Friday, November 21, 2008

A Novel Business Model

Here's a company that gives away their iPhone apps, but sells the underlying source code. Interesting approach, and I'm sure there is a market for good iPhone libraries and source code. The only shortcoming that I see is that there's no way to know how good the underlying code is. This company's apps undoubtedly look nice, but a pretty GUI is no guarantee of well-written code. The underlying code could be stellar, or it could be functional but disorganized and poorly written, and there's really no way to know without shelling out the cash. Unfortunately, the people who can benefit the most from code like this are the ones least able to distinguish between good and bad code.

That creates a bit of a catch-22 for the company. If they show people the code, it's hard to keep people from using it, but buying something sight unseen makes some people (like me) a little nervous. It's like buying a mystery bag, or playing the lottery, neither of which I would ever do.

If I were them, I'd probably try and get some testimonials from some respected developers - get a few people with some know-how to say "yeah, their code is good". I think it would make people more comfortable about shelling out cash to buy source code they can't look at first.

Note: I've heard from someone who has bought one of the source code projects, and the feedback was positive. This person said the code was "well organized" and "clean", though he hadn't had a chance to look at it in detail yet. That's definitely good news for the Tausendstern folks, and for their potential customers. I've decided to purchase the package and take a look for myself - I'll give a report here when I do.


jpm said...


You are totally right, but then again, it's just 50 bucks for the source code of all of their apps.

If the code is badly designed/written, people that paid for it will say so, and the company will not do well.


Jeff LaMarche said...

Yeah, good point - I should have stated that the price is very reasonable for what you get. I still think they need to get some positive word of mouth out there to make sales.

Axel Wolf said...

Hi, the developer here. So far we're quite happy with the response to our offer (which made the Reddit front page); customer statements will be posted next week.

Cheers, Axel Wolf

Jeff LaMarche said...

Excellent! Glad to hear the response has been positive!

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