Teespring T-Shirt Campaign – Eternal Storms Software & charity:water

A little over a week ago, I started a Teespring campaign

Eternal Storms Software Cloud Logo on T-Shirt

What is Teespring

Teespring lets you “create & sell custom apparel” (more info).
You upload your design, set a goal for the campaign and once that goal is reached the T-Shirts will be printed and shipped. If you sell enough shirts, you can gather a little profit with it.

Because I’m interested only in the shirts, not the profit the campaign makes, I thought I’d do something useful with the money and decided to donate it directly to charity:water.

What is charity:water

charity:water makes it their “mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world.”
I first heard about that charity from Steve Scott (@macdevnet on twitter). He launched the “Developers against Poverty” campaign in 2011 on charity:water and raised over $60,000 with it, bringing clean water to a community in Ethiopia and 12 others.

I thought that was a very nice thing, so that’s why I decided to donate the resulting money from the teespring campaign to that charity.

The Apparel

There are four kinds of items you can purchase:

Unisex Shirt

Unisex Shirt; back has small cloud logo with text www.eternalstorms.at ($16.99)
Female ShirtFemale Shirt; back has small cloud logo with text www.eternalstorms.at ($16.99)
Long Sleeve ShirtLong Sleeve Shirt; back has small cloud logo with text www.eternalstorms.at ($17.99)
Hoodie
Hoodie; back has small cloud logo with text www.eternalstorms.at ($25.99)

Contributing

If you like the shirts, please consider taking a look at the teespring campaign. All profit created from that campaign will be donated to charity:water.

If the shirts don’t tickle your fancy, perhaps you’d like to donate directly to charity:water – here’s a link to their donate page 😉

Thank you for your time – I hope you enjoy the shirts. They should start shipping early to mid April 2015, depending on where you live!

—-
My name is Matt, I’m the developer of Eternal Storms Software. If you’d like to comment, you can catch me on twitter here: [twitter-follow screen_name=’eternalstorms’ show_count=’yes’] or by eMail.

When to Send a Press Release – Are Embargoes Useful?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself ever since I started releasing software to the public.

Googling “When to send a press release”, I get articles talking about on what specific weekday to send it or at what time of day.
Or “send a press release when you have something newsworthy”.

Although that is good advice – never send anything not newsworthy, you’ll just alienate people – that’s not the subject of this blog post.

What I mean by ‘When’ is: should I send a press release a couple of days before I release an app or on the same day?
And yes, it is an “either – or” kind of situation. I’ve been told by journalists I asked if it’s cool to follow up a week after (or send the press release again) – definitely don’t do that.

Non-Embargoed Press Releases

To issue press releases the same day I release the app itself always felt natural to me. I’ve been doing it for as long as I’ve released software.
No advance notice, no follow up – just “send it and forget it”. I want to get the news out when it’s fresh and hot and when it’s available for everyone to download.

Control Is An Illusion

Front and foremost, it gives me this feeling of ‘control’. When sending out a press release the day of, I feel like I’m on the mind of the journalist and like they’re more inclined to write about my app since it is “fresh off the press” and just happened. And there might be some truth to that as I’ve seen good results with that approach. But you never have any control to speak of. That’s an illusion.

Secondly, there’s the App Store Review process. It takes time. So once the review is done and the app has been approved, I’m usually very eager to get the app out the door as soon as possible and not have to wait around a couple of days more to be able to send out press releases ahead of time.
I also don’t want to send out a press release while the app is still in review – that’s got ‘catastrophe’ written all over it.
If you send out a press release with an embargo only to have your app rejected some time later, you’ll have to issue a redaction and that’s just hideously tedious. It’s a one-way-ticket onto the journalist’s blacklist.
Even though there are apps for checking the average review times for the iOS and Mac App Stores, it’s just too uncertain in my opinion.

Forget me not

It’s not fun to spend hours writing a decent press release, send it out early to members of the media just to find out they forgot about it come the actual date of the app release. This is probably not much of an issue with bigger news sites and blogs that have systems in place for embargoed press releases, but smaller blogs run by independent reviewers might do all this by hand, so things might slip their minds.

Sending press releases with an embargo also has the risk of of the news leaking.
You send out your news with an embargo of one week, but that doesn’t mean that every member of the media is going to respect that – they might publish early to break the news first (a problem I assume only bigger companies face who’s news appeals to a broader audience than mine, a small indie developer’s press release; but nonetheless, it’s still something to be wary of).
I hear that embargoes aren’t legally binding, so be wary of that as well. 

Embargoed Press Releases

With everything you’ve read by now, you might think sending a press release beforehand might not be a good idea. And you’re right, a lot of it speaks against it (although it depends heavily on each individual case).

But there is one thing about it that appeals to me more and more the longer I ponder it – with a press release you send early, you give your potential reviewers time.

Time for Preparation

Imagine being a journalist, getting a couple dozen press releases each day (or more) and some of them are to be released on the same day. There’s simply no way you could check out all those apps and publish on the same day. Pressed for time, a journalist might be inclined to just post the entire or edited press release, publish late or not post about it at all. But a full review is out of the question, that’s for sure.

If you issue that press release a week early, though, you’re helping out not only the journalists you’re addressing, but also yourself.
You give the greatest gift there is: time.

Time to check out your app in detail, less in a hurry to get to the next press release, because they do pile up, I’m sure.
Time to use the app for a few days, should they decide to cover it and get a deeper look at how the app works and feels.
Time to experience details about the app that make it stand out over its competitors.
Time to get more details about the app, e.g. check out the app’s Press Kit; ask you for more details if something isn’t clear or if they have any questions in general.

I believe that is invaluable for all parties involved.

Testing Embargoed Press Releases

To put this to a test, for the release of Transloader 2.1, I sent out the press release one week ahead of the release and the result has been way better than I thought. As I wrote before, I sent out PR with the bad aftertaste of thinking it would be forgotten on the actual day of the release.

But that was not the case. Quite the contrary, actually.

After sending out an embargoed PR, I pretty soon received requests for promo codes to an extent I have not experienced before. That might be attributed to the extended time frame they had for reviews, given the embargo. I imagine journalists don’t bother asking for promo codes if they don’t have the time to really look at the app anyway.

The embargo itself worked very well, not one site posted early. I used the following wording (in bold print) right before the press release body

Embargo: Please do not publish before March 10th, 2015

I think I will take out the “Embargo:” part, though, it sounds kind of demanding.

Among others, MacNNc|net and the german site MacGadget posted favorable reviews of Transloader and @MacTrast called it their iOS App of the Day.

All in all, it went very well and I’m very satisfied with how it turned out.

Conclusion

I will be moving to embargoed press releases from now on. The benefits of giving journalists some time to check out your app by far outweighs the disadvantages listed above and I think it engaged journalists more.

And that’s what press releases are all about.

—-

My name is Matt, I’m the developer of Eternal Storms Software. If you’d like to comment, you can catch me on twitter here: [twitter-follow screen_name=’eternalstorms’ show_count=’yes’] or by eMail.

Transloader 2.1 Released – Action Extension, Today Widget, Push Notifications

Transloader 2.1 Icon

I’m happy to announce today the immediate availability of Transloader 2.1, a significant and important update to the app that lets you start downloads on your Mac remotely from your iPhone or iPad.

Transloader Explanation

I’ve also prepared an App Preview Video for the occasion:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VAKEpWVArc]

Easier and more straight forward to use

Transloader 2.1 features an Action Extension so you can add links directly from a website you’re browsing – here a short video of the Action Extension in, well, action 😉

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPuCp9HO5So]

The update also comes with a Today Widget, which offers you a quick look at the state of your downloads right from within Notification Center.

Transloader's Notification Center Today Widget

Improved Feedback

Transloader 2.1 on the Mac will send your iOS devices push notifications when downloads finish or fail so you are always in the know about the state of your downloads.
The Mac app also got a UI overhaul and now fits in perfectly with OS X Yosemite.

On Sale – 65% off!

As part of Two Dollar Tuesday, Transloader is on sale today (March 10zh, 2015) for just $1.99 instead of $5.99 – over 65% off. Head on over and check out the other cool apps as well 😉

System Requirements

For full functionality, iOS 8 or newer and OS X Yosemite or newer are required. An iCloud account is necessary for Transloader to work.

Links

Transloader on the Mac App Store ($1.99; 65% off)
Transloader on the iOS App Store (free)

Transloader Website
Transloader Press Kit (direct download)

I hope you enjoy the update – if you have any feedback or questions, please be sure to get in touch via mail or twitter! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

—-
My name is Matt, I’m the developer of Eternal Storms Software. If you’d like to comment, you can catch me on twitter here: [twitter-follow screen_name=’eternalstorms’ show_count=’yes’] or by eMail.