Well, MacHeist has finished, and it looks like they “heisted” half a million dollars from the Mac community. And while I think it’s great that $200,000 ended up in charities, I see MacHeist as an exacerbation of the problem with some charities to begin with.

Very often, you read about the costs of running a charity. Sometimes you find out that incredible amounts of the money raised goes to “administrative costs,” and often it ends up being well over half the money, sometimes much higher. That means that you’re giving more money to the folks doing the fund raising than you are to the folks you’re trying to help. There has to be a better way.

But with MacHeist, charity gets somewhere around 25% of the money raised, and the developers of those ten applications, on average, get just over 1%. Meaning, developers of the applications made about 30-50 cents per copy of their software sold. And they have to support all those licensed versions of their programs out there! In fact, the support requests are pouring in right now, even as I write.

So where does that leave me, a potential buyer of one of those applications? Well, I’m quite likely to purchase a competitor, or just pass, because if I buy a program, I’m used to getting technical support. That’s just not going to happen when there’s thousands of new copies out there, and no new money to support them. And that’s too bad, because many of those programs are just excellent, and I own a few already.

I think MacHeist has done a disservice to the Mac community that it purports to serve. I think all the praise that Phill and friends have been getting is unwarranted. Am I being too harsh? He’s a smart businessperson. He’s a good marketer. But he’s no altruist.