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TheMacBundles.com

TheMacBundles.com. Fifty dollars will get you nine solid titles, including notables such as Default Folder X, Spell Catcher X, DragThing, GraphicConverter, and HoudahSpot.

The idea behind TheMacBundles.com is similar to what you may be familiar with from promotional bundlers MacHeist and MacUpdate. The difference is in the details, and it all comes down to weighing cost versus benefit for developers and consumers.

Let’s look at the criticisms of the ‘traditional’ model. The main complaint is that application developers see very little in terms of profits. The big controversy over the past few years has centered around the benefit of participating in such a deal: for the developer, does the exposure gained by selling en masse via a bundle outweigh the cost of receiving very small returns? The answer to that question is, well, still in question. What is clear is that, despite the apparent growing success of the bundle model, it will only continue to work if developers continue to think it’s worth it.

For the consumer, criticisms center around what you get for your dollar. Often, packages include a few big names alongside many little-known ‘filler’ applications. Added to this, the licenses you receive from traditional bundles are sometimes limited, meaning that you must pay full price for an upgrade when new versions arrive—and those upgrades may be released sooner than later.

In my experience as a bundle consumer, I’ve generally found that benefits outweigh the cost. For developers, however, it must be a real conundrum: is the exposure worth the cost of practically giving an application away?

TheMacBundles.com is a fresh attempt to address these concerns. The new bundling site is self-billed as ‘the farmers market for software.’ While the analogy doesn’t fully hold, I think I get the point. In the U.S. at least, buying goods from a farmers market generally means supporting small-scale, locally-grown produce. Consumers generally pay higher prices, but do so willingly to support the hard work and dedication of the local farmers. They do so to keep those farmers in business and because the quality of the local produce is generally superior to the stuff you would get at a big box supermarket. I can get behind that.

At ‘the farmers market for software,’ you support the ‘local developer’ (read: more so than if you shopped around with those other bundlers). And this is the main point: the business model is centered around supporting the small-scale developers who are working hard to bring us outstanding third-party apps for the Mac. I often tell my Windows brethren that the third-party software one can get for the Mac has no parallel. If this model better supports the people behind this software and brings forth higher-quality, more frequent discount bundles…then I can certainly get behind that, too.

From TheMacBundles.com mission statement (yes, there’s a mission statement):

* All of the software titles in each Bundle are of outstanding quality and often are recognized as best-of-class programs-there are no “filler” titles in the Bundles.
* Only developers that have demonstrated a commitment to providing outstanding customer service and technical support are invited to participate in a Bundle.
* Except for very small order processing and administrative costs, all of the proceeds from sales of a Bundle go to the developers of the software-no middlemen are involved.
* The savings realized by the innovative business model used by TheMacBundles.com is shared with its customers-buyers of a Bundle on TheMacBundles.com get the best software at the best prices.
* All of the programs included in a Bundle are the latest versions of the software.
* All users who buy a Bundle are entitled to the same level of support and the same reduced price for upgrades that apply to users who paid the full retail price for the software.

The first bundle is a good one, and it’ll be offered for two weeks. After that, we’ll hopefully see another package. And that’s one other notable difference from other bundle marketing efforts: we can look forward to bundled app deals throughout the year.

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