Your opinion on super heavy discounts on MyFonts.

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  • PabloImpallari
    PabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited March 2013
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    Isn't marketing and promotion the main reason why Myfonts (and other distributors) keep it's % share?
    Why does designers themselves need to offer those deep discount's then?
    Sorry, but something seems weird...
  • Ralf
    Ralf Posts: 170
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    Wasn't marketing and promotion the supposed reason why Myfonts (and other distributors) keep it's % share?
    Says who?
    That's more true for foundries like FSI, but MyFonts is just a reseller. How should they make promotion for 100.000 fonts from hundreds of foundries at once? This cannot work.

    MyFonts is just a sales channel, and they do a great job at that. That's what made them so popular in just a couple of years. A shop that is extremely easy to use and that reaches a broad audience from design professionals to private users—all over the world.
    I am thankful for that. For our little foundry MyFonts has become an important part of our business.
  • PabloImpallari
    PabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited March 2013
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    It's a symbiotic relation.
    They are popular because they have a great website and offer a great user experience.
    But they are also popular because 99.9% of font designers links to them when promoting their own fonts elsewhere.

    Each time you promote your own fonts using social media (twitter, behance, pinterest, facebook, flick, your own blog, etc) you are also promoting Myfonts.
    In the internet economy, links are valuable. (Google raises 40 billions a year for selling links).
    Myfonts gets advertising for free :)

    Agree, they do a great job at that... but they are more than "just a sales channel".
    They are the biggest one. In one way or another, they set the rules of the market.
    How many foundries are not in MyFonts? HF&J, James Montalbano and House Industries? Any other?
  • Thierry Blancpain
    Thierry Blancpain Posts: 205
    edited March 2013
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    Pablo: All Swiss type foundries that I know of. Lineto, Optimo, Swiss Typefaces, Nouvelle Noire, EuropaType, TypeDifferent, and Grilli Type isn't on MyFonts either.
  • PabloImpallari
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    Good to know. Many of them I heard now for the first time... which... more or less... proves the point
  • PabloImpallari
    PabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited March 2013
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    Bottom line:
    You have to cultivate your own clients/users/newsletter and social networks.
    If you fail to do that, and end up depending on the Myfonts newsletter as the only way to get sales/exposure, you will have to dance the 99% discount music.

    I'm about to release a few commercial fonts in the near future.
    And I've been thinking a lot.... maybe a little to much...
    In the end, I don't want to give them a 50% share, plus 99% discount.
    I will try my luck by going solo, as HF&J, Terminal and House.
    If I fail, I will have to surrender to myfont. But I will try hard not to.
    Of course, it will take a lot of extra work... but I'm not lazy.
  • Ralf
    Ralf Posts: 170
    edited March 2013
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    You have to cultivate your own clients/users/newsletter and social networks.
    If you fail to do that, and end up depending on the Myfonts newsletter as the only way to get sales/exposure, you will have to dance the 99% discount tune.
    Yes, those are two possible options. Anyone can choose. And what’s wrong with that?
    Some might be even very happy with the second choice.

    (I am still puzzled why some seem to be so eager to try to find reasons why discounts are necessarily a bad thing for foundries or font users. The rules of supply and demand have worked for centuries. It’s not like the font business is at the crossroads just because a fraction of the available fonts are offered with discounts.)
  • PabloImpallari
    PabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited March 2013
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    I'm not eager. Just stating my opinion as Rodrigo requested in the thread.
    All my fonts are free so far... so I don't think badly about discounts :)
  • Ralf
    Ralf Posts: 170
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    I'm not eager. Just stating my opinion …
    My comment in brackets was not about you. Just a general observation.
  • PabloImpallari
    PabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited March 2013
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    Yes, those are two possible options. Anyone can choose. And what’s wrong with that?
    Some might be even very happy with the second choice.
    The thing is that it's not "entirely" a freewill choice. Once that everybody is doing it, the ones that does not agree are somewhat forced by the circumstances to do it anyway.

    Let's take Ale Paul as an example, since he has tweeted against deep introductory discounts.
    Ale has a very strong social network, build on base of quality work, earned over a long period of time. Has lots of followers everywhere in the world, etc... Basically, he is a Rock Star. However, he ended up offering a 30% discount. Not as big as those 90% discount, but a small 30% discount that otherwise would never have happened.

    However, never mind... I don't sell font just yet... so it's not my business...
    Sometimes I post strong opinions that I can regret in the future.
    If I'm wrong about it, I will be happy to be corrected, and learn something new.


  • Alex Kaczun
    Alex Kaczun Posts: 163
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    I agree completely with Ralf H.

    Everyone is free to pursue whatever works best for them. If font discounts increase font sales and extreme font discounts increase font sales even further, everyone benefits accordingly—both font designer and user(s).

    Supply & demand work for me. Why the apprehension?
  • Adam Twardoch
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    I think this is exactly why so many foundries use distributors and don't want to be bothered with running a retail website. Because they want to be in the type design business and not in the retail business. It's just different businesses. If you decide to run your web shop, you automatically have less time to design. This is another important factor: the commission you pay to MyFonts may be higher than the cost of running your own web store, but distributors also save your time. You finalize your fonts, send them to the distributor and you can take some vacation time or start a new type design project.

    And *that* is one of the reasons why you pay a commission to MyFonts: this commission makes sure that other people (such as, for example, myself) work for you while you don't have to work. And you often don't even notice that the others are working because everything "just works" (most of the time ;) ).

    I certainly understand why some foundries such as House Industries don't sell through distributors. As Rich Roat of House explained to me, they actually *want* to be in the retail business. They *want* to be in contact with customers, respond to their inquiries, send them their nice merchandise etc. They consciously made that decision. as Rich explained to me, it wasn't a decision against selling through distributors such as MyFonts. Instead, it was a decision *for* becoming a retailer of their own products.

    There is another model: many foundries who are on MyFonts also run their own website but that website doesn't have an e-commerce section. The foundry does their own marketing, is active in social networks and directs people to their own website. Then, that website redirects to MyFonts just for the sale.

    Of course, when the foundry redirects to MyFonts, they are usually registered as a MyFonts affiliate. So for each of their own fonts where users came to their own website first (as a result of their own marketing) and then to MyFonts, the foundry gets a 15% referral comission for the sale. So in such case, MyFonts actually only gets a 35% comission while the foundry gets their usual 50% comission plus the 15% referral comission, i.e. 65% in total.

    With a setup like this, the foundry, once again, has an excellent chance to get good analytics. The foundry can monitor how many sales went through the 35/50+15% scheme (i.e. where the sale occurred as a result of the foundry's own marketing) and how many sales went through the pure 50/50% scheme (which means that the sale most likely happened for other reasons i.e. because of MyFonts own activities, or thanks to one of MyFonts' other referrers).

    This, again, gives you, a foundry, a quite reliable analytic about the efficiency of your own "solo" marketing activities. Without MyFonts, you'd only need to rely on your marketing. With MyFonts, you can do your own marketing and get 65% or do no marketing and get 50%.

    Again, I think it's actually very interesting. MyFonts is a distributor, and it tries to do its job in this role as well as only possible. It carries out sales and does some marketing. As a foundry, you're free to join MyFonts and not do anything else, or be on MyFonts and do your own sales and marketing at the same time, or you can just run your own solution. I think it's a pretty good situation for everyone! :)

    Best,
    Adam
  • Adam Twardoch
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    > The thing is that it's not "entirely" a freewill choice. Once that everybody is doing it,
    > the ones that does not agree are somewhat forced by the circumstances to do it anyway.

    Pablo, but you can say the same thing about the "previous" situation :) You could claim that when everyone were selling their fonts at a fixed price of, say, $29, then a new designer would be "forced by the circumstances" to offer their own fonts for $29 because everybody was doing that. Some foundries occasionally offered a little-useful Bold Italic subset font as a free demo, and that was considered a big thing.

    But then Jos Buivenga came up with a revolutionary concept to offer the Regular full-Pro-character set style for free for each family. He didn't think that he is "forced by circumstances" to stick to the system that he found. He conceived a new model, and it worked very well for him.

    And then, there are other foundries which don't sell their fonts for $29 but for $60 per style. And then, some people started doing promotions of 25%. And then somebody went with an introductory promotion of 90%.

    People used to sell each format separately. Because "the circumstances forced them". Then some people started selling all formats at the same time. Some people sold just one character set, others made separate Std and Pro versions. Some people offered web fonts while others didn't. Some distributors offer "pay once" webfonts and others offer subscriptions.

    And then came Google and started commissioning open source fonts and started giving them away for free.

    In each of these changes, some people asked questions: is this any good for us? And rightly so! Certainly, not every change or experiment makes sense — not even for those who are doing them. Or often it is good for them but not for their competitors.

    But that's the nature of change, of progress. New ideas come every day, new requirements come every week, new software technologies come every month, new hardware comes every year. I think it's very sensible that some people are conservative while others are very progressive. Because that reflects the audience, the consumer — some consumers are conservative while others are progressive.
  • Jan Schmoeger
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    But then Jos Buivenga came up with a revolutionary concept to offer the Regular full-Pro-character set style for free for each family.
    As I mentioned this strategy earlier in this thread, I would like to add here that I believe that Jos Buivenga's popularity stemmed primarily from the quality of his fonts, and the free-font gimmick only amplified this success.
  • Alex Kaczun
    Alex Kaczun Posts: 163
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    @twardoch

    Amen... well said!
  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,386
    edited March 2013
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    I feel like there's something wrong with the way the Hot New Fonts list is weighted. It encourages fonts of arbitrary quality to get pushed higher on the list with ridiculous discounts. By 90% discounting, you're sort-of-paying to be higher on the list, not making a better font to be higher on the list. Now that so many people are regularly deep discounting new releases, it's harder for full priced fonts to gain momentum and more than half the chart is blown away by deep discounted fonts. I don't mind doing battle with other fonts but if you only look at reasonably priced fonts on the hot fonts list, it's a short list. A good, full priced font that sells a few copies should at least have a fighting chance of gracing the very bottom of the list and having a change to gain momentum.

    Unless I start deep discounting again, there's little hope of cresting the bottom of the chart. It used to be that I could sell 3 or 4 fonts, show up on the bottom of the chart and if it was a good font, it could stay for a while and have a chance of climbing higher.

    Maybe it's technically not cheating but I think it feels like cheating. Like that time I stuffed the ballot box at the school cafeteria and won a free box of lousy tea. There was no rule against it but it was unfair. When I did the deep discounting trick in the early Hot New Fonts days, it felt like cheating. I was able to take fonts that were so-so commission jobs, mediocre at best and I was able to crank them up near the top of the charts with a 90% discount. After I did it, I was like "uh oh... is this really allowed?".

    If you regularly deep discount your new font releases, you are a sneaky weasel. I mean that in the nicest way, I assure you.
  • Alex Kaczun
    Alex Kaczun Posts: 163
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    Ray—I completely understand your point of view.

    No matter how well you build something or the criteria you use to sell something, someone will figure out a way to capitalize on the mechanism. Human nature.

    I think we have all have had our hand in it, at one point or another.

    I've tried offering 2-free fonts in one of my families in order to encourage users to try my fonts and hopefully promote additional sales. I've even tried discounting up to 50%, at times, to see if that would promote additional sales.

    Interestingly, no matter what I do, my average monthly royalty payments, especially from MyFonts sales, remains pretty much the same. I do not know if that's necessarily good or bad. Just an observation.

    In any event, I agree that MyFonts should probably adjust it's mechanism, from time-to-time, to weigh fonts more equally. But, I have a feeling no matter what criteria they use, someone will figure out a way to circumvent it. Just a guess on my part.

    Anyway, do whatever you have to do going forward. We all do. Hopefully we can make some sort of living off our handiwork. There sure are a lot of fonts out there to compete against.

    Maybe I should try naming my next new font "Please buy me"! Could work. Who knows ;-)
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  • Ben Blom
    Ben Blom Posts: 250
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    When I did the deep discounting trick in the early Hot New Fonts days, it felt like cheating. I was able to take fonts that were so-so commission jobs, mediocre at best and I was able to crank them up near the top of the charts with a 90% discount.
    Ray, I guess you felt like cheating towards the design community. This, though, is but one side of the coin.

    Imagine that you designed a font which is not mediocre, but which you feel is really very functional, very beautiful, very interesting, etc. — what to do? You feel that everyone in the design community should be able to see this font, to buy it and use it. Well, then you might feel obligated to this font, to offer it with a 90% introductory discount. If you would not do that, it would feel like cheating towards this font — and perhaps also like cheating towards the design community.
  • Paul van der Laan
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    Bold Monday are also not on MyFonts. (As are Commercial Type, OurType, The Enschedé Font Foundry and Letterror, for instance.)
  • Ben Blom
    Ben Blom Posts: 250
    edited March 2013
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    I believe that Jos Buivenga's popularity stemmed primarily from the quality of his fonts, and the free-font gimmick only amplified this success.
    It might be like this (I hope so), but who knows for sure? Many high quality fonts are released every year, which do not get succesful. I guess it's really hard to find out, to what extent Jos Buivenga's success is based on the quality of his fonts, to what extent it is based on the "free-font gimmick", to what extent it is based on the list price of his fonts, to what extent it is based on "dormant demand" in the font market, and to what extent it is based on numerous other factors.

    It's like the music business: there is no simple recipe for success.
  • Ale Paul
    Ale Paul Posts: 33
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    If you see the "Hot New Fonts" today at MyFonts you will find that the #1 and #2 are similar in price per family (Quan is $199 but on sale for $19.90!!!) and Amelia who was released 2 weeks later is $249 without discount.
    So, thats mean, there is not only one way to go.
  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,386
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    Ben, I don't know for certain that gaming the Hot New Fonts charts is sneaky. But I do know that if I was sitting at my computer, discounting my fonts 90% with the intention of sending them flying up the charts and someone asked me, "Hey Ray, what are you doing with that computer? Something sneaky?" I would answer, "I think so."
  • Ben Blom
    Ben Blom Posts: 250
    edited March 2013
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    I feel like there's something wrong with the way the Hot New Fonts list is weighted. It encourages fonts of arbitrary quality to get pushed higher on the list with ridiculous discounts. By 90% discounting, you're sort-of-paying to be higher on the list, not making a better font to be higher on the list.
    Well, not exactly. It encourages fonts that customers want to buy for the price they are offered for, to get pushed higher on the list. The customers "vote with their wallet", to push fonts higher on the list. If the customers feel the price is too high for the quality of the fonts concerned, or if they consider this quality to be unacceptable, they will not buy those fonts. This system of "letting the market decide", is more objective (less arbitrary) than any other system I can think of.

    An alternative system would be to use a "jury system", where one or more experts decide which new (or perhaps old) fonts are "good", and are, therefore, given extra attention in a newsletter (or in any other way). In a jury system, the fonts to be given attention, are selected in a (inter)subjective way. If the "jury" is doing a good job, there is nothing wrong with this system.

    The disadvantage of a "sales chart system" like MyFonts' is, that it gives attention to what sells, at the expense of what is being considered "good" by many (or by experts). The disadvantage of a jury system is, that it gives attention to what is considered "good" by the "jury" involved, at the expense of objectivity and "what the market would want". This contradiction is not as big as it may seem: many fonts that are considered "good" by many, sell well; and many fonts that sell well, are considered "good" by many (but not all, of course).

    The lack of objectivity of a jury system can be a problem. If a font vendor sells its own library of fonts for which it receives 100% of the revenues, and if this vendor also sells fonts from independent foundries, to whom it has to pay, say, 50% of the revenues — then there is an incentive for the "jury" of this vendor to give more attention to the fonts of their own library. In a situation like this, the "jury" should try to find a balance (whatever that exactly may be) between giving attention to the fonts from their own library, and to fonts from independent foundries.

    Because of the inevitable arbitrary nature of a jury system, some people might say that something is wrong with that system. Perhaps some vendors which have a jury system, do not find the right balance between giving attention to their own fonts, and to fonts from independent foundries.

    On might say that a font vendor which has both its own font library and a jury system, has a right to give extra attention to its own fonts — if that vendor has worked very hard for many years to build a big customer base. I tend to agree with this. However, when comparing this vendor, with another vendor which also has a big customer base but has a sales chart system, I would say that the sales-chart-vendor offers more of a level playing field to their participating independent foundries, than the jury-vendor.
  • Ralf
    Ralf Posts: 170
    edited March 2013
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    The disadvantage of a "sales chart system" like MyFonts', is that it gives attention to what sells, at the expense of what is being considered "good" by many.
    But isn't that true for every branch? For how many decades do we have book bestseller lists and music charts, which are based on sales and not on “quality” (whatever that would mean)?
  • Ben Blom
    Ben Blom Posts: 250
    edited March 2013
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    I forgot to add the final conclusion to my last comment. Here it is.

    Both the "sales chart system" and the "jury system" have advantages and disadvantages, which are part and parcel of them. A sales chart system emphasizes sales, not "quality" (whatever that may be). A jury system emphasizes "quality" (according to the "jury"), not sales. When these systems are implemented well, I think they are both suitable. However, do not expect a sales chart system to produce the results of a jury system, and do not expect a jury system to produce the results of a sales chart system. (It seems that some contributors here, including Ray, expect a sales chart system to produce the results of a jury system.)
  • Stephen Coles
    Stephen Coles Posts: 998
    edited March 2013
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    BTW, the list of libraries not sold on MyFonts is much longer than what has been mentioned. The largest of these is FontFont.
  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,386
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    I have no problem with a chart based on sales. I just think the 90% off sales shouldn't "count" as much as they currently do.