AppSumo – What I Learned By Spending $3000

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

On October 28 2011 I made a purchase from a new start-up obsessed with tacos called AppSumo.

To give some perspective since launching AppSumo have ran over 1600 promotions, helped launch 1000 startups, and saved customers over $500,000,000.

The first every purchase I made was lifetime access to Spring Metrics for $49.  Unfortunately, spring metrics are no longer around but happily this is a rarity among the purchases I made.

Over the following years I've spent $3043 on products promoted by AppSumo, some have been superb purchases that I use regularly others as I mentioned above have fallen by the wayside and are no longer around.
That $3000 may seem like a lot but it's probably saved me 4 or 5 times that in monthly subscriptions.  Monthly subscriptions are now the norm for SAAS and marketing tools, for a new or growing business they can put a big financial strain on your business.

Monthly Subscription Can Suck The Life Out Of Your Business

A few years back I did an audit of all the SAAS tools and memberships I used and I cancelled any I wasn't using to their full potential. I managed cut my annual subscriptions by OVER $10,000.

That was like cutting an anchor free, every single one of those dollars were extra dollars I'd have to earn if I wanted to increase my profits. Rather than help me drive my business forward those tools were holding me back.

I replaced many of those tools  by buying through AppSumo.

Besides buying tools I can use now I often buy tools through AppSumo that I think will be of assistance at some point.. sometimes they get used .. some times they don't.

Occasionally some of the tools can have a major impact on how I approach marketing. For example one feature of allowed me to to use Link Retargeting and then run lead gen campaigns how clicked on the links.

(I've included a 10 minute video that shows how to do this in our free community)

The Good, The Bad, & The WTF!

While writing this I broke the purchases down into 3 groups and highlight some of them, don't worry I won't list them all although you can see my full list at: All AppSumo Purchases

The Epic Group - Tools I still use to this day,

The Dead Group - Tools that have closed down to or I can't get access to at the moment.

The WTF Group -  These are Products I totally forgot I had or don't (stupidly) use! that may change over time


Dead Sites

The very nature of AppSumo's model means that you are going to get offers for companies that fail or get bought out.  In all the time I've been buying products I estimate that the failure rate of products I've bought is around 5%  which to me is acceptable.

So the viability of a product is really not a consideration anymore.

The annoying thing for me was that a few of the failures were tools I used regularly and I really liked.. Looking at you Neatly!

AppSumo Refunds

In the last 9 years I've refunded 1 product, (  I'm sure it was good for most people but it just confused the hell out of me, after 2 days of struggling I pulled the trigger. The refund was instantaneous, no questions asked.

I rarely refund but it's good to know the option is there and easy to implement.

AppSumo Epic Purchases

One of the most epic of epic purchases was Wistia, I got a lifetime account back in 2014 at the time it was a free purchase,  very shortly afterwards I updated to to a paid plan at $25 a month which I've continued to use to this day. This one product alone probably put's me into credit when comparing what I saved to what I spent with AppSumo

I estimate that the current features I use would now cost over $150 per month If I was to join now.

Tubebuddy is another purchase that I use every week I purchased it in 2014 for $39 which is around 2 months access at the current cost for a similar account.

I purchased 2 Keyword Hero codes back in 2018, once again these proved to be an absolute bargain as what i paid is now the monthly cost for each account. I wanted to change one to a new account last week and within a few hours they had answered my support call made the change for me. - This tool is a gem I grabbed it just before Christmas and it's become the centrepiece of one of my strategies to grow my audiences in 2020.

Krisp.Ai The stars aligned on this one. I moved from a home office to a serviced office and there was a lot of background noise.  As I record a lot of videos I needed to somehow block it out.

Someone in our free Marketing Community recommended Krisp so I grabbed a trial.  Immediately I could see how useful Krisp would be.   A few days before I was schedule to purchase it popped up on AppSumo.  If you do any video or calls via your computer I highly recommend Krisp.

Depositphoto's - No post about AppSumo would be complete without mentioning Depositphotos, I still have over 200 images banked but I'll still grab the deal when it comes around again.

Serpstat - I love Serpstat, it's up there on a par with Ahrefs for certain tasks and once again the one time payment has saved me years of costs. Another tool that has probably saved me the total amount I've paid AppSumo over the years.

Textmetrics I bought this when it was Webtexttool - this tool great for on page SEO and giving yourself the best possible chance of ranking well in Google, I use it all most of my content and try to get the highest SEO and Content Score possible.

Honourable mentions in this category must also go to:

Promorepublic - my latest purchase, this replaced a $49 per month subscription with a rival for $49 lifetime payment. I really like how Promorepublic works and the ability to quickly do reposts.

I was surprised when the software pulled in stats on my existing posts over the past 3 months.  For me this alone was worth the cost.

Storychief - I use this occasionally to plan and create content, but it's the type of AppSumo deal I like, It's something that helps nudge me towards doing things I know I should be doing like planning and writing content and paying attention to SEO.  It might not be a "daily driver" but it will be there when I need it.

Wisestamp Pro - I forgot I actually had this and use it everyday!  I set it up several years ago and rarely touch it, it's a simple signature for your Email, that allows you to add your social sites and websites.

The Dead Group

Thankfully this is a relatively small group, unfortunately it contains two tools I was using regularly, Spring Metrics and Neatly. Also included is a tool that I used all the time called EasilyDo, it was a simple personal assistant for your phone, that had reminders and important notes.

If I remember correctly, it also handled my mail for me.  It changed branding to Edison Tech and since that day I've lost access and no amount of trying to get access and resetting passwords has allowed me to get in. I suspect they might not support it any longer.

The biggest group of items in this section are courses and general content almost without fail the delivery pages seem to have disappeared.  It's not a big issue as most of them were from the early days but it makes me wary of buying anything course or blog based (not that I've seen much recently I suspect AppSumo might have dropped these types of deals)

Most are probably no longer valid methods or training but I sure as hell miss my Big Book of Font Combinations I used to use it everyday...

The WTF Group

I don't hold AppSumo responsible for me purchasing any of the following tools but for some reason there seems to be an AppSumo equivalent to "drunk buying" you know that stuff that turns up a few days after you've gone online drunk?

If I blame anyone it's their copywriters... Yes you! Stop being so good.

I only know about these because I went through every purchase and found them. I will attempt to start to use them or at least log in and see what I'm missing.

Hopefully when I update this post after I've spent $5000 they will be in the epic section.

Rocketlink- does the same thing as, I could have used this if I'd remembered I had it... big lesson there.

Shortpixel - hmmmm I think it "smushes" images on blog posts have a vague recollection of testing it.  As this is something I need I must take time chase it down and see how well it works.

Book Like A Boss - Got it because I needed it.. never used it (this will become a familiar theme!)

Publbox - errrr..... looks good not sure I ever logged in!

Omnify - No idea!

Live Agent - I remember buying this to replace Freshdesk, It looked like the migration would be a problem so I never used it and totally forgot about it.

Ok you get the idea there are several more of these some may be dead but probably aren't but I will work my way through them and update the article.

The biggest lesson you can take from this group is, only buy what you need or what you think you will need in the near future.

Secondly keep a record of what you've bought close to hand and refer back to it before buying anything new. I've doubled up on several types of tools over the last 9 years.

Conclusion & Lessons

As you may have already guessed I am a big fan of AppSumo, and I will continue buying tools I need through them. It makes financial sense.

I suppose it's only natural that the number of products I buy will decline over the years not because of AppSumo or the quality of the offers but simply because when you have an SEO Tool, a Social Media posting tool or a Keyword Tool that you like and that works you don't need another. (I must get this Tattooed on my hand!)

Below I've listed my purchases broken down by years, I suspect this year may be lower than average as I have a very firm focus on my 2020 Marketing Strategy.

  • 2011 - 5
    2012 - 9
    2013 - 2
    2014 - 5
    2015 - 15
    2016 - 14
    2017 - 14
    2018 - 14
    2019 - 6
    2020 - 1

Risk Vs Reward

One point that a lot of people overlook is that many of these tools and services are startups and new to the market.

By purchasing through AppSumo we help to spread the word and support their development.

Many of the tools have improved beyond recognition over the years and have constantly given us early adopters access to the new features. I believe that most founders and developers like to recognise our faith in their ability to grow and thrive.

Originally I bought the tools I needed when AppSumo promoted them  and I had an immediate need.  However over the years I've switched to buying tools that may fit into my business model in the future.

This strategy probably added to the number of products I have that I've never or rarely used.  I think that going forward i'll keep a list of tools somewhere accessible so that I don't duplicate purchases.

On the other hand there have been enough times that I've needed a service or tool and checking my purchases have proved to be fruitful.

For some people buying tools through AppSumo may seem to be a gamble but for me it's paid off many many times over.

In fact in many cases buying the tool has led me to try different marketing models and try different things.

My #1 Buying Tip - Read all the reviews, not just for what you may learn about the product but for how the product owners respond to questions and criticism.

I pulled out of several purchases (one very recently) simply because I learned something from the review thread that wasn't immediately obvious in the sales copy.

If you've bought products yourself, what is your #1 Tip?

Thank you AppSumo!