Suppose for a minute that you’re not the biggest fan of having to pay monthly for software (who is?). Yet you find most apps’ free plans to be a bit too limiting for your wants and needs.
There may just be one alternative for you out there, and it’s called AppSumo. As someone who’s been shopping there for at least a couple of years, I finally got round to writing this review.
AppSumo is an online marketplace for deals where creators of apps, courses, and downloadables offer limited-time discounts that hungry deal hunters, called “sumolings,” excitedly shop for.
You can find all sorts of deals on AppSumo, from coupons for stock photos on royalty-free stock photography sites to lifetime plans for email marketing, search engine optimization, and web hosting services.
Some deals are stackable, which means that you can buy and redeem several coupons under a single account; others are not. Be sure to check the terms and conditions for each deal because violating them can get your account suspended.
There’s another reason why the terms and conditions of each deal are important. And it’s that, when you buy a lifetime or yearly subscription at a discount to an app, you want to know what plan—and with what kind of limitations—you’re getting. After all, “lifetime” doesn’t imply “limitless.”
To help you understand exactly what I mean by this, I’ve shared a few examples of things that I bought from AppSumo throughout the course of this year below.
Every now and then, stock photography websites will sell coupons that give you download credits on AppSumo, which you can’t find anywhere else.
This year, for example, I managed to snag four $39 coupons—two at 123RF and two at Depositphotos—that gave me 100 stock photo or vector image downloads each. That’s a whopping 400 stock photo downloads for just $156!
I also bought a lifetime plan for Rytr, an AI writing assistant, which gave me 50,000 characters/month for life. A pretty sweet deal when you factor in that I only use these tools to give me ideas for intros (which I naturally suck at), and my usage doesn’t usually exceed 40,000-45,000 characters.
Some deals are for new accounts only. So if you’re already a user of an app, read carefully and decide what to do. Others, you can redeem even if you’re a long-time user of an app (the stock photography sites being a good example).
Once you’ve made a purchase, you usually get a code and are given a link for where to redeem it. 99.9% of the time, the link points to a generic or a special registration page for whatever you just bought. You create an account, copy/paste your code if asked, and you’re all set to go.
Most of the time, the deals you get are from early-stage startups that want to grow their user base without having to give away their products for free. Occasionally, you’ll also see established companies doing deals there, some of which are hard to miss out on if you’re in need of software.
Earlier this year, for example, I saw a $79 lifetime deal for Sendinblue’s Premium Plan on AppSumo.
If you’re into digital marketing, you know that Sendinblue is one of the best tools to help you build an audience and connect to your list on email, text messages, and push notifications if you own an app. That deal expired and, to be honest with you, I’m still sorry I didn’t go for it.
Of course, not all deals are as lucrative. And not all apps, courses, or downloadables are worth your money, even if at a big discount. While the AppSumo team, unlike most of their competitors, does their best to keep low-quality products away from their marketplace, they can’t guarantee that the ones that make it will fully meet your needs.
So they, along with the companies that decide to do deals on their marketplaces, are generous enough to give you the ability to request a full refund.
I’ve had two occasions on which I requested discounts—which, happily for sumolings like you and me, is easy to do—because the apps I signed up for simply failed to deliver on their promise.
One of them, an AI copywriting assistant competing with Rytr, had a user experience so poor, it looked and felt as if it had just come out of an Internet entrepreneur’s garage in 1995.
The other, a text-to-speech software that claimed to have a hundred AI-powered voices capable of generating voiceovers for your video ads (it’s expensive to get these from humans even on Fiverr), hadn’t lied about the count… but 99% of the voices were so robotic that I found it useless.
Requesting a refund on AppSumo is easy. Simply go to “Account,” click on the “My Products” tile, and select the tool you’d like to get your money back for.
I got those two refunds in the form of AppSumo credits. Unlike card or PayPal refunds, which take a few to several days to complete, the amount was credited to my account instantly (no questions asked).
And I know I’ll be able to find a good use for it when I come across another deal I like (besides, you guys will probably get to read the review of whatever it is that I end up getting).
That being said, there’s no need to go crazy buying every single tool that catches your eye then requesting refunds for it. A much better use of your time, at least in my mind, would be to sift through what’s available and do some research on your own before hitting the “Buy” button.
AppSumo is one of those marketplaces that are so cool, they can be addictive. On more than one occasion, especially if I’m in the mood for slacking, I’ve found myself scrolling mindlessly through one deal after another, only to get bored and move on with something else.
There’s also the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) element to it. It’s remarkably easy to go into hamster-brain mode and keep checking for new deals frantically when you can be doing something else instead.
So don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Last but not least, AppSumo has a Plus membership. It costs $99/year, you can cancel anytime, and you get 10% off all of your purchases plus extended access to deals. I don’t use it, so I can’t tell you all that much about it. I simply prefer spending that money on something else.
I’ve used StackSocial before, but I find AppSumo’s deals to be better (and more relevant) if you’re into content creation and digital marketing.
I’ve never used PitchGround, but I know a few people who have, and they were neither super excited about nor overly critical of it. To make sure you’re making a good choice, it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence before buying from their marketplace.