In this AppSumo Review, I’m sharing my experience of the platform, the pros & cons and things to be aware of.
I have bought numerous pieces of software from AppSumo over the years. Though Appsumo is generally a great service, there are definitely pitfalls and things to look out for.
- What is AppSumo
- Who is AppSumo Aimed At
- AppSumo Review – Pros
- AppSumo Review – Cons
- Why do Companies Offer their Products on AppSumo
- What is AppSumo Plus
- What is AppSumo Briefcase
- AppSumo Review – Summary Thoughts
What is AppSumo
For those of you unfamiliar with AppSumo. It’s a website that offers lifetime deals on software. There are numerous other sites that do the same thing but AppSumo is the biggest and in my experience tends to have the best deals.
AppSumo also has the best refund policy I’ve come across for any of these type of sites. All the products offered come with a 60-day moneyback guarantee, so if you buy something, use it for a while but decide it’s not for you then you can simply get a refund from AppSumo.
Usually (but not always) the tools on offer are from relatively young SaaS companies, who have a product that you would otherwise pay for on a monthly basis. They will offer their product on AppSumo at a heavily discounted one-time fee.
There are normally different plans offered where you stack multiple ‘codes’ which will give you different limits or features.
For example, Short Pixel Image Optimizer (which is an image compression app for WordPress) were on there at the end of 2020. Normally their product plans look something like this:
Their offer on AppSumo looked like this:
Somewhat unusually for the deals on AppSumo, ShortPixel is actually a well-established product that has been around since 2014. I was already using the free version of ShortPixel and by sheer coincidence was just contemplating paying for their lowest monthly tier because I was hitting the limits on the free plan, so when I spotted the AppSumo deal I bought 1 code for $49. That will pay for itself in 12 months.
Not all the deals on AppSumo are such no-brainers though, so let’s cover what I see as the pros and cons.
Who is AppSumo Aimed At
Most of the software deals offered are aimed at small business owners, so if you run your own blog or are a freelance writer, designer, run some sort of digital business or whatever then definitely check it out.
The types of software I see on there all the time are:
- SEO tools
- Email marketing tools
- Image tools
- Video tools
- Content tools
- Analytics tools
AppSumo Review – Pros
- You really can pick up some bargains that potentially save you thousands of dollars over time
- The 60-day money-back guarantee is great
- You’ll often find some very innovative young products on there
- Quite often I’ll be paying for another piece of software but then see an equivalent come up on AppSumo, so I can switch and save
AppSumo Review – Cons
It is easy to get carried away with AppSumo and start buying things you don’t really need and will never use. “Oh that’s a bargain, I don’t need it now but I might in the future so I’m going to grab it whilst it’s on offer”, that kind of mentality.
I see people on AppSumo who have bought 100’s of deals and I doubt anyone needs that many pieces of software in their lives.
Don’t become an AppSumo junkie.
Overly Enthusiastic User Reviews
Something I’ve come to realise quite quickly is don’t trust the user reviews. I’m not saying they are faked (although I’m sure some of that goes on).
There are quite a few deals I’ve been tempted by on AppSumo that initially look good and get lots of great reviews from people who are gushing about how great the product is. Once I’ve then tested the product for myself I’ve come to a very different opinion.
I’m not 100% sure why this happens. My theory is that there are a lot of people buying tools that have very limited experience with what competing products have to offer. So they see something and think it’s great without realising there are much better tools for the job already out there.
My other theory is that some people are just Magpies, they see something shiny and new and think it’s awesome without really thinking through how useful it actually is and then write a glowing AppSumo review to reaffirm their purchase.
So don’t rely on other peoples AppSumo review, before you buy anything on AppSumo test it thoroughly for yourself to draw your own conclusion. If you have to buy it to test all the features, then do so and get your money back if it doesn’t make the grade.
You have to be aware that most of the time you are buying early-stage products from startups. The product may be great but that doesn’t always mean the company will be able to turn it into a profitable product. There is no guarantee that they are going to be around for the long term.
This is just a risk you take. In two years time the company may fail and shut down or they may simply decide to shutter the product because it’s not something they want to continue supporting for whatever reason.
That being said, according to AppSumo, 92% of the companies that launch an offer on their platform are still live in 3 years time.
Lack of Product Development
Quite often you are buying an immature product that doesn’t yet have all the functionality you want or for some other reason can’t yet live up to the promise. In this case, you are taking a gamble that the product will go on to be successful and the founders will carry on developing and building it.
Most products that launch on AppSumo publish a product development roadmap so that you can see what types of features the founders are planning on adding going forwards. But obviously, there is no guarantee these will ever get built.
Companies That Don’t Honour the Spirit of the Deal
This doesn’t happen very often to be fair but it’s far from unheard of. When you buy a product on AppSumo you are usually buying a plan, or have a choice of plans e.g. ‘Basic’ or ‘Growth’. These plans may have different usage limits or features. The spirit of the offer is normally that most features developed in the future will be added to your plan at no cost or it will be expressly stated in the original offer what types of things will not be included going forwards.
What sometimes happens though is the company will create a new plan, let’s call it the ‘Enterprise’ plan, and low and behold all/most new features are only available in that.
This is all a bit of a grey area as some new features may cost the company money when used e.g. retrieving search engine data like no. of impressions etc. Or the feature may be distinctly targeting a different type of user or use case. So it would make sense to not make it available to lifetime deal customers.
There is not much you can do to protect yourself against this, but like I say it is pretty rare for a company to deliberately snub the users that helped them become successful.
Why do Companies Offer their Products on AppSumo
Some of you may be wondering why a software company would even offer their product on AppSumo in the first place. Why sell your product for a heavily discounted lifetime deal, when you could charge monthly for it and have a healthy recurring revenue.
The answer to this is pretty simple. AppSumo offers the potential to acquire a lot of customers and therefore revenue in a very short period of time. AppSumo gives companies access to over 1m registered users, a huge email list, 4,000 affiliates etc. Basically, it’s a marketing machine that a company can leverage to launch their product.
In addition ‘Sumolings’, as AppSumo users are called, are usually heavily engaged with the products they buy so are a great source for product development feedback.
What is AppSumo Plus
When you start using AppSumo you’ll notice something called AppSumo Plus. You pay $99 per year and in return you get 10% off anything you buy plus early and late access to deals. For me the price isn’t worth it because I don’t buy that much software on AppSumo. I’ve spent about $600 on there in the last 12 months and that’s actually quite high for me compared to average. You need to be spending over $1000 per year for the 10% offer to cost in, if that’s you then AppSumo Plus might be worth looking at.
What is AppSumo Briefcase
This is another way to save more money on your AppSumo purchases. The way this offer works is quite complicated. You pay $49 per month (billed quarterly) and each quarter you get given 4 chips, with each chip worth $49. You can then redeem those chips against purchases you make on AppSumo.
You also get the same 10% off deal as AppSumo Plus and you get access to some software tools for ‘free’ (namely MissingLettr & King Sumo).
Told you it was complicated 🙂
Again, I just don’t spend enough on AppSumo for this to be worth it for me.
AppSumo Review – Summary Thoughts
Overall I’m a big fan of the AppSumo Lifetime software deals concept. I have brought some awesome deals over the years (and no duds…yet), still use most of them frequently and I must have saved myself at least a few thousand dollars by now.
However, as I’ve pointed out in this article the reason I’ve been so ‘lucky’ with the deals I’ve bought is that I do a lot of due diligence before I buy anything. I always test it thoroughly for myself and I don’t buy anything I don’t really need.