A little over a year ago, I posted that I was taking a hiatus from MDM Deals to think about its future, chiefly what happens to a site dedicated to great deals on fantastic apps…when most of the fantastic apps have switched over to subscription models and no longer have great deals.
Initially I thought the answer could be a membership program in which I find deals for you, negotiate deals with developers, and recommend apps. Then immense technical challenges came, I changed my job, another baby came along, and I realized that I couldn’t give it the time that a membership program needed.
Thus, this post is to announce what most of you already know and have guessed: the end of MDM Deals. For another year or so, the website and content will stick around (so long as technical programs don’t crop up!) and you can still reach me at deals @ mdmdeals.com.
It’s been a great run! Over the 6 years of MDM Deals I curated over 80,000 deals which were viewed over 484,000 times (on this site alone–that doesn’t track visits at all the other channels).
I’ll still be on the internet, of course! You can reach me on Twitter @MarkDMill — and I started a new blog for some new writing that you can check out, The Prepared Expat.
Have you ever gone a week without watching a video? Yeah, I didn’t think so. So keep reading to make it an better experience with this week’s sponsor, OmniPlayer: a versatile media player that can handle virtually any video/audio format in a clean, modern design with flexible and powerful features. Not only is this MDM Deals ad-free this week, thanks to OmniPlayer, but the developer is even giving away 5 lifetime VIP unlock codes! Read on to learn how to get your unlock code.
Most of the media we consume in a given week is through the default players–video at Youtube, music in Apple Music, video via whatever opens up when you click it, etc.–but rarely are those defaults fine-tuned for the best media experience. OmniPlayer seeks to change all that, providing you a superior user experience than the default and supporting virtually every media format out there so it can be your one-stop shop for everything. Here’s just a few OmniPlayer features that stand out:
Dead-simple picture-in-picture (PIP), even for YouTube or Vimeo. That’s right. Even as YouTube drags its feet on supporting this across all browsers, OmniPlayer has it built in. From YouTube, just click the “Open in OmniPlayer” extension, select PIP, and watch away in the background.
Custom playback speed, video color, equalizer, and more! Watch YouTube, Vimeo, and more at your choice of speeds 0.25x-4x; adjust the audio equalizer to presets or your custom settings; change the color saturation or brightness; and much much more.
Capture screenshots and create GIFs. Most players have that annoying DRM protection that prevents you from screenshotting, but Omniplayer has the built-in ability to screenshot your video–and even turn a scene into a GIF!
Even more! Like preview images on the progress bar, ad-free YouTube (for those creators you support on Patreon), casting of media to Chromecast and other devices, recording your playback progress, and more!
Best yet, OmniPlayer is free to download and use, with an optional VIP option to unlock some of the advanced features mentioned above. It’s $9.99 to unlock for life, $3.99/month, or $6.99/year — but enter the drawing and you could be one of 5 MDM Deals fans who get the lifetime VIP 100% free!
I’m excited to announce MDM Deals 2.8 “Yikes, that’s better” with a bunch of changes and improvements to make discovering great deals even better. Read about how to Shut Mark up, ads that don’t stink and how to block them, the end of spam, why to trust me, and more
Ads that don’t stink
Ok, let’s face it, the ads that were on the site before were terrible. Spammy and clickbaity with “You’ll never guess what she said to her husband” nonsense that was totally irrelevant to 99.99% of you (there’s always that one person…). The ads stunk, the monetization stunk, and the experience stunk.
I am super excited to let you know that I’ll be using Google Ads on the site now, which allows me more granular control over which ads appear so that they’ll actually be relevant and not clickbait. In my tests, I’ve been really pleased to see ads appear for Parallels 16, Wikibuy, Casetify, and even specific apps on the App Store–rather than distracting from the site, they showed other ways to save money or related apps that might interest you. Yikes, that’s better.
Block ads with impunity
Now, I know a lot of you hate ads and trackers. I do too. But without Apple’s App Store affiliate program–ended over a year ago now–the ads enable me to keep this site free for everyone rather than having it for members only. And when sponsors come to the site, ads will go away–you can thank the sponsors by checking out their product
But I get the adblock thing. So here’s my deal for you: join my Patreon for any amount–even $1/month–and I’ll give you “Adblock Amnesty” so you can block ads without a guilty conscience that you’re preventing me from getting paid for my hard work. I curate around 250 deals a month, so that’s just half a penny a post.
Support via ads or Patreon and we’ll be great! Break the deal and…well, a thousand angry internet goats will haunt your dreams forever as you lose internet karma for denying me hard-earned ad revenue…
So support the site (via ads or Patreon) and have good karma and no goats. See? Way better.
First, EVERY patron now gets access to custom filtered emails, in addition to supporting this site with Adblock Amnesty. As a Patron at any level, you can get one ad-free email each day with just the deals you want. Don’t care about books? Filter those out. Don’t have a Mac? Say goodbye to those. Get rid of everything you don’t want. It’s the best way to get MDM Deals each day–and now its available for Every.Single.Patron.
Second, I’ve fine-tuned the tiers to bring you better perks at lower prices, including an all-new Deal Alerts perk. Maybe you know exactly what app, book, or piece of tech you want to buy and you don’t want to look through the deals every day to see if it went on sale. Now with Deal Alerts, just let me know what you want to buy and I’ll tell you when it goes on sale! This is an exclusive perk for Patrons who pledge as Fan+ or Fan Pro levels! I’m super excited about being able to serve you this extra way!
Third, shut me up about supporting this site! Each day I remind you of what I did to serve you that day, but you can shut me up–and remove ads! When we get 50 patrons I’ll stop those daily reminders and when we get 75 patrons I’ll remove ads site-wide! Your patronage can benefit those who are in a harder spot than you and shut me up all at the same time. Nice.
Fourth, for a limited time only, you can get a special gift from me for your patronage! All patrons on November 5th, 2020 will receive a special MDM Deals sticker. They’re super cool and I can’t wait to get one to you!
The new Patreon. Yikes, that’s way better.
Trust me…no, I mean, really
I can’t tell you how many sites recommend that I trick you into clicking an affiliate link so that when you buy cat food tomorrow, I get affiliate revenue from you.
That’s ridiculous and a complete violation of the principles that guides MDM Deals: it’s not treating you how I want to be treated, it adds friction to your life rather than taking it away, and it violates your trust of me because you don’t know if my curation is for my benefit or for yours.
Today there are two changes I’m announcing to increase your trust and prevent you from clicking on affiliate links so you save time. You come first, not me:
First, all apps will list star ratings if they have them. Previously, if an app only had a few ratings, they wouldn’t appear as I didn’t want to distract you–but I realized that was violating trust. So now, app star ratings will appear no matter what they are. (Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow me to show their ratings and Apple Book ratings are available to me, or else I would include those).
Second, when I use an affiliate link, I will explicitly mention it on each post before the link appears. If there’s no mention of an affiliate link, there is none and I get absolutely nothing from your purchase (become a Patron!) Initially I just had this disclosure on my legal page so I wouldn’t distract you, but I decided that listing it every single time will help you trust me and my curation. Who knows? Maybe someday I can remove affiliate links entirely because there are so many Patrons.
Building trust with you all, even if it hurts my revenue. Yikes, that’s better.
The end of hashtag & flair spam
For a while, MDM Deals on Twitter and the alternate Reddit sub had a spam problem. Some deals, announcements, summary, and sponsors would post not just once–which would be what you’d expect!–but half a dozen times. It was an unfortunate result of my system (I’ll spare the details), but those days are over.
I actually paid someone to develop some code and I’ll spare the details, but it works beautifully. Now, every post will appear just once and all items have hashtags or flair, making for a way way better experience without hashtag and flair spam.
If you’ve left MDM Deals’ Twitter or Reddit because of the spam, try it again. It’s WAY better.
Some other smaller changes I’ve made–it’s been a busy season!–but aren’t too big:
Apps from the App Store and StackSocial now use the official app descriptions rather than rewriting my own. I’ll still add my own comments, but no need to reduplicate that work!
I now support deals for iOS & Mac cross-platform apps where you can pay for it outside the App Stores. This was pretty fun to develop and will enable me to better serve you, as there are some great apps and services that do billing outside the App Store. Yay!
I now support Amazon product groups instead of singular items. Previously, if Anker had a sale, I had to list every single item which took up a lot of space. Now I can post a link to all their products and give you an overview of them. Should be way better!
Yikes! That’s way better
So that’s a ton of changes and, believe me, a TON of work behind the scenes to make this all possible. Every day I spend tons of time improving MDM Deals, finding deals, and curating just the best for you. If you have ever saved money or discovered something, please support my work on Patreon. It’s better than ever.
Ever receive a ZIP file? RAR? LZIP or CPIO? Probably the first, maybe the second (ever hear of the others?) — or have you ever had to send compressed data to someone (maybe because of those annoying mailbox limits imposed by most email providers)? If you’re ever compressing or decompressing files (zipping & unzipping), you’ll definitely want to check out this week’s sponsor of ad-free MDM Deals, Oka Unarchiver. MDM Deals fans can download and unlock it completely free for a limited time, so read on to learn more!
Now I know that macOS comes with a built-in zip/unzip tool and so you may be inclined to stop reading–don’t. Instead, ask yourself: could a developer obsessed about compression/decompression tools make one that’s better than Apple’s? Of course (just like developers make better calendars, better email, better notes, etc.) — and Oka Unarchiver is exactly what you’d expect when a developer sets out to make a great tool.
It is super fast. To test Oka Unarchiver, I threw a nearly 7 GB folder at it containing 9,844 items (mix of folders, docs, pics, and *lots* of audio recordings). How long did the built-in macOS tool take to zip it? Nearly 5 minutes, but Oka Unarchiver handled it in less than 3 1/2 minutes–over 26% faster than Apple’s basic tool.
How about unzipping? Taking that same file (now zipped), the macOS system took one minute and 17 seconds to unzip it while Oka Unarchiver handled it in less than a minute–in fact, 24% faster.
So already it’s faster than Apple’s utility, but the developer has gone further to ensure it can handle basically any compressed file you throw at it. It supports decompressing ZIP, ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR, GZIP, BZIP2, x7, LZIP, ACE, ISO, CAB, PAX, JAR, AR, CPIO, and more! It compresses to the most popular formats: ZIP and 7Z.
Then there’s a load of features that you’d expect in a dedicated compression tool that don’t exist in the macOS utility, like previews of files even before they’re unzipped (nice!), batch processing (just drag and drop, press start, and done), password-protecting files you compress, unzipping password-protected files, and even remembering the passwords used to unzip files so they’re always accessible even if the passwords are long-forgotten.
Hey y’all — its my wife and my anniversary today, so I’m spending the time with her rather than my computer finding deals. I’ll be back tomorrow with all the goods!
Oh, but wanna get us a nice (free) present? Join Robinhood, my stock brokerage of choice and winner of an Apple Design Award–not only will you get 100% free stock trades but we’ll both get a free stock. I’ve gotten Apple before when one of you joined–now *that* would be a nice anniversary gift for both of us!
Thanks to the coronavirus that has hit my city in Asia, my family has been in lockdown for the past few weeks–don’t worry, we’re safe (so far!)–but I’ve taken the extra time to update MDM Deals. Today I’m rolling out brand-new Tech Deals, support for Audiobook Deals, and updates to Book deals! Read on to learn more!
Brand new! Tech Deals!
On last month’s survey, a vast majority of you said that you’d be interested on seeing deals for tech hardware & accessories, and I am excited to let you know that they are now here! These deals will start slowly as I build out my system, and I’m still rolling this out to all channels, but in the next week you should see tech deals slowly showing up in your feeds.
Guiding principles: There are millions of tech products and accessories and dozens of stores that sell them, so Tech Deals won’t even attempt to be as exhaustive or comprehensive in its coverage as App Deals, but there are still gems I run across each day that I’ll curate for you. Tech Deals will include discounts on things like Apple hardware, cases, cables, speakers, routers, chargers, etc.–basically things that someone in the Apple ecosystem would love and use (so not Samsung computers, Google Home devices, or Amazon Echo speakers).
For those of you who said you’d buy me a coffee for adding in tech deals, well, here ya go！
New: Audiobook Deals
I’m excited to say that I will now be curating audiobook deals on the Apple Bookstore! This will automatically start showing up in your feeds this week. There aren’t nearly as many deals on audiobooks as books, so these will be more rare. For ways to see the deals, see below.
As always, my goal is to serve you, helping you discover awesome apps, books, and gear and save money in the process. If I have served you, I’d love your support to keep this site up and running. You can do that one-time through Buy Me a Coffee or on an ongoing basis through Patreon. Both are awesome.
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