We generally report on Mac software bundles only from entirely new groups, since by definition, these bundles are pure marketing efforts. Sure, the bundle may benefit deserving independent developers, donate a portion of the proceeds to charity, or be part of some sort of online game, along with offering a great deal for Mac users, but the news value of even most new bundles is fairly low. (Occasionally, we'll have a separate advertising relationship with the bundle vendor.) That said, there are two new bundle groups that have popped up in the last week or so: TheMacSale and MacWeed.
TheMacSale has put together a $49.99 collection of 10 applications worth $450. From what I can tell, the bundle is entirely straightforward, with no gimmicks other than a funky Web site design that attempts to mimic the iPhone home screen, though not entirely successfully. The applications include Flux, Scribbles, Interarchy, Iris, WriteRoom, REALbasic Personal, HoudahSpot, Stuf, TaskPaper, and MarinerCalc. The offer runs through 18-Aug-09.
MacWeed's twist on the bundle approach is to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from their bundle sales to the Italian Red Cross, specifically to help the victims of the April 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy, which rendered 66,000 people homeless and damaged many medieval buildings in the town of L'Aquila.
To that end, MacWeed is offering 14 programs worth over $700 for $49.99, although 8 of the 14 will be unlocked only after a certain number of bundles have been sold. The programs all purchasers are guaranteed to get include Amnesia, DEVONthink, Finance 6, Interarchy, ImageFramer, and Media Catalog. The programs to be unlocked include iCalamus (after 500 sales), Voila (after 2,000 sales), SkypeCap, Optimism, ProfCast, Photo Styler, MacSnapper (all after 5,000 sales), and Sandvox (after 40,000 sales).
To their credit, the MacWeed organizers are showing how many bundles have been sold so far, but the number stands at only 101 as of this writing, a far cry even from the 500 copies necessary to unlock the first locked application, iCalamus. The MacWeed bundle runs through 12-Aug-09.
Bundle Burnout? With the addition of these bundles, there are at least four or five bundle offers that appear from time to time, all including somewhere in the vicinity of 10 applications and generally selling for about $50. While the initial bundle offers sold very large numbers, these subsequent bundles are having a harder time, despite the excellent value for the money that they all provide.
I suspect that the Mac software-buying community is simply becoming fatigued - how many applications can any one person actually use? As a member of the press, I can get a review copy of anything I want, but the vast majority of the software I have really is for review purposes - I do almost all of my work in a relatively small set of programs. Everyone has different needs, of course, but many of the bundles probably sell on the virtues of one or two programs that appeal to the needs of a particular buyer.
The one field that hasn't seen significant representation in the bundles is games - I could easily see gamers being interested in buying a bundle of 10 games every so often given that games are much closer to being consumable. Apart from games, though, it may be time for the bundle vendors to think of some new approaches.