PDF Pricing Experiment – The Secrets of Price

Yesterday I looked at the headline numbers in our Pay-What-You-Want experiment. Today I will look deeper into how much people paid and reveal a couple of secrets.

How Much They Paid

Eleven copies of the PDF were sold. This is a breakdown of sales per price.


Obviously the £5 price mark was the most common but you may be wondering why we had two sales £6.03. These were payments in US Dollars received via different routes, both of which were for $10. As one was via Paypal, I decided to use its exchange rate for both sales, giving the £6.03. For more on where the second sale came from, see Secret Number Two below.

Whilst this graph is interesting, it does not tell the who story.

Secret Number One

Here is a breakdown of each sale and the amount paid.


Each sale (numbers 1 to 11 along the bottom) is displayed with the amount paid.

Each visitor to 6d6 RPG was presented with a text box to fill in for how much they wanted to pay. However, that box had a default value which the customer could either accept or type in a new value. Secret number one is that the default value changed.

There were three possible defaults: £1, £5 and £9 that were chosen randomly for each visitor. Cookies were used to ensure that the same visitor always saw the same default value.

The purpose to this was to see whether the default price had any impact on the actual amount paid. Do people pay more if you give them a higher default price?


This graph shows each sale with the amount they were prompted. Two customers (numbers 2 & 11) paid via different means so it is unknown what they were prompted. Unfortunately with only nine useful sales we did not collect enough data to give a meaningful answer. However I suspect that it does have some influence but I will leave you to draw your own conclusions from the data.

Customer Behaviour

One interesting note about customer behaviour is with our minimum price.

Notice how only one person paid the minimum price. Two other people paid £2. I suspect that those people paying £2 did not want to be seen as cheap or miserly.

The other interesting note about the minimum price is that there wasn’t one. The system would let you pay £0 for the PDF which would of cost us money (the credit card processing fees are real) but no one tried it. Everyone appears to have assumed that the system would stop them.

Secret Number Two

The second secret in this experiment was the control – a baseline against which the results could be compared. To achieve this, I placed Mince Pies & Murder on RPGNow for $10.

Obviously, this was not publicised on the web site but I did run banner ads on RPGNow to ensure that the fixed price version got a reasonable amount of publicity. This generated around 250 visitors to the product page and resulted in one sale. This is sale number 11 on the graphs above.

What this demonstrates is that the PDF was good enough to sell for $10 (£6.03) in a non-experimental situation. To the buyer on RPGNow, this was just one other product amongst thousands on that web site.

Big Question

The question the sale on RPGNow raises is what would of happened had I just sold the PDF for around £5 / $10 on 6d6 RPG?

Would I have made more or less sales? More importantly, would my gross revenue of increased even if I sold less actual copies?

My conclusions on PDF pricing will be out tomorrow.


  1. I think that the price prompted is a huge factor on revenues in this business model.

    Price prompted is perceived as an estimate of what you think your game is worth.

    If you prompt a price, in the customer’s brain a couple of questions arises, concurring to determining the final price he/she will pay

    1) I think that product is worth what is prompted? If the answer is yes, that go to question 2. If it’s no, than I’ll have to ask myself question 1.1

    1.1) I do trust the seller? If I do not trust you and your products AND you are prompting a too high price, then I’ll go shop somewhere else. THE END
    If I trust you and/or your product I’ll go to question 1.2

    1.2) How much I’m willing to pay top? In a normal sale model, this case will end with the customer waiting for a sale bringing the price to an acceptable one. In this experiment the customer can lower the price by hinself (cases 3,5 & 6) THE END
    NOTE: People that pays low prices BUT still trust you enough to make the buy, can be potential customers of the paper version, because thay will not feel that they have already payed too much for your product. if you really believe that your product is good you can try to gain these sales dicounting the PDF price they payed from the paper version.

    2) I’m willing to support the project? If the answer is no, then you customer will simply press ok and make the buy. This choice is based on the natural trust a customer puts in you. (cases 7 & 10) THE END
    If the answer is yes, then go to question 2.1

    2.1) How much I’m willing to spend to support the product? If the prompted price is a satisfying one, the customer can choose to support you, your product or whatever, raising by himself the price. (cases 4, 8 & 9) THE END
    NOTE: The value the customer puts in your product, doesen’t concurr in the total he pays, so everytime “price paid”= “value of the project that YOU are suggesting”+”support chip THE CUSTOMER want to give you” For example it is likely that customer 9, if prompted with a price of £5, was willing to add £1 anyway to support you.

    Customer 1 submitted to the “Cool-it’s-almost-free!” factor. ^_^

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