Being a mac user, I'm a huge fan of John Gruber's blog, Daring Fireball. I follow his work pretty closely, and probably seed more content to Newsvine after discovering it through DF than he should be comfortable with. (I'm not stalking, I'm appreciating.)
In order to keep up, I reference his RSS feed regularly:
Not long ago, he started accepting sponsors for his feeds, because he writes for a living and well, he deserves to make a living as part of that effort.
The full-content feed is available for exclusive sponsorship on a weekly basis. The sponsorship price and estimated subscriber numbers are available here. Source.
So far so good.
Last year, Gruber wrote this article:
That article was about a promotional software bundle from the guys over at MacHeist.
Gruber didn't have very many positive things to say about the promotion:
But that silliness plays into what's galling about MacHeist, which is their framing of their promotion as some sort of community benefit project.
Most of the proceeds are going to MacHeist, and the more bundles they sell, the more disproportionate MacHeist's share of the profit will get.
One clever aspect of the MacHeist bundle promotion is that the last two apps in the bundle, NewsFire and TextMate, are "locked" until certain revenue levels are reached — NewsFire when gross revenue reaches $200,000; for TextMate, $400,000.
That's not exactly how the goals are advertised, though.
My problem with MacHeist is that they're couching this bundle as a service to the indie developer community, when the truth is that they stand to make a significant amount of money while paying comparatively little to the very developers whose interests they claim to be serving.
What's in dispute is whether the money is being distributed equitably. Just because someone is satisfied with a bad deal doesn't mean it isn't a bad deal.
According to the MacHeist website, the bundle is back:
Last year's bundle caused a frenzy in the Mac community, selling over 16,000 copies in a week. This year, we're setting our sights a little higher, with a larger bundle, a two week sale, and what we believe to be a stronger collection of apps. Simply put, this is the best Mac software deal in history.
It's worth pointing out that this year, three bundles are locked: 1) CSSEdit 2) Snapz Pro X and 3) Pixelmator.
Interesting then, that this week's sponsor for Gruber's RSS feed just so happens to be ... MacHeist.
I may have missed something: Has the MacHeist system changed? Accepting a sponsorship from MacHeist seems a bit like Al Gore accepting a sponsorship from the Hummer corporation, given Gruber's past concerns.
I suppose it's possible that Gruber doesn't actively choose or accept sponsors (the feed mentions the sponsorbot) but I found it to be jarring nonetheless when it popped up in Safari. I'm left wondering if what was "in dispute" last year is still in dispute this year?
Say it ain't so, John...