How we’re un-sucking AppSumo emails

When AppSumo first started (around this time), we used to send out these long, hilarious, and foremost…. EDUCATIONAL emails about every product we got a deal for.

Usually it was me writing these emails.

Then there was a point where two full-times sales guys were adding deals at pretty ridiculous rate.

Deals needed to be tested and written…..and we were testing 2 to 3 a day.

Naturally I couldn’t write amazing copy for EVERY DAMN DEAL at that pace.

So we hired a couple of copywriters.


After a while, the format of AppSumo emails changed…..and the deal quality was just average.  There were good deals, but our batting ratio was a bit down (although I’m proud that we were still miles ahead of any remote competition).

This left us with:

  • Very “average” quality deals.
  • Very mediocre copy (it was becoming typical SELL SELL SELL bullshit copy).
  • Customers still loved us, but not with even remotely the same fervor they USED to.


So recently we’ve been TOSSING OUT SHITTY DEALS.

If we can’t recommend the deal to our friends and family, it shouldn’t make the site.

This is a heartfelt video that explains if we’re not having fun doing this, YOU sure as hell won’t have a fun experience either.

We talk about it here:


P.S.  If you ever see a shitty deal on AppSumo….please yell at me.  We’re not saying every deal will be perfect for YOU, but we don’t wanna become the same-old sleazy sales bullshit internet marketing you see everywhere.

Blog posted on: September 28, 2012

26 comments on “How we’re un-sucking AppSumo emails

  1. Nate Shivar

    Thank you thank you. If it weren’t for Sumo Dojo and such great courses in the past – AppSumo emails were on my cleaning up to-do list – along with my RSS and Bookmarks Bar list. I’m glad ya’ll are fixing it.

    Neville – I think your website is a good example that ya’ll could’ve mentioned as well. According to most “blogger expert advice” that’s out there – your blog is about the ugliest, most “under-optimized” blog ever. And yet… it’s the only blog where I’ve actually bought something. And the only blog where I regularly think about commenting. And one of only 5 blogs in the Google Reader that gets read as soon as it’s highlighted.

    Bravo and good luck.

    1. Neville Post author

      1.) Yes, we’ve been personally filtering all the deals and writing the copy.

      ….and if it’s a deal that IS NOT interesting to anyone but a specific group, we’ll usually tell people to stop reading unless they’re into (insert whatever subject).

      2.) Thanks for the blog compliments…..I try to write in a way I would personally respond to, so it’s nice to know others (like you!) agree

  2. Laura Upcott

    Loved the video. Now that you mention it, as much as I like App Sumo, I have lost interest in your emails (and offers). But now I’m going to pay attention again. “The more you make your life easy, the better it gets.” That one thought is going to change my life and my work. Thanks!

  3. Brian Kwong

    That is just freaking awesome guys, I haven’t bought or look at appsumo’s email for the exact reasons that you mentioned. I will start to pay attention and see what you guys gots to offer now. Hopefully some dope ass stuff.

    Btw, I just saw a wordpress plugin call “Lead Player” from Pat flynn’s SmartPassionIncome blog, it has 400+ comments and would loovvve it if you guys do a deal with them! Check em out!


  4. Michael

    Worse than lousy emails is when you – yes – you Nev do not return any of the emails I sent you after I bought one of your products and had some questions. I emailed you some very brief questions and never, ever got any kind of reply. I ended up returning the product. All you had to do is email me back, even if the email was just, sorry you bought it no support available from me or something – but at least answer the email from a paying customer.

  5. Liam Morgan

    Nev (& the gang),
    So glad you’ve spotted this!
    I’ve bought quite a few great deals from you since you got going (and got a few of the really useful freebies too) but I’ve noticed deals were becoming less and less useful/interesting. However, back in the early days, even if a product wasn’t right for me, still reading the email was fun in itself. It hasn’t been for a while so I stopped reading the emails too!
    Looking forward to what’s next :)

  6. Alex

    Hey guys (& gal),

    Kudos for your integrity and transparency!! This short video is probably the best product you’ve ever put out. Great lesson in leading by example.

    Keep it up and you guys will go far!!

  7. John

    So glad you guys put yourself out there like this. Like Noah, I used to giggle at the emails. I looked forward to that little bit of joy washing up in my email box. Looking forward to enjoying a bit more time with AppSumo.

  8. PJ

    I think I noticed that your emails weren’t awesome anymore when I stopped labeling them for my ‘marketing swipe folder’.

    I do however still swipe your emails!

  9. Tom Staskiewicz

    I have purchased several products from AppSumo in the past primarily because of the emails. You provided valuable information and the products took the information to the next level.

    The recent format has not been doing that, so my interest has been piqued to see what I was missing.

    I find your comments about Groupon interesting; I don’t find Groupon particularly valuable and the click throughs to get information are annoying. Although I get the Groupon emails and other such sites; I guess I have some work to do getting rid of the junk before I can really take Sue’s advice and start getting rid of the peripheral good stuff I have.

  10. RV

    The late author Ray Bradbury pretty much nailed it when he said:

    ““Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

  11. okjedi

    Thanks for this guys! I have to admit, when I first wake up in the morning I used to love reading what you had to offer and Seth’s wisdom of the day in my inbox. Recently though, I’ve just been just swiping & deleting because they weren’t as fun as they used to be. Looking forward the the awesomeness that will ensue from AppSumo!

  12. Werner

    Transparency with something like this will keep me around. Huge fan of the down-to-earth feel of videos like these. And by all means, get Susan involved more. Not (just) because she’s fit, but because she brings balance and different views (and so that it doesn’t sound too much like just a bunch of bros).
    Again, top marks.
    Cape Town

  13. Cassandra

    Yea!! The boring police are back on duty. I totally relate to that.

    Not only did you pull your chestnuts out of the fire but used your experience to teach us something.

    So awesome. Keep it up. And I still look forward to your e-mails, that is Neville and App Sumo.

  14. Chris

    Fantastic. And just in time. I remember the informative emails. I recently started deleting appsumo emails without reading them. And more than a few of the ones I did read left me thinking “…dudes! You think I’m gonna fall for that?!?! “.

    Good job living the ‘keepin’ it real’ ethic.

    Dis’ emayle

  15. Jonathan

    I love that you guys talk about this and were willing to discuss it with the audience. Everyone should re-examine everything periodically to find out what is really important and makes you excited. I love projects and I always have a huge mental list at any given time. Recently I decided to eliminate several projects that I wasn’t super excited about and it has allowed me to focus more on the great projects.

    Speaking of clutter and shitty emails…I always love reading yours. I usually find something that I can use in some shape or form.


  16. Nicholas Johnson

    I used to read every AppSumo email, and buy the things that interested me. Now I don’t bother because they got so BORING (I don’t read my groupons either).

    Glad to hear you’re returning to the old format. I’m busy. Quality rocks. Quantity sucks.

  17. Eric Couch

    Hey Neville,

    Thanks for being honest. As a whole you guys do a great job. However, I do need your help. I have purchased several deals and some have been good and some really sucked. I tried to get a refund on one and have considered two more that are either free elsewhere or unusable and the email to app sumo said non-deliverable. I can’t really find anything online so as to request a refund. How do I go about getting a refund at anytime while I’m still alive?


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