Friday, May 8, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

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.


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