these marketing and promotion programs are an interesting experiment. It would be fascinating to do some Google stat diving a year from now to see if those apps show up any higher in generic searches for Mac software than other similar apps that didn’t participate in the programs.

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