in Marketing, Money, Tech

Misleading ScreenFlow Upgrade Pricing in the Mac App Store

Let me preface this post by saying that I am an avid ScreenFlow 4 user and fan of their screen recording software. The gripe I have with them is not with the ScreenFlow product but with the marketing and promotion of ScreenFlow 5. Depending on how the company responds, I may take issue with their support as well.

On November 4th I received an email from Telestream, the parent company of ScreenFlow, announcing discount pricing options for Mac Store App Store customers. For reference, here is a snippet from the original email:

ScreenFlow 5 has been released on the Telestream Web Store and will soon be available on the Mac App Store. Although we can’t provide an upgrade to version 5 on the Mac App Store, we have a few options for you!

1) Get a discount on ScreenFlow 5 on the Mac App Store for the first 48 hours after it releases:

65% off Day 1: For the first 24 hours after ScreenFlow 5 releases on the Mac App Store, we will discount the Mac App Store price by 65%. (Yes, that’s $34.99 for ScreenFlow!)
50% off Day 2: For the next 24 hours, ScreenFlow on the Mac App Store will be 50% off.
Act fast! The Mac App Store price will go back to $99.99 after the first 48 hours.

Awesome, I thought to myself. Here is a chance to upgrade at a really great price. And according to the original email, I could expect a follow-up email as soon as ScreenFlow 5 releases on the Mac App Store.

Sure enough, the next day I received a follow-up email confirming ScreenFlow 5 is available on the Mac App Store. In big bold blue font, the email headline read “Buy ScreenFlow 5 TODAY on the Mac App Store for 65% off” with a direct link to the app in the app store.

Just for reference, I received this email on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 9:52 AM.

Great, I thought. I’ll set a reminder in my phone to purchase ScreenFlow 5 when I get home from work. I figured as long as I bought the upgrade today, I should get the app for 65% off. Meanwhile, I’ll just read up on all the newest features like iOS screen recording!

Fast forward to later that evening. I arrive at home (around 5pm PST) and my phone reminds me to purchase ScreenFlow. I jump on the computer, open the app store and search for ScreenFlow. As advertised, the price is $34.99. Okay, let’s do this!

From here, my experience goes downhill fast. I tried to purchase the ScreenFlow 5 app and it instantly says I need to upgrade to OS X Yosemite before I can buy it. Odd, but whatever. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the promotional pricing.

A few hours later, after downloading and installing the latest and greatest OS from Apple, I try to pick up where I left off. I returned to the Mac App Store only to discover that ScreenFlow 5 was now $49.99 instead of $34.99. Mind you, this was before 9pm PST and less than 12 hours since I received the “Buy ScreenFlow 5 TODAY on the Mac App Store for 65% off” email.

Obviously frustrated, upset, and with regret, I bought the app for $49.99. At that point, I was more concerned about missing out completely on the special upgrade pricing promotion.

Shortly thereafter, I turned to Twitter and asked why the promotional pricing wasn’t available anymore. I followed that up by sending a support ticket requesting a refund for the difference.

As of this morning, 11/6, I have not received a response from the company Telestream support offered me the option to transfer my ScreenFlow purchase to the Telestream version for only $34 dollars and refund it on the Mac App Store. However, based on a quick scan of search results on Twitter, I am somewhat comforted by the idea that other people are pissed off too.

screenflow-search-results

Although I’m not sure if I’ll ever get a credit or refund for the difference, I’m still happy I saved 50% on the upgrade pricing. I’m just upset that Telestream and ScreenFlow were not more clear about how “limited” their offer really was. And honestly, if you say we can get something today, and we buy today, we should really get that thing you said we were going to get.

Don’t ya think?

UPDATE: Telestream support gave me the option to transfer my ScreenFlow purchase to the Telestream version for only $34 dollars and refund it on the Mac App Store. At this point, however, not sure if it’s worth the time and hassle of transferring my license and requesting a refund for a $15 difference.

FINAL UPDATE: I called Apple and they refunded the Mac App version of ScreenFlow 5. After providing proof of purchase to Telestream, they sent me a discounted coupon to transfer my license for $34. On a side note, you can run the Mac App Store version of ScreenFlow on multiple computers whereas you can only run it on 1 machine with the non-app version.

  1. This reminds me few of my own stories with various software upgrades, reduced price bundles, mega promotions, etc.

    My policy, now, is to remain calm until software is well established on the market. The same refers to ScreenFlow – I am still using version 4.

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