Chank Blog


MY BRILLIANT MARKETING IDEA – CHARGING FOR FREEFONTS
January 26, 2010, 8:35 am
Filed under: Font News

It’s only a week into testing out my new $1.99 per font price point, but I gotta say the response to the change is a resounding “meh.” No big upside surprise, but nothing really bad happened either. A couple fonts were reduced from $49 to $1.99, but mostly it was free fonts that were taken out of free circulation and priced up to two bucks. I figured $1.99 is the sweet spot for iPhone apps, so I might try that with my fonts. Seems to be that’s the cost that people will buy something without thinking too hard about it. Sure would be nice if there were more impulse buyers in the font world. Or if they sold fonts at the iTunes store.

Needless to say, the number of downloads a font receives drops dramatically when the price goes from free to $1.99. A popular freefont that might’ve gotten 10 downloads a day for free, might receive just one or zero downloads per day as a pay font. Overall transactions at my website went from a daily average of about 30 to less than 10. Less people going through my checkout process (which you have to do to download a freefont now) means there are fewer opportunities for people to join my opt-in mailing list, so that’s a bummer. I like it when people join my mailing list so I can send them coupons and news about fonts. But a small collection of fonts that were just free before are now bringing in $10 or $12 a day. The increase in revenues is infinite, but still meager. I still can’t figure out how to get rich quick with this whole internet thing.

The surprise upside was a new proliferation in freefonts from me. I felt bad about taking a dozen or so fonts out of free circulation, so I had to do something to compensate for my stinginess. So I hustled a few old freefonts off my old site and onto the new one. And to make it a better deal, I even updated the character sets for better language support before re-listing them. So now Saucy Millionaire, Rapscallion and Westsac are back in free circulation for a while. Fresher freefonts and some more re-issues will be coming your way in the days and weeks to come.

Who knows? Maybe things’d be different if I accepted PayPal at my site. That’s coming soon. I personally find PayPal is a much easier way to pay for less-expensive items. No worry about credit card security when you don’t even have to take out your wallet. Trusting PayPal is pretty easy, whereas a independent little website that just sells fonts might seem a little shadier.

And I guess I never really mentioned that I updated all the font files on those old freefonts, either. For the last few years I’ve been dishing out nothing but TTF-format freefonts, optimized for your computer screen. (Technically they’re TTF-flavored OpenType, but still TrueType nonetheless.) The new versions I’m selling at $1.99 now are all .OTF-flavored OpenType, which looks just about as good on your monitor, but also uses the Post-Script style outlines that old-school designers are so fond of. It’s a pretty slight technical difference, so I never even mentioned it anywhere, but the $1.99 version is a bit better than older versions of these former freefonts.

And they come with a Commercial Use license upgrade, too. As freefonts, these typefaces were served to you with a Personal Use license. The new for-sale versions come with a limited Commercial Use license, which lets a small biz use the fonts for just about anything (except a logo) and big biz can use ’em, too (just contact me for an upgrade if you’ve got lots of users at one site). Yeah, so that’s something else that’s really nice for customers who get the $1.99 fonts.

Like I said I never really mentioned any of this stuff, so it just looks like I changed some prices. But there was a little more going on behind the scenes. I guess that’s good enough content for a blog, right? I apologize in advance for any confusion, and I hope you continue to enjoy the freefonts and quality pay-fonts I make available for you at Chank.com.

Now, let’s continue on to my previous post, where I salute my top ten freefonts of 2009, which sadly are mostly NOT free anymore…


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