We’ve decided to pull ClipWrap from circulation on the Mac App Store. Existing installed copies of ClipWrap will continue to work as installed. Customers who purchased via the app store will have the ability to exchange their App Store copy for a direct license by contacting us directly.
This day has been a long time coming. When we shipped EditReady in May of 2014, we made the decision to only sell it direct. Last month, we discontinued sale of Phosphor, our App Store only title. The removal of ClipWrap will mark the end of our experiment with App Store distribution. There’s a number of reason we’ve decided to sell direct only:
- The app store makes responding to customer feedback and reviews impossible.
- We are unable to offer crossgrades and upgrade pricing to users.
- We cannot directly refund unsatisfied customers.
- App sandboxing means the App Store versions of our software lacked features such as command line support that our direct software has.
- App review delays tend to mean our direct sale updates ship a week or more before App Store updates.
- The app store offers little to no discoverability, and it seems counter productive to expend our marketing efforts to send someone to the app store instead of our own.
- Apple keeps 30% of proceeds.
So in short, we expended more time to ship an application with fewer features for a lower return to less satisfied customers.
There have been some public failures recently of the app store model recently. These have played a role. ClipWrap is also reaching its end of life, and we’re eager to transition users to the newer, more feature-full EditReady. With no way to steer potential ClipWrap customers to EditReady based on their needs, we’ve reached the point where we’re selling an inferior product to the majority of our App Store customers with little or no recourse to make it better (short of beginning to sell EditReady in the App Store – see above for why we chose not to).
Are you saying the App Store is a bad model?
There are certainly many things Apple could do to make the App Store work better for our company, but that isn’t Apple’s primary goal. Our choice to originally enter and now leave the App Store were both solely business decisions. For many fledgling companies we still believe the App Store may be the best and fastest way to market. But divergent media began selling software in 2006. We already had a web store in place when the App Store began. The cost (and time) of building this infrastructure was already spent. Our apps are technical and one of our major differentiating factors over competitors is our focus on customer support. We charge a premium over similar tools to make a more elegant app and provide a better customer experience. These are not things that can be showcased by a few screenshots. In short, we are handicapped by the level playing field of the app store.
In addition, our applications all serve a niche market – professional/prosumer video creation. We have worked hard (and been lucky) to build a reputation among our peers as a company whose products are worth investing in. Our sales come mostly from word of mouth. The App Store audience is too general for their model of promotion, where a few apps are chosen for promotion on the front page.
Will you ever return to the App Store?
Maybe. This is purely a business decision; we feel our company and our customers are both better served by a direct sales relationship given the current landscape. If this changes, we will gladly reexamine our stance.
We realize this will be an inconvenience to our App Store customers. We want to make the transition as easy as possible. If you have any questions or concerns please email us. We relish the opportunity to begin a conversation with you.