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Shareware/try and buy/donationware models

Hello there,

I am planning to create a software company with some friends. After several discussions about the business model we will adopt in the short term, we are still unable to decide which is the better for us. We will market a small application for personal users. We haven't also enough money and resources to make ad compaigns and so on.
We identified at least three possible models used by small and medium software companies:
* Shareware ala Winzip where the software just displays nag screens to remind people about registration. But it continues to work even after the trial period.
* Try and buy: very similar to shareware but the software is available only for a limited period of time and registration (or downloading the unrestricted version) is required to continue using it.
* Donation-ware: software is free and donations are welcome.
Your advices, comments, and experiences (especially if they contain real figures) about these models will be appreciated.

Thanks.

Justin
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I think "Try and buy" is the surest way to make some money. Of course, your application must be worth something if you want people to pay for it.

Frederik Slijkerman
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Here's a great tutorial for starting a shareware business:
http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/09/30/dev_osx.html

Here's another good article for new shareware authors:
http://www.semicolon.com/ShareSuccess/Shareware1.html


Here's a great article about forcing users to pay for shareware:
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/cgi-bin/ubb/newsdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=14&article=000052

Here are real sales figures about crippled vs. uncrippled software:
http://www.hackvan.com/pub/stig/articles/why-do-people-register-shareware.html

El Sastre
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

A "Lite" and a "Pro" version. And make it *easy* to buy.

pb
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I've been at it 15 years.  Here's what works:

- Demo of some type with some kind of restriction - capacity, time limitation, something.  The demo version must still be useful in some way - it can't be "over limited" if you know what I mean.  That's why many people like a full functionality with a time limitation (like 30 days or 45 activations).

- Make it easy to buy the full version.  ESD all the way, use DigiBuy or somebody like them.

- Keep the demo nag screen to a small one at startup.

If you think about it, just about everyone successful from the one-guy-in-a-dormroom to Microsoft sells software this way.

George Leroy Tirebiter
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Winzip have an interesting model because their product sells to both businesses and home users. They allow almost unrestricted access to attract home users. These users then demand the same application at work. However most businesses will then purchase licences and generate Winzip's revenue.

For your own product you really need to think about what it does and who you are selling it to then you can make an appropriate decision.

Tony E
Monday, November 11, 2002

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