MacHeist II and Yazsoft

February 20, 2008 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

This special RANT edition of “Jack of All I.T.” is brought to you by Yazsoft, makers of Speed Download 5.

As I have mentioned in at least one of my previous posts, I bought the MacHeist II bundle back in January this year.  One of the main things that I liked about it was that this year all the licenses were considered “normal” licenses, not the non-upgradable licenses like with the original MacHeist.

Now, this was actually a big factor in my decision to purchase the bundle.  I almost purchased the original MacHeist bundle, but didn’t for this reason, even though I really wanted it for TextMate.  After weighing my options, I felt it would be a wiser investment to just get a license of TextMate directly from the developer.

I am not naive, of course.  I knew that major updates would require a paid fee, but thought that as long as my license is treated just like any other licensed user, all was well.  So, if someone did come out with a new major version of their software within weeks of the MacHeist ending, I expected to be under the same rules as anyone who purchased a “normal” license in the same timeframe.  Usually companies give free major upgrades to people who buy within a month or so of the release of the major upgrade. Feeling safe with the knowledge that my investment in this software wouldn’t be out of date for at least several months, I bought the MacHeist II bundle.

Low and behold…  On Feb. 12th, Yazsoft released Speed Download 5.  On MacNN.com’s news item it states this:

“New users can purchase Speed Download 5 for $25, while users who bought v.4.x between January 1st, 2008 and February 12th, 2008 may upgrade for free.”

Great!  Since I bought it through MacHeist in January, I’m golden, right?

Wrong!  It turns out that Yazsoft has a different definition of “normal” when it comes to their licenses than the average person.   I read elsewhere that they consider this to be a “normal promo” license, not a “normal…  uhhh.. normal” license.  (Don’t recall where I read that, but I can’t take credit.)  Users who purchased through MH2 have to pay $15 to upgrade to SD5.

The bottom line is that Yazsoft used MacHeist to get a ton of exposure for Speed Download 4 knowing that they were just about to release Speed Download 5.  I’d even be willing to bet money that SD5 was feature complete and in final testing during MacHeist II.  Yazsoft simply used MacHeist as cheap publicity, knowing that a certain percentage of users would probably upgrade to the latest version.  Heck, I wouldn’t even be surprised if SD5 was 100% complete and out of beta testing throughout MacHeist and they just held onto it until Feb 12th so it would look as bad to people who bought through MacHeist II.If Yazsoft were my company, I would have done one of two things:

1. Assuming I was honorable, I’d honored the MH2 licenses just as other normal licenses, giving a free update
or
2. Assuming I just wanted to try to get a pile of cash, I would have waited until about mid-March to release SD5, and had the free upgrade time for recent purchases go from February 1 and later.

Either way, the bottom line would have been that a license purchased through MH2 would have been exactly the same as one purchased by an end-user directly.  Treating MH2 licenses as a sort of “second class” license is just wrong, since they were billed as “normal” licenses.

One may argue that the support costs for Yazsoft increased as a result of the 43,815 new customers gained through MH2, but guess what?  It was their decision to take part of MH2.  They should step up to the plate and give all MH2 customers a free upgrade and refund all MH2 customers who paid for the upgrade.

My suggestion to the MacHeist folks?  In the future, get a contract in writing with all companies you bundle products for that explicitly states that licenses purchased through MacHeist have the same rights as licenses purchased directly from the developers during the month of the MacHeist sale.

My suggestion to the end user who didn’t get the license they paid for?  Use another app from the MH2 bundle…  Which one?  Why, AppZapper, of course!

This concludes this special RANT edition of “Jack of All I.T.” is brought to you by Yazsoft, makers of Speed Download 5.

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Entry filed under: Mac.

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