“We recovered tens of thousands of dollars with DevMate’s help”
Greg Scown
Founder, Smile
Smile creates productivity software for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Their award-winning products, such as PDFpen, PDFpenPro, TextExpander, and DiscLabel increase productivity so that users can get to the finish line sooner, leaving them more time for what comes next.

Challenge

The Smile staff spend most of their time making good products and providing customer support.
“That leaves little room for secondary issues like update mechanisms, analytics and licensing schemes.”

Greg Scown, founder, says there were quite a number of reasons they were looking for a platform like DevMate.

“For example you’d have to build your own infrastructure to do what is known as a delta update. And that’s where if we do version 5.0.1, you would effectively download only the bits that have changed since 5.0.

And that’s clever and that can be done, but honestly, as a developer, it gets kind of complicated. We know that downloading a full app with each update is a waste of people’s time. And I’m embarrassed we wasted people’s time as we had, partly because we lacked the time ourselves.”

Another problem was the lack of data.

“We had some basic data that we’ve been using. We certainly asked people where they got to us. But that excludes people who came from the App Store or people who didn’t answer. We knew nothing of their OS X versions or the update rates for our apps.”

Without additional software or self-written solutions, developers can hardly get any reliable data on their user base. With such a scarce collection, Smile had difficulties with analytical conclusions and marketing choices. And, without a ready set of development tools they had to spend more time on tedious routine tasks.

Solution

It has been a major change for Smile, who got, in their own words,

“Complete freedom in terms of designing licensing schemes and their presentation. DevMate offers a lot of control, just the way you want it.”

Greg says they enjoyed the flexibility on every step of the registration and licensing process, because “you can start with a minimum of effort and a minimum of learning and simply customize later.” He added that customization allows Smile to show their brand image.

“DevMate has an API that we can use. Our registration and activation screens aren’t their default. Their system is flexible enough to build the registration scheme that we wanted. And the backend works great! We get to have our appearance as Smile and their fantastic backend that provides the flow for the registration experience.”

With the ready-to-go mechanisms they were also able to integrate complex update systems without hand-coding.

“Now, the place where DevMate makes this a little more interesting is that their version of Sparkle [note — app updater framework] is integrated with their dashboard backend and makes things super-super easy that otherwise you’d have to build your own infrastructure for.”

“Apart from the ability to track downloads and update in the product, a framework for customer feedback, a framework for crash and issue reporting, our team most of all appreciated this fantastic dashboard that pulls everything together.”
Detailed analytics on sales and downloads, conversions funnels, traffic sources, and campaign reports

With DevMate, Smile discovered that a number of large businesses with many users were sharing one “Single User” or maybe a few “Office Pack” licenses. Smile recovered tens of thousands of dollars from non-compliant companies, many of whom had no idea this was happening in their organization. This sort of return more than pays for the DevMate service.

Highlights of the platform:

It’s not typically hard to explain to a developer why to choose DevMate's payment integrations over do-it-yourself. This is a big area of development that you don’t have to take on yourself.
We figured out immediately that this is a system that was built by developers for developers. It’s clearly the backbone of MacPaw’s own CleanMyMac business. They thought “Ha, we’ve built this thing that’s pretty neat. We have resources to take it forward.” And they did just that.
We’re very impressed with DevMate’s support. For instance, during the recent deployment of PDFpen, we ran into a serious problem. And they just jumped in, and investigated, and came up with a detailed answer. To my great embarrassment, the problem had nothing to do with them. We were using an outdated library, so it was entirely us. And they were incredibly gracious — that’s when it’s all tested. You’re under the gun, you think that something’s wrong with someone else’s product, you’re begging them for help — and they deliver.
I think it’s very powerful. I think if you’re a small developer and you only have a limited amount of things that you can focus on, then license and crash reporting are probably not your core competences. It makes a lot of sense to choose someone who has focused on those things as their core competency.

Activations, Analytics — DevMate has it all

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