With Sparrow exiting the market, we’ve been receiving lots of questions about Postbox in the Mac App Store. Earlier versions of Postbox 2 were available in the Mac App Store, but we discontinued sales through this channel when Postbox 3 was released.
For new Mac-only developers, the Mac App Store is a terrific way to go. It’s great for product discovery, the purchase flow is trusted and near frictionless, application installation and management is a snap, and updates are convenient for end users. In short, the Mac App Store lets developers spend more time on creating awesome apps, and less time on eCommerce infrastructure.
However, we eventually determined that the Mac App Store wasn’t the best fit for Postbox. We had already established our own online store and purchase policies prior to the Mac App Store release. Additionally, the Mac App Store was not evolving quickly enough, and in the direction we needed it to go, to support the Postbox 3 release in a manner consistent with Postbox Store policies.
The Postbox Store is powered by Fastspring, Campaign Monitor, Google Analytics, Wufoo, Zendesk, and our own in-house apps. While it took more time and effort to develop, this custom store enables us to offer:
- A free 30-day trial
- Discounted upgrades from previous versions
- Free upgrades if the prior version was purchased after a specific date
- A license that lets you run Postbox on every Mac or PC you personally own and use
- Volume discounts starting at just 2 or more copies, plus site licenses for larger organizations
- A 60-day, money back guarantee, no questions asked
- A fully functional version of Postbox, with integrations with iCal, iPhoto, Dropbox, Evernote, and more
In contrast, here were some of the limitations we encountered with the Mac App Store:
- No free trials
- No discounted upgrades
- No free upgrades if the prior version was purchased after a specific date
- No way to provide license keys that could be used on Windows (many of our customers use both platforms)
- No volume discounts or site licensing
- No access to customer information, which prevented us from validating orders, offering discounts, running promotions, newsletter signups, etc.
- Unclear refund policies
- Most importantly, we had to create another version of Postbox for the Mac App Store that removed features such as iCal support, iPhoto integration, and Add-Ons in order to comply with Apple’s Application Guidelines
Will Postbox ever return to the Mac App Store? Our hope is that Apple will continue to evolve the Mac App Store in ways that meet the unique needs of Postbox and our customers. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and the Postbox Store open for business.
Posted by Sherman Dickman