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I don't know how to feel

I got a Spolmail recently that went like this:


As a way of saying thank you, I'd like to offer you an upgrade from the CityDesk Home Edition to CityDesk Professional for only $99. Normally, the Professional edition costs $349, so this is a one time chance to save $250! But you have to act fast. This offer is good for 72 hours only.


I don't know how I should feel about this but my first inclination is 'You greasy bastard!' followed almost immediately by 'cool use of urgency' at a time of year when most new budgets kick in.  Price is down to the point of petty cash (not including the original $99).  I almost reached for my CC.  Almost.

So what say ye?

Brad Siemens
Monday, January 20, 2003

If you need it it sounds like a bargain.

Ed
Monday, January 20, 2003

I think it's a nice marketing tactic.  I would love it if Joel clues us in on how successful it was.

Bob Greene
Monday, January 20, 2003

I'd be interested to know why the offer was made. I know some companies do it because they need the revenue to meet a target for the financial year, so the deadline is a real one. Can't imagine that applies to Fog Creek. Joel?

David Clayworth
Monday, January 20, 2003

He may also be sending this to different groups with different upgrade offers, just to see where the sweet spot in the response is.

The 72 hour deadline is a classic marketing strategy - act NOW! or lose the great deal ...

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Monday, January 20, 2003

If he's really into selling his program perhaps he might consider non-US educational licenses.

I asked for pricing for educational licenses for Saudi but was told that they thought I had a great use for City Desk, but no they had no intention of offering the college an educational license 'cos they only had them for the States.

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 20, 2003

Let's say the 72 hour window expires -- I wonder: if you wrote them and said, "I would like to buy it but I'm only willing to pay the discounted rate you offered me a while back" --

Would they agree?

programmer
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Would you?  And what would be the next step?

Brad Siemens
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I would accept your offer to pay the discounted rate of $99, even when the 72 hours have expired. 

It's $99 more bucks than they would have if they didn't accept your offer.  What drawback could there be to their accepting the offer?

The only one I can think of is that word would get around that "you can bargain with Fog Creek about how much you pay for their software," and they are inundated with "offers" to buy it for $99.  And perhaps this would negatively affect their bottom line.

On the other hand, I suspect it would be a good thing for them if they had a bunch of people clamoring to buy it for $99.  I suspect that those people are folks who would NOT buy it for $349.

I have gotten similar e-mails to the one you described, offering CityDesk Pro for $99.  My suspicion is that the time window is tied to the date when you downloaded it.  I don't think anyone at Fog Creek was sitting around, looking at their balance sheet, and suddenly blurted out, "We need a cash infusion, fast!" and sent out that e-mail offer.  I think those e-mails go out year-round, depending on when you downloaded the trial version of CityDesk.

programmer
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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