Following on from this Twitter conversation https://twitter.com/typographica/status/307302297250168832
There's obviously a lot of feeling about the recent trend of launching fonts with 80-90% discounts. Some foundries say it cheapens fonts, and some are forced to emulate the offers in order to be noticed. As a marketing technique, it really works well in the short term as it pushes the new fonts quickly up the sales charts, but after the sale's ended, how long do they stick around?
The sales charts at MyFonts are based solely on dollar value, so a font family at $5 has to sell ten times as many as one at $50 to reach the same chart position. I had an idea for weighting the charts in favour of more realistically priced fonts:
Font Family X - standard price $200, 90% intro offer = $20 each family
Font Family Y - standard price $200, 50% intro offer = $100 each family
Font Family Z - standard price $200, 0% intro offer = $200 each family
As it stands, to reach the same position, X needs to sell five times as many as Y, which needs to sell twice as much as Z.
If the sales charts mechanism was changed such that the dollar value received was also affected by the offer price, say by taking half the offer percentage off the resulting price (only for working out chart position), the prices of each font above (in terms of how the chart sees them) would be:
Font Family X - standard price $200, 90% intro offer = $20 each family . minus 45% = $11
Font Family Y - standard price $200, 50% intro offer = $100 each family . minus 25% = $75
Font Family Z - standard price $200, 0% intro offer = $200 each family . minus 0% = $200
Clearly, the more heavily discounted fonts now need to sell even more in relation to non discounted fonts to reach the same position in the chart. There is still a marketing advantage to putting your fonts on offer, but the more ridiculous offers would not be as effective as they are now.
What do think? Is this fair? I'm undecided, but I think the system as it is now is starting to force foundries making decent fonts to discount heavily in order to keep up with not-so-decent fonts. If it continues, it won't be long before every new release is 99% off for a month then never sells again after that. If a new system could be shown to give more long term sales, that can only be a good thing.