Though this reply will most likely come off as defensive, I still would like to offer my response and I welcome further discussion.
I can understand why one might feel annoyed at the marketing tactics we employed to spread the word about the Hybrid; I used to feel distaste for marketing and advertising industries myself, equating them to kings of manipulation. However, I now think that pretty packaging and marketing "tricks" serve a valid purpose, and in fact these days I see branding and marketing as an important representation of a company whether I'm a customer or the business owner. This is of course an individual's decision, and we as a company choose to place importance on it (and feel no shame for it).
The Hybrid Library is absolutely thought-out. We spent a good deal of the last quarter of 2012 coming up with and marketing the idea. The survey results were key to the pricing and number of sounds. Of course, we obviously hope to make money. But everyone working at PSE is a sound editor, recording engineer, university professor, etc. when not working at PSE, our publishers as well, and we believe in our products and ultimately want to 'share the wealth' in a way that is a win-win situation. Freelancers get a great deal on a robust library; we keep innovating while trying to build up our brand.
We are not selling the Hybrid to just anyone which is why we require an application, and we have turned down many inquiries. The pricing is strictly for freelancers. Freelancers, myself being an example (I work on indie films in NYC), simply cannot afford the retail price of large sound effects libraries. The smaller, independent sound effects recordists produce high quality and nicely priced libraries, but when you are sound designing for film, you need a variety of searchable sounds at your fingertips. It's not efficient to go out and record sounds all the time. Even though I live in NYC I've rarely gone out to record NYC street ambience because it will take quadruple the time (or more) than to pull it from a sound effects library. Now a freelance sound installation artist will not have the same needs as a sound editor for indie films, so if you can acquire all your sounds with boutique libraries and capturing them yourself, that is awesome and makes me jealous : )
Yes - it's a huge, library. Even a library this large will not cover all of a sound designer's needs. But it's a good start.
Ultimately, this is an experiment for us, and a risk. We don't know the long term impact of releasing the hybrid. One thing is certain, though, which is the positive feedback from happy customers is genuine, and we simply feel good about that.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcomed.