Having carefully read all above I'm a little uncomfortable at the public display of what clearly should have been a private discussion.
It's still an interesting opportunity to weigh up the merits of the various business models here, but I'm really not qualified to do that.
What I can offer is my experiences and one of the recent "switchers" who's benefited from MacHeist, MU Promo, MacZot bundles as well as from various developer promotions.
I definitely look on bundles as an opportunity to buy products I would not otherwise have bought at the price. I even bought the Machiest 2 Retail bundle before I had a Mac.
Let's take the recent MacHeist 3 bundle (loot aside)
Nice enough but I bought Pixelmator previously so there's no way I'd have bought this had it not been in the bundle
Very nice, but I use Wallet that I got from MacHeist2 retail bundle, incidentally I paid to upgraded to v3 and I've been responsible for 2 extra sales from people who've seen my copy. My friend & family member who bought it are unaware I got it cheap as part of a bundle & the developer got some extra money there.
I'm intending to try this out soon and it's nice that I have it but I'd have had no practical use that would have warranted buying this whatever it's typical selling price was.
This was one of the selling points for me, I've not yet got into web development, but it's my intention to do so for my own needs. I'd previously bought Rapidweaver but I was aware I would need to take thing further at some point. In reality I'd probably have bought Coda not Espresso so the Espresso devs wouldn't have had my money anyway.
I already had GarageSale but was happy to have this as a better product, I probably wouldn't have bought separately.
Looks like it'll be fun to play with, I'd been meaning to try out Blender (free) but this looks like a great thing to have, but I wouldn't have bought it. In fact I'd never heard of it.
Very nice, but I love Skitch. I do use it for keeping a reference record of web pages where I want the whole page in tact for research. I wouldn't have bought separately though as I also use Shovebox for the same purpose.
I have an iPhone so this has some use for me, I hadn't previously bought it and I can't honestly say whether I would have done as I hadn't heard of it.
Nice effects, but in my opinion a bit of a filler app for me. I've not found a use for it.
I have MacGourmet Deluxe which I thought I'd use but don't. I've not really explored this though.
The Hit List
Here's an app I'd ruled out on price previously. Really simple and useful but wasn't worth $49.95 to me. I was reasonably happy with alternatives I had, this is particularly complicated by the fact I'd got used to Process3 that I got as MacHeist3 loot for task management. I didn't even download a trial because of the $50 price but having used it for a while I now think I'd have bought it at a more reasonable price.
Times RSS Reader
This looks like it's going to be very nice when I work out how to set it up. I'm still using NetNewsWire (free), but I've been thinking that for news based feeds it would be nice to have them in this app instead. Again, I wouldn't have bought because I'd never heard of it and I had NetNewsWire synced between my iPhone, PC & Mac.
I love this, but I already had Wiretap Pro & Sound Studio from MacHeist2 Retail Bundle. I'd definitely not have bought this.
World of Goo
This is a brilliant game, widely known to the extent that pretty much everyone who wanted it may well have already bought it. I'm not a games player, at least I wasn't.
I could go on about all the individual loot apps but that'd take too long but from my perspective I've bought a lot of apps in bundles that I'd never have bought otherwise and where I use them regularly I hand over my upgrade fee with a smile knowing that I've already had great value.
I found MacHeist 3 to be incredible value for me despite the fact that there was very little there I'd have bought separately. I actually bought an extra bundle as I'm intending to get a Mac for my wife soon. I didn't buy a bundle for my Dad this time, which I would normally do, as there really wasn't anything there he'd have used.
Now it's not as clear cut as it seems above as some of the apps I already has were as a result of previous bundles, but would I have know about those without the previous bundles?
If we take some of my less well informed Mac owning friends as an example then I can honestly say that they just don't but many apps. Sure, they've bought some seeing what I have, but many where unaware of TextExpander & 1Password which change their daily Mac lives.
Product awareness and the upgrade potential value of a vastly expanded use base really shouldn't be underestimated.
In additon, I bought Tweetie (Mac & iPhone) as a result of Scribbles being included as loot this time, I loved it so much I went to the site to see what else the developer has made. I was using Nambu on the Mac & Twitterfon on the iPhone previously and was happy with those.
I think James has been very civil and informative and I thank him for continuing in this thread beyond the point he wasn't actually made an offer for inclusion in Macheist. Whatever his feelings on bundles it's got to be tough being reminded what you could have had if some communication mistakes hadn't occurred.
Edited as there's been many new posts since I started writing this
I think you made a very poor business decision here by ANY standard - short term, long term, publicity, etc.
He didn't make that decision, the offer was never made, it was a misunderstanding which is why I appreciate how gracious James is being here. Who knows whther he would have decided to go with MH3 or not? Had the opportunity been there and turned down you'd be right, but it wasn't.
I love the Macheist ethos and the attention to detail and customer service and I'm not suggesting anyone is at fault here. IF the offer had been re-made for MH3 and IF James had accepted it then yes, he's have made a lot of money.
He's clearly a talented developer and had his own mind as to whether he'll consider a future Macheist as worthwhile to him.