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Great purchasing experiences

As you’ll know if you read my “main” site, WPShout, you can now download the lovely design which powers this blog, with the price start at free.

The design — Empty Spaces — is available as “pay what you want”, meaning anyone can download it and pay any amount they like. I’ll cover this in more detail over on Shout; I don’t wish to dissect my WordPress theme experiment here.

Instead, I’d like to focus on the practical hows of selling something like a simple WordPress theme. After reading about Nathan Barry’s experience with Gumroad a couple of months ago, I thought I’d give using it a shot. It looks simple, easy, effective and cheap, and it’s all of those things.

If you want to download Empty Spaces on WPShout, you just need to click the download button, which triggers Gumroad’s JS and loads an overlay where you can confirm your choice, select a price and input card details as necessary. Within a couple of clicks you’ll have the theme downloaded.

It’s this kind of user experience which is nice. And if you’re paying for something, you want a nice expierience, right?

This brings me back to my post a fortnight ago, where I wrote about SimCity’s DRM woes. At the time I made the comment that piracy is as much a service problem as it is a “crime” problem. The head of the two-man team which made Super Meat Boy wrote earlier this week:

In the digital world, you don’t have a set inventory. Your game is infinitely replicable at a negligible or zero cost). Digital inventory has no value. Your company isn’t worth an infinite amount because you have infinite copies of your game. As such, calculating worth and loss based on infinite inventory is impossible. If you have infinite stock, and someone steals one unit from that stock, you still have infinite stock. If you have infinite stock and someone steals 1 trillion units from that stock , you still have infinite stock. There is no loss of stock when you have an infinite amount.

Tommy’s post was actually very interesting in its own right, and well worth a read, but I’ll leave you to do that in your own time. Right now, I have a point to make, and thus I’d like to draw your attention to something written by the director of Game of Thrones, reported by The Verge:

Game of Thrones director David Petrarca downplayed the threat of piracy to the show’s success, saying that illegal downloads don’t matter since shows thrive on “cultural buzz.”

And, hey, if people are going to purchase your product because they want to support you, then make sure people know that their purchase is actually going to you, and not the Bank of Corporation.

Which brings me back to Gumroad. Gumroad is one of many independent, brilliant direct-to-fans/customers selling platforms which have popped up in recent years. Bandcamp is another fantastic example; a musical selling platform, Bandcamp offers hugely flexible pricing, super high quality DRM free downloads and no fuss.

I have spent vastly more on Bandcamp than I have on iTunes or the like in recent years because I like knowing the money is going to the person who made the thing I’m buying. I also like to know I’m getting the proper product. Everyone likes those things, right?

Great experiences are the future.

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