Piracy on the Mac App Store

When I started selling my program Resolve Collect I thought it would be easy for both me and my customers to use the Mac App Store for that.

During the first year everything seemed to be fine and I kept working on updates, which were easily distributed via the Mac App Store. Then I got a request from someone who asked if it would be possible to get a version that could be installed without the use of an Apple-ID. He wanted to use it on multiple machines in his Post House. I thought about it and was thinking about how easy it would be to pirate the software if it wasn’t on the Mac App Store. But I still did create a version that I sell via MyCommerce.

Mac App Store updates go haywire

Then in the beginning of June this year I released Resolve Collect 2.3. At this point I had sold 179 copies via the Mac App Store, so when 120 machines got updated the first day I was happy about the quick distribution. The next day 102 updated so everyone updated within 2 days, great. I guess a few people had the software running on 2 machines, no problem. Summer came and I didn’t think so much about updates.

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Then a few weeks ago I was working on an update, v2.4 and before I uploaded it to the Mac App Store I checked how many V2.3 updates were downloaded. To my surprise 1568 updates were downloaded. This either means that everyone is reinstalling their computer very often, or some people use the same Apple-ID on many machines.

Contacting Apple

Since we developers don’t get any information about who our customers are I contacted Apple. The information I get when I sell something is: Sold 1 copy in Germany, 2 copies in USA, etc. No names and no contact posibilities whatsoever.

So I asked Apple what is going on and got the following answer:

“The reason you are seeing more updates than downloads is that each initial download or purchases is unique and occurs on an account level per customer Apple ID. However, updates are counted separately for each device on which the app has been downloaded.

I replied that I understand that people can be running the software on several machines, but since this is such a niche product it’s nothing you run on every machine you own.

The result:

“We are currently reviewing your request and will get back to you as soon as we can.

This was 2 weeks ago.

I am really surprised that a company that takes 30% of the revenue of each sale is neglecting piracy, which is the only way I can explain this.

So what now?

As of today I have sold another 41 copies, totaling 220 copies, which have been updated 1637 times since V2.3 was released. I am happy that so many people like my software, but I am equally sad that Apple allows piracy through their own Mac App Store.

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Posted in Product Reviews

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