This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2008-02-28 at 1:02 p.m.
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Analyzing the MacSanta Promotion

by Adam C. Engst

Back in December 2007, Rogue Amoeba organized MacSanta [1], a promotion for companies selling Mac-related downloadable products (see "Mac Developers Launch Two Software Discount Promotions [2]," 2007-12-01). The deal was simple. To be a part of MacSanta, you had to donate at least $50 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and offer a 20-percent-off discount for your featured day and a 10-percent-off discount for most of the month of December. Each participating company was encouraged to alert their customers to MacSanta as a way of increasing sales for everyone.

After MacSanta was over, participating companies were asked to share the number of units sold in an anonymous survey; of the 124 participants, 62 responded. Dollar sales weren't reported, although I'd guess that most products promoted via MacSanta range from $10 to $50 in price, with a few closer to $100. Here are a few other interesting statistics from the anonymous results:

The question is, if you're a Mac developer, is MacSanta worthwhile? Any revenue projections based on these averages would be piling guesswork on supposition, although you can do the simple math with your product prices to come up with a conservative income estimate. But it's safe to say that the answer is yes (unless creating a graphic and offering discounts in your shopping cart is just too hard). For a $50 tax-deductible donation to the EFF, you get free publicity and an almost-guaranteed profit. What's not to like?

More to the point, participating in MacSanta is one of those rising tides that lifts all boats. The more companies that alert their customers to the existence of MacSanta, the better the holiday season will be for both Mac developers and Mac users. Kudos to Rogue Amoeba for making MacSanta a reality for the Mac community.