LiveDiscKit From Rogue Amoeba

June 27th, 2008

At this year’s Macworld conference, the guys at Rogue Amoeba decided to do what many trade show exhibitors do: give away a free demo CD to interested attendees. But recognizing the conventional drawback of these demos, that they are obsolete from almost the minute the disc is burned, they invested in developing a clever application that runs from the disc, and conveniently presents the latest copies of all of their software to the user. If what’s on the disc is still fresh, the user runs it. Otherwise, the latest version is downloaded from the web and that’s what the user sees instead.

I spoke to them about their solution at the time, and was impressed by it. It certainly seemed like a good way to avoid turning those thousands of plastic discs into guaranteed landfill fodder. But what’s even cooler is that they’ve now decided to share the technology so that other companies who are interested can pull of the same feat with a minimum of work:

Announcing LiveDiscKit

It’s also worth reading to near the end of the article, where they confess that even with the clever technology in place, the discs did not turn out to be all that effective as marketing tools:

Of the 5,000 discs we gave out, 5.8% were ever used. That may seem a bit low, but it gets quite depressing when converted to an absolute count: 288. Out of 5000 CDs given out, no more than 300 were used – perhaps giving away CDs isn’t the best idea after all

Well, you can’t win them all! On the bright side, I don’t think they would have been able to gather this information without putting in the effort to make the discs smart enough to “check for updates.” It was a valiant effort, and a very cool idea that other companies might still find useful.

3 Responses to “LiveDiscKit From Rogue Amoeba”

  1. Pierre B Says:

    The digital age has created a situation where we have a better idea of what works. There is a famous quote from a large purchaser of advertising who said (I am paraphasing): “I know that half of the money I spend on advertising is waisted. The problem is that I do not know which half”.

    With the information available to us now, companies are starting to get the information to determine which half works and which does not.

    The situaiton described in this post is just another example. The other more obvious is the Google advertising model and click through.

    if the 300 or so folks who used the CD were the right ones – may not be a bad result – it all depends.

  2. txguy Says:

    From an advertiser’s point of view, a 5.8% response rate is amazing!

    A direct marketing campaign (roughly, any advertising based on giving people a free thing and expecting them to do something measurable with it) usually rests on an optimistic assumption of a 2% response rate.

    Results between 1% and 2% are not unusual, and would ordinarily be considered a success. Get a 5% response rate consistently, and you can quite reasonably call your contact list “highly targeted.”

  3. Sanjay Samani (ssanchez) Says:

    When considering a demo CD for next year’s MWSF, I though that there is a possibility for Mac devs to club together to create CD’s with software from several companies. The advantages would be:

    – Access to better bulk purchasing discounts
    – Better for the environment, with few discs and less wasted space on each
    – Hopefully more people are likely to access a CD and try out the software on it if there is a lot of different software on it.

    I’d be interested to see if other developers would be interested in this idea (and will submit to MacSB mailing list closer to MWSF)

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