MacAddict To Charge Developers For Including Software On CD

by , 7:00 AM EDT, September 5th, 2001

Though we saw the information posted in a private list first, seems to have been the first site to publish the news at a public venue. We also have links to an editorial below from Shawn King that might also claim the "first" prize. Imagine Media, the parent company of MacAddict Magazine, has announced that it will be charging software developers to have their demos and shareware included on MacAddict's The Disk. Imagine Media's PC Gamer, MaximumPC, and Official Xbox Magazine will also have a price tag associated with including software on their CDs as well. The pertinent part of the letter as printed by

As all of us are aware, though, our industry has keenly felt the high-tech downturn of the last year. Our magazines are no exception, and we find ourselves unable to continue offering demo distribution free of cost. Therefore, effective with the November issues of PC Gamer, MaximumPC, MacAddict, and Official Xbox Magazine, we'll be assessing a flat-rate Distribution and Handling fee for each demo we distribute. This fee, $5,000 per commercial demo and $500 per shareware demo, will apply to all software selected by our editors for inclusion on our discs. It will help us defray the very significant cost of cover discs, and allow us to continue offering the proven, targeted sampling opportunities those discs provide.

You can read more information at's Web site. There is much more to the letter that was not quoted. You can find more information on MacAddict's The Disk at the MacAddict Web site. Shawn King offered an audio editorial about this issue yesterday, and has some follow-up comments on the issue today.

We have a thread on this topic in our forums for those wishing to discuss it.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is a fairly major deal in the world of software distribution; who among us has not ripped open a cover CD to get the latest demo or update? That said, when was the last time you did so?

Imagine Media is clearly suffering from the industry-wide collapse of advertising revenue, and is looking to shore up revenues with this plan. The problem is that there remain free choices for these software developers to get their wares distributed for free. Our guess is that all of the print magazines throughout the tech-related world would love to be able to charge developers for including files on their CDs, and Imagine's move could be a catalyst for others to follow. The files add value for the magazines, but the CDs themselves offer fantastic exposure to developers. It has long been considered a worthwhile trade, but with declining ad-revenue many publications, or at least MacAddict, will be increasingly faced with hard decisions such as this.

Another issue is the increasing competition in terms of distribution from the Internet. Broadband is not ubiquitous by any stretch of the imagination, but for those who have it downloading an 80 MB file is nothing. There are many that don't have it, however, and as has been said in our comments and forum posts on other topics, there are many places around the world without any meaningful broadband at all.

US$500 is a lot of money to all but a handful of shareware developers, and even the largest of companies won't be pleased at shelling out US$5000 for having their demos included on The Disk. One way or another, something is going to change in the cover disk business.

One other unrelated note: If you scroll down a bit on's Web site, you can read a scathing review of this editor's column on the free Mac OS X upgrade that will cost you US$20. Criticizing that piece seems to have become somewhat of a past time.