I just got back from lunch with about twenty-five Macintosh small business owners and developers visiting San Francisco for this week’s WWDC. We talked for about ninety minutes about common business problems and people shared their experiences with running a small business selling applications for the Macintosh operating system. Some quick notes:
- If no one complains about your pricing, you priced too low.
- Higher pricing usually leads to lower support requests.
- Most software publishers allow users to use trial versions of their software before making a purchase.
- eSellerate dominates as a payment provider but most developers choose to use their own serial number generators. Using the eSellerate API many developers have integrated payment and licensing systems with their applications to pass successful license keys back to the application without causing the user to copy-and-paste from an e-mail.
- Some publishers were frustrated with their beta program and the user expectations and negative reviews associated with a beta program. A few application developers mentioned they were utilizing only private betas to avoid this concern.
- If you publish your bugs and feature requests online, expect your competition to read every report and use this to their advantage.
- The operating system’s built-in help has gotten a lot better since Panther (OS X 10.3) and more developers are looking into publishing both on the desktop and using pages on the web. Developers are starting to look at wikis for community support and collaborative tricks and tips.