Archive for May 8, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Redacted for Mac Launch

Mitchel Broussard:

After launching the app earlier this week, the $4.99 Redacted app quickly broke into the top paid app lists on the U.S. Mac App Store. Specifically, by the end of its launch day on May 5, Redacted was eighth in overall paid apps and first in top paid graphics apps. After some friends began questioning him about his expected profit, Soffes realized he hadn’t really even begun to think about the possible profit the photo-obscuring app would rake in for him.

Sam Soffes:

For launch, the price was $4.99. I may play with that some over time. I was originally thinking $2.99 and a bunch of folks on Twitter said $4.99 was better. Anyway, Redacted was #8 top paid in the US and #1 top paid in Graphics at the end of launch day. It was also at the top of Product Hunt with 538 up votes! Wow!


It’s pretty nuts that 59 sales is top paid on the Mac App Store in the US.

Daniel Jalkut:

“Top Paid” is a terrible name for that leaderboard, because it implies being paid more money than … everybody. “Trending Paid” is fairer.

Stephen Hackett:

The Mac App Store has seen a lot of top-tier developers leave over the years, but this number is just pathetic. Clearly consumers aren’t using the Store in any meaningful way either.

The whole thing is a damn shame. Redacted is a great little Mac app, and Soffes clearly can’t make it into a business on its own. I think it may be time for Apple to take a long, hard look at the Mac App Store and either invest in it and woo back developers (and customers) or just shutter the thing.

Todd Ditchendorf:

Some of us are making a nice living as Mac devs, & MAS is an important part of that. Do us a solid & don’t tell  to shut it down

The Mac App Store has problems, but as a marketing vehicle, it’s well worth the 30% revenue share. Indie devs would be worse off without it

Brian Webster:

I would definitely side strongly with the “invest in it” direction over the “shut it down” one.

Dan Counsell:

There’s been a fair amount of talk lately about whether it’s still sustainable to be an indie developer. The short answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I think most developers will agree it’s now harder than ever to make a living on the App Store.


Redacted got to #8 in the paid charts on launch day, yet it made just $302 after Apples 30%. Judging by the reaction on Twitter a lot of people were shocked by this. Redacted appeared high up in the charts because of the surge in downloads, it’s chart position was not sustained so sales were lower than they should have been.


I don’t think it’s a good idea to rely solely on App Store revenue to run your business. The App Store is amazing, but you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. For example, Realmac Software has a number of other revenue streams that help keep the company running. These include ads, subscriptions, crowdfunding, and affiliate schemes.

Redacted seems like a good app, but even with a better Mac App Store I wouldn’t expect it to immediately support an indie business. The takeaways are things that we already knew: Mac App Store sales are lower than people probably assume, and Top Paid is not what it sounds like.

Update (2015-05-08): Gabriel Hauber:

Rather than dampen my enthusiasm for getting my feet wet in publishing apps for the Mac sometime down the track, I am actually energised after reading Sam Soffe’s story and Dan Counsell’s follow-up.


I believe that with a small number of core apps running across both iOS and OS X I, as an indie developer, should be able to do quite well for myself. The market is there, it is just up to me to build the apps and market them.

Brad W. Allen:

I would also add to your post about Redacted, Sam did almost zero marketing.

Update (2015-05-14): Joe Rosensteel:

LOL, they totes didn’t release any update to the store, it’s exactly the same, and we’re having exactly the same conversations. Yaaaay!


Why would an app that focuses on obscuring part of an image reach the very heights of the MAS — in the graphics category, and overall — and be a featured app? Where are the usual, profitable software companies that are prolific in the graphics field, or in any field?


Autodesk isn’t absent from the store either, they just have total garbage in the store. Their high end software, like Adobe and Microsoft, lives elsewhere.

Todd Ditchendorf:

Point of Information: I make only 1/3 of my indie revenue from the MAS. But it drives some direct sales traffic too.

Claris History

Steven Sande:

Poor Claris. The company was a 1987 software spinoff from Apple tasked with developing apps for Mac. At first it took over control of MacWrite, MacPaint, MacDraw and MacProject from the parent company, then started stretching its wings by upgrading the former Apple apps to a “pro series” and purchasing FileMaker from developer Nashoba Systems.


Claris disappeared in 1998 after the core ClarisWorks team defected to form a company to write apps for the ill-fated BeOS and sales of its other products plummeted as the Mac -- and Apple -- nearly faded away. The company was eventually renamed “FileMaker Inc.” and currently offers the FileMaker Pro relational database application for Mac as well as the companion FileMaker Go app for iPhone and iPad.


Clang’s New -Wpartial-availability

Clang (via Matt Stevens):

This warns when using decls that are not available on all deployment targets. For example, a call to

- (void)ppartialMethod __attribute__((availability(macosx,introduced=10.8)));

will warn if -mmacosx-version-min is set to less than 10.8.

To silence the warning, one has to explicitly redeclare the method like so:

@interface Whatever(MountainLionAPI)
- (void)ppartialMethod;

This way, one cannot accidentally call a function that isn't available everywhere. Having to add the redeclaration will hopefully remind the user to add an explicit respondsToSelector: call as well.

I’m not sure why this wasn’t added years ago, when Apple stopped supporting older SDKs, but it’s good to finally have it.

Previously: Deploymate 1.0.

Update (2016-11-11): My strategy is to add -Wpartial-availability to the WARNING_CFLAGS, and then wherever I have a runtime test for the OS version I bracket the code with:

#pragma clang diagnostic push
#pragma clang diagnostic ignored "-Wpartial-availability"
// Code that uses partially available APIs.
#pragma clang diagnostic pop

Any warnings that this does not suppress represent code that needs to have a runtime check added. This seems to be more reliable than Deploymate and has the advantage of being checked every time I compile.

Due to problems inside XCTest, it is necessary to not use -Wpartial-availability in test-related code. Now Silently Inserts Affiliate Codes/Cookies

Carolyn Kmet (via Ole Begemann):

In early February, Bitly, the popular URL-shortening service, partnered with affiliate tool Viglink to auto-monetize every shortlink generated by Bitly’s millions of users. To understand the impact of this partnership, consider that Bitly encodes more than 600 million links per month. Those links generate approximately eight billion clicks monthly. Today, every one of those eight billion clicks potentially sets a Viglink affiliate cookie on the end-user’s machine. And every time Viglink earns commission, it shares it with Bitly.


The partnership most certainly interferes with attribution within the affiliate channel. Say a blogger, who is one of your approved affiliates, promotes your brand across her social media channels. To keep her posts short and pithy, the blogger uses Bitly to shorten the affiliate link. Now that Bitly is in partnership with Viglink, if the blogger’s post drives a sale, that sale is attributed to Viglink, not to the blogger.