The Economics of AppSumo - Just Be Careful
Good morning and happy Monday. 🥰
I am freshly back from our week-long cruise with the family. Just got back yesterday. We were off in the Eastern Caribbean on the Celebrity Equinox. Beautiful ship if you ever get a chance to sail on her.
As usual, ate far too much. You end up eating when you’re not even hungry. It’s insane, really. 🙃
But, if the whole point of a vacation is to have you looking forward to getting back to work… mission accomplished.
And also… with this trip, I am done traveling for the summer. Which means for all of my ongoing clients… no more weird absences. 😅 And I’ll be playing some catchup with you guys this week. Appreciate your patience, guys!
Here’s what’s on the menu for this issue…
A few thoughts on Threads, the new social network
The real economics of AppSumo deals and why you need to be careful (plus some pricing lessons from it)
My “big picture” thoughts on the “Sure” family of plugins (like Surecart and SureTriggers) 🤔
Some plugin updates you may be interested in. 👀
So, let’s get movin’…
Threads. Worth Your Time?
Right before I left on the cruise, Threads was launched. This is the supposed “Twitter alternative” launched by Meta. And, right on cue, people rushed the doors to get all set up and see what they can do with it. I admit… I did, too.
The media narrative on this is the whole “Zuck vs Elon” thing, of course. They want so badly to paint Twitter in a bad light now that Elon bought it and the network isn’t being run by power-hungry people who want to control what people say. So, the narrative was that Zuck is going to take down Twitter with this new alternative. But…
Nope. Not gonna happen.
The initial hype of Threads has already died off substantially. Plus, all the thing is really doing is poaching users off of Instagram since the two properties are tied at the hip. Other than a few interface items, there’s simply no comparison between Threads and Twitter. It will never - ever - supplant Twitter in this regard.
Is Threads worth your time? Meh… to the degree any social network is, then… sure. In the end, most of it is a big waste of your time and you’re better off spending your time building real assets you own than sitting on social media. But, if you have a big Instagram community, I can see Threads being an interesting extension of that.
But, don’t fall into the Threads hype train. Remember, Google Plus was expected to be the next big thing, too, at one point. And now it doesn’t even exist. But, we shall see. Competition is always a good thing, so the more the merrier.
The Economics of AppSumo - Just Be Careful
I recently came across an interesting tweet about AppSumo. A bit of the “inside baseball” about the economics of it from the perspective of the developers of the software on the site. This one is from one of the guys behing the Median platform…
Emails like this are why founders end up HATING @AppSumo
This person paid $60 for LIFE TIME ACCESS to @median
Of which AppSumo kept $45 and we got $15
$15 dollars to support this person for LIFE 😑🔫
I don't blame him though, we should have NEVER done the deal
— Spencer Scott (@AKASpencerScott)
Jul 5, 2023
As consumers and users of software, it can be really tempting to keep track of AppSumo. Looking to snag deals. And, to be clear, you can get some pretty good deals on Appsumo. I have nailed some good ones over the years.
But, I’ve also seen a lot of Appsumo hype over lifetime deals on AppSumo that later on fizzle away or amount to nothing. The nature of the deal can honestly put a lot of stress on the developer and it doesn’t always work out.
Appsumo’s entire business model is CHEAP. So, developers are pressured to radically reduce the price of their offer to rather insane levels. Often with a lifetime deal. I’ve also heard that the deal with Appsumo means you must agree not to offer a competing lifetime deal for years, giving Appsumo the exclusive. And on top of that, Appsumo keeps a LARGE chunk of the revenue (75%?).
Developers are automatically positioned as cheap. Or the software you’re getting is some stripped-down knock-off.
Then, if you know much about pricing psychology, you know that it is usually the people who pay the least who can be the most demanding. Some of them have this attitude that you OWE them significant amounts of service for the tiny little amount they paid you.
So, why do developers bother with Appsumo? Well, they want the visibility. And they think they’re going to get some influx of startup capital, be able to iterate and perfect the product and turn it into a big thing.
Sometimes, it works out. Often, it does not.
So, Appsumo can be a really bad deal long term for developers. It can be the digital equivalent of a fly flying into the pretty light only to be zapped. Zapped by the reality of suddenly being swamped with thousands of cheap-ass, demanding consumers that you’re now supposed to support for life. The economics of it suck.
But, most of us here are NOT developers. What does this mean for us normies who might buy Appsumo deals every now and then?
Just… do so carefully.
Realize that any Appsumo deal you pick up might just… die. Or stagnate without further development.
Lifetime deals are crappy economics from the developer side. It takes time and capital to continue to develop and support software, so that little influx of a few bucks doesn’t even scratch the surface. For many, reality will set in and you become a lead weight to the developer.
Thankfully, most Appsumo buyers end up not even using the stuff they buy. 🙂 I mean, just be honest. You know as well as I do that most Appsumo stuff you buy you barely - if ever - actually use. You’ve probably forgotten all about it! It was an impulse purchase.
Lastly, there’s also a couple lessons you can take out of this that can be useful for your own offers. For instance:
Be really careful about making lifetime offers (or lifetime memberships for a membership site) where ongoing support is part of your offer. I just don’t recommend you do that. If you’re going to make a lifetime offer, promise no forever support.
Keep in mind… when you charge bargain basement prices, you’re going to get higher maintenance customers.
If you would like to read more about pricing strategy, here’s a guide for you:
To end off, be careful about Appsumo. Sometimes, you find good offers. Often, you are just buying shiny objects and wasting your money.
Gravity Forms has released an add-on for Cloudflare Turnstile. If you’re not familiar, Turnstile is a less annoying alternative to Captcha for spam prevention. Captcha is where you have to solve those visual puzzles or click on fire hydrants and busses to prove you’re human. Frankly, I hate Captcha. I wish I could stuff those fire hydrants up certain holes of whoever developed it. 😉 So, good that Gravity finally has an integration with a less annoying alternative.
I will just say, though, that Fluent Forms already had this. In so many ways, Fluent Forms remains a much better deal for your online forms than Gravity Forms.
WSForm is jumping onto the AI hype train with AI Generated Forms. Eh… whatever. Frankly, some things stand very little benefit from AI and this is one of them, IMO. But, it doesn’t stop everybody trying to act cool by slipping AI tools into their software.
Learndash has released version 4.7 that supports course pre-ordering, course start and end dates, and some other potentially useful features. You can also put limits on number of students who can enroll in a course. Of course, to use this functionality, you would need to be using Learndash itself to sell your courses. Personally, I prefer to use WooCommerce.
SureTriggers has launched their Trigger button feature. Essentially, you can place a button on a page which, when clicked, automatically triggers a bunch of automations. Uncanny Automator has had this functionality for quite some time in the form of their “magic button”.
Speaking of the “Sure” series… I’ve had people ask me my thoughts on things like SureCart, SureMembers, SureTriggers, etc. I have not yet gotten around to reviewing these options officially. Here’s the thing, though…
I expect all these “Sure” products to do well and they are being developed by a solid team. However, they are young and definitely in that stage where you can easily find more capability in alternatives. Secondly (and this is the big thing) is that their approach to software is not in the direction of digital sovereignty. The Sure series is basically SaaS. While you run a plugin on your site, much of the core functionality is actually being done by their servers and not your’s. This means that you don’t have full control.
If you look at SureTriggers, you will see that their future pricing is going to place limits on the number of tasks you can run each month.
That’s basically similar to Zapier, which is fully hosted. When you look at an alternative such as Uncanny Automator, you have no such limits and that’s because it runs fully locally.
Same with SureCart. It’s a fine option for your shopping cart, but core functionality is dependent on THEM and you have to keep paying for it for it to run. This is why I will never use it and recommend WooCommerce instead.
Of course, it’s your call. It is just a difference in philosophy on software development and the importance of control. From a development perspective, it makes certain things much easier to host it on their servers. I totally get that. But, from a consumer perspective, it puts you in the position of being a renter. And if you stop paying them, that functionality of your site simply… breaks.
Fluent Support has released a new update that supports email CC, third-party file attachments from Google Drive and Dropbox, a migrator for Zendesk and some other things. In fact, this 1.7 release of Fluent Support is a heck of an update and includes a bunch of small-ish, but useful and needed functionality.
Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:
Concierge: I’ll be your “web guy”, helping to maintain your site for you do you don’t have to think about it. Also includes access to my agency plugin licenses, site analytics, and a massive discount on any potential project work on your site.
I’ll Do It For You: Via my technical services, I can dive into your site and take care of the complex stuff for you. Whether it be just some tweaks… or building out a full membership site and marketing automation funnel, I can ensure your WordPress site is working for you and not the other way around.
Book A Call Anytime. Via a private one-on-one call, I’ll make your business… my business. Easy peasy.
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What did you think of this issue?