Exclusive Interview - Bodega and Apple’s Mac App Store Are Friends, Not Enemies

When Apple launched its Mac App Store, everyone was curious to see how it would impact developers and Mac end users alike. Everyone except Freshcode, that is, the company behind Bodega.

Bodega is actually the first, full-fledged Mac App Store, and it’s been around for over a year and a half now. Apple’s service, on the other hand, is barely one month old.

Launched back in mid-2009, Bodega is a desktop Macintosh application, serving as a software purchase and delivery storefront.

It lets Mac users conveniently discover and obtain the hottest and latest applications for their Macs, right on their desktop.

And Bodega is chock-full of software apps from Mac developers around the world.

The app is a free download, and after installation, it provides access to an ever-growing catalog of software to meet a wide variety of Mac computing needs.

Softpedia spoke to Ed Prasek, director of Marketing, Product Marketing and Public Relations at Spin Studio - the company through which Ed provides strategic marketing and business services to Freshcode and Bodega.

We asked him how Bodega compared with the Mac App Store in terms of service, and he was pleased to say that the two were actually “Pretty similar… but with some big differentiators,” at the same time.

“Both are desktop-based apps; both allow users to explore, discover, and purchase Mac applications; both have a mix of free and paid applications; both provide consumers the ability to rate and review applications, etc.,” Ed explained to us.

“One of the major differences, however, is that Bodega lets users download demos and trial versions before committing to a purchase,” he revealed.

As Softpedia readers should well know, Apple does not allow demos or trials in its Mac App Store.

Also, while the Mac App Store provides updates only for apps that were downloaded by the user through the Mac App Store, Bodega actually looks for updates for all apps installed on the user’s hard drive.

“It doesn’t matter whether the application was downloaded from, or purchased through Bodega. So long as the applications on the user’s hard drive a Sparkle-enhanced, Bodega will keep on eye out for updates issued by the developer,” Ed said.

“When found, Bodega lets the user know an update exists, and will even download and install it for them. It’s a really cool feature that’s very popular with our users,” Ed was keen to add on this matter.

Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but what we really wanted to know was “Has Apple’s Mac App Store affected Bodega in any way so far?”

According to Ed, it has, but not in a bad way, as many would think.

“With Apple entering the world of electronic software distribution for the Mac, it’s brought a lot of attention to Bodega, which, of course, is great,” he said.

“Bodega’s continuing to enjoy that attention with more and more people downloading and using it, and developers including their apps in Bodega.”

In fact, Freshcode is really excited about the future.

“Apple’s entry into electronic software distribution is going to revolutionize the software shopping and acquisition experience for customers … just like the iPhone revolutionized the customer experience (and expectations) in the mobile space,” Mr. Prasek elaborated.

“As more and more customers move toward ESD as a primary means of software acquisition, Bodega and its developers will greatly benefit,” Freshcode’s PR man clarified for Softpedia.

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Bodega interface

But you have to be curious about the developer’s point of view on this. While Apple charges 30 percent of the earnings, Bodega only charges 7%, and that’s not the only benefit.

Not by far, actually. In fact, here are the benefits Bodega provides developers with:

No API usage restrictions within applications.

No vetting or approval process for applications submitted to Bodega. So long as applications are not blatantly or obviously offensive, and contain no illegal content or information, they’re welcome in Bodega.

No developer program costs or charges.

Complete access to sales and customer information for each product sale occurring through Bodega.

Access to a variety of high-impact advertising, marketing, and co-marketing programs designed especially to increase product sales, as well as help developers build brand and product awareness.

No restrictions on how developers issue product upgrades or updates.

To be included in Bodega, developers need not have specialized versions of their applications that meet stringent submission guidelines and requirements.

Since developers have no need to build and maintain a separate, hybrid version of their applications to be included in Bodega, there is no risk of cannibalizing sales of those products in the rest of the sales channel.

For each sale of their product that takes place through Bodega, developers only pay 7% of the sale price to Freshcode. The developer keeps 93% of every sale of their product occurring through Bodega.

So we asked Ed, if you were to address developers a message via this interview, how would you entice them to choose your service over Apple’s? In other words, “what are the benefits of using Bodega over Apple’s Mac App Store?”

“It’s not a matter of using Bodega over the Mac App Store or vice versa,” he said.

“The reality is that developers and consumers can easily use both. The two apps don’t compete with each other; both serve as channel opportunities for developers, and convenient, intuitive Mac software acquisition points for consumers,” Ed explained.

Developers can also advertise their products via the Bodega interface.

Developers who have their products listed in Bodega can take advantage of Freshcode’s PromoSpot program to drive instant awareness and interest among Bodega users.

“As with any promotional marketing initiative, the point is to drive attention to and awareness of your product … that’s what helps generate customer interest and sales. And that’s exactly what our Bodega PromoSpot program does,” said Prasek.

In fact, “the PromoSpots perform exceedingly well for our developers,” he said, since Bodega users are 100% active and qualified.

Ed went on to elaborate:

“Consider that the industry average click-through rate for a web ad banner is between .03% and .09% (depending on the type of banner and the market to which it is served). Bodega PromoSpots, on the other hand, have an average click-through rate of 2% with some PromoSpots holders receiving 3.5% to 5.5% click-through rates.”

Still, even though the Mac App Store and Bodega haven’t necessarily engaged in a fierce battle for supremacy, there are clear advantages to choosing the latter, Ed suggested.

“There are many, many software products that, because of existing rules and regulations, won’t find a home in the Mac App Store,” he said.

“But that’s okay… Bodega is there, happy to welcome these developers into the family. And developers who have their products in the Mac App Store can also include them in Bodega. After all, why limit the venues in which you sell your product, and where consumers congregate?”, he noted.

As for Freshcode’s upcoming plans with Bodega, Ed said these included a variety of great capabilities that would make it even more useful to end users.

He declined to give any specifics, but did say that the company planned to further integrate it into the Mac experience, while developers would gain exciting new ways of marketing their products to consumers.

Mac users interested in Bodega can download it for free at www.appbodega.com.

Devs interested in offering their Mac software products through Bodega can do so at www.appbodega.com/Developers/.


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