I agree Pady. Even Apple agrees that the iTunes app store has grow to a point, which it to is hard to find good apps, hence they are sorta splinting the store up.
Anyway Back to the basics, you can open up a shop in a strip mall with traffic of hundreds of people - or open your shop in a mega mall with traffic of millions of people.
There is a whole ecosystem at the Apples App store to get your product at the top 10 list. Not easy but a better chance than some obscure web site, even Mac Update is sorta obscure <-- keep in mind that millions of iPhone owners are NOT even Mac users, so would not even heard of Mac Update.
Carp, nobody outside of a few game developers, MS, Apple & Adobe sells package software anymore (and by nobody, I mean it's hard to find outside an Apple store). There is very little to no packaging costs.
Setting up a web site costs all of $20 per year and a few hours time for most of these developers.
Accepting credit cards does not require a $3,200 investment. Jaz wasn't looking in the right place if it did. It costs per transaction, but there is little to no setup fee with most web hosts.
As far as marketing goes, you simply send license codes via email to a dozen or two Mac-related sites for review purposes and the rest tends to take care of itself if the software is well done.
I think you drastically overestimate how hard it is to do all the stuff beyond the coding of the app.
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Probably the simplest way to set up a retail web site is to get PayPal account and web domain, then do the store with either WordPress and a webshop plugin like WPSC or in Joomla! with Virtuemart and you're in business. Hiring a freelance designer for the job shouldn't break anyone's bank either.
Loc: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
The little bit of chump change for a paid PayPal account is worth it (to keep everything onsite, without that 'on PayPal then back onsite, yatta ya'), but then you have to spring $50 for SSL, too, and you're stuck with assuming fiduciary responsibility for the records/data (versus PayPal stuck with that with the free accounts). However, the customer data should be in a hardened off place, anyway, and if it isn't, one doesn't have any business doing this kind of stuff. But, yeah, either way, free-$20/year or $100/year, this stuff is pretty cheap and simple for hosting-merchant account-store/cart software-SSL.
The only problem with a non-integrated thing, unlike the WP plugin or a Joomla store, is the additional sign-on, but that's not a dealbreaker if they really want your stuff, or if, however, with a lot of store/cart software accepting OpenID (that FB, Google, Yahoo, etc, OpenID'd), there's that, so kind of a single sign-on plus.
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