I love Dashboard Widgets. There are a couple of thousand Widgets listed on the Apple web site, and elsewhere.
Only a few are truly useful, many are pure eye candy, the vast majority are free. Some Widgets come with a price tag. Is this a trend whose time as come?
I say this after visiting one of the more attractive Mac-oriented web sites, Widget Machine.
What you’ll find at Widget Machines are exactly what you’d expect. Widgets. Plenty of Widgets. Widgets that record your voice, Widgets that get the latest news, a notepad Widget.
There’s a Widget that uploads files from your Mac to an FTP site. There’s a flip clock (similar to the one that awakened Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day), a clip board collector called iClip Lite, and an iTunes remote Widget.
On the Widget Machines’ Coming Soon list is a digital timer and a to-do list. There must be a tremendous need for to-do lists; everyone has one.
What caught my eye first was the attractive web site design. The wares, the Widgets, are stacked as if on a shelf of a cute boutique gift shop.
Click on a widget and up pops a larger view complete with description. This is digital shopping at it’s finest. Price tag. Description. Add to cart. Download.
Price tag? Yes. Some of these Widgets actually have a price tag. They cost money. Probably 98-percent of all Widgets I’ve seen to date are free.
The Widget Machine, as of today, displayed 12 Widgets on the shelf, a Holiday Bundle of Widgets for $12.95 (I’m not sure what the holiday celebration is), and three Widgets to come.
Four of the 12 Widgets have price tags ranging from $4.95 each to $5.95. That makes the Holiday Bundle a bargain, right? All four for $12.95.
As you select a Widget, the cash register rings up the amount and total. Once you register and login, you may proceed to checkout.
Price tag? Yes, some of these Widgets are for sale. The competition, of course, is furious among Widget makers as there are a few thousand ready for download with a price tag just $4.95 less than $4.95. As in ‘Free.’
How does a Mac developer expect to make money selling something which has plenty of competition that doesn’t charge a nickel, let alone $4.95?
I don’t know. This could be an exercise in futility or it could be a trend that will grow; the next big thing. Shareware isn’t dead, it’s just more sophisticated these days.
To be fair, Tera and I both agree that Mac developers who produce good wares (share, free, or commercial) for Mac users should reap some reward for their efforts, therefore a price tag is only fair.
For those Mac developers who don’t update their applications regularly, don’t attend to user concerns, don’t provide adequate support, and gouge buyers with frequent upgrades which cost, well, shame on them.
For those Mac developers who provide applications that work well, do a good job, respond to customers and charge an appropriate price, fine. You deserve the kudos and the cash.
But a price tag on Widgets? Why not? If the Widget is useful, works well, gets updated regularly, and is used often for the intended purpose, why not? Is $5.00 too much to pay for that which does the job intended?
I’d pay $5.00 for the Doppler Radar Widget. Say Cheese brings me daily comics. Is that worth $5.00? Sometimes a single Dilbert strip is worth that much in laughter fees alone.
The reward should be in line with the quality of, not the effort, but the end result; the product, the shareware, the Widget, or the application.
In other words, if it’s good, it works, and I use it, I’ll pay for it. How much I’ll be willing to pay is somewhat subjective and varies from Mac user to Mac user.
The Widgets at the Widget Machine are very good. Is a price tag of $4.95 to $5.95 too much or too little?
Which Widgets are you using? Are they free Widgets, or do you have one or two where you’ve paid the price?