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Does the ShareWare model is still viable in 2004

* Does the ShareWare model is still viable in 2004 ?

Last shareware success story I'm aware of was in the
early 90's with ID Software (Doom), published by Apogee back then ...

I had a look at successful shareware products and they now seems to be published not by one single guy out
of his appartment but by fairly large company :

SnagIt (
CuteFTP (

ShareWare History :

Am I born 20 years too late ;-)

So guys what do yo think ?
Is it possible for someone to make it big via the shareware model ?

Linus Ericsson
Sunday, April 11, 2004

I am making almost $350/month after many years of hard work developing and marketing my shareware products. So, yes it can work, but you have to do a lot of work to build it up to be as strong as a company like mine.

Famous Shareware Developer
Sunday, April 11, 2004

$350 a month?

I guess the answer is yes, shareware is gone :)

More seriously, maybe $350 is enough where you live but here (UK) it's next to nothing. The last success story I heard was about the author of Homesite. It is a very good product and he sold it to Macromedia.


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Perhaps open source has substituted shareware.
There are open source projects everywhere nowadays. Even Microsoft has released one as open source.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Famous Shareware Developer:  what's your product.  I'd like to see what's worth $350/month.

Ken Klose
Sunday, April 11, 2004

What is "shareware" nowadays?  Even big expensive software like Oracle and Perforce have free downloadable versions.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I think limited-free-download is probably a better model than (honor-system) shareware.

One shareware author did a controlled study, releasing both a limited (trial) and non-limited (shareware) version of his software. The purchase rate for the limited version was three times that of the non-limited version. I think this one has been cited here before.

Dan Maas
Sunday, April 11, 2004

I think the $350/month comment was sarcasm, guys..Note the line about a "company as strong as mine".

Mark Hoffman
Sunday, April 11, 2004

But yes, only if the does speaks the english model still viable is in the millenium new new.

Anon to protect the guilty
Sunday, April 11, 2004

OT: I sometimes see posts like the one here from "Anon to protect the guilty" and I think to myself, "What is this sentence trying to say?".

So, I break out my decoder ring.  Maybe this person can't speak English very well, maybe they are bad at typing.  However words like viable and millenium stand out as words a fluent English speaker would know, and I don't see any common typing errors.

Is this some hackers' test, or back channel communication?  I am annoyed by this.

help me understand
Sunday, April 11, 2004

Zoom. The sound of sarcasm going over the head...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

My 0.2€:

The shareware program mIRC stopped being shareware this year and turned payware. You used to be able to use it for free, now it expires after 30 days.

For me, that says it all.

Spike Jonze
Monday, April 12, 2004 seems to be making it... However, just like anything else, it won't get you rich overnight or in a week if that's what you are hoping for.

Monday, April 12, 2004

> The shareware program mIRC stopped
> being shareware this year and turned
> payware. You used to be able to use
> it for free, now it expires after 30 days.

Shareware means:

- you get the program
- you can use it for free for X days
- you have to pay for it to use it further

So, before the change, mIRC was FREEWARE.

Now, after that change, mIRC is SHAREWARE.

Get your terms right before posting!

Monday, April 12, 2004

"Does the ShareWare model is still viable in 2004"

You might want to get your English straight too if you want to be taken seriously.

Monday, April 12, 2004


mIRC wasn't available for free before - it never really was. You just used it for more than the 30-day evaluation period!

one meeeellion dollars!
Monday, April 12, 2004

$350/month isn't bad "pin money". It would be great money if you didn't have to quit your job and raffle off little Timmy's iron lung to bankroll the development.

If you can create something of value in a couple of hundred hours of spare time that can give you a $300+/mo cash income, I say bring it on.

Say you invest 200 hours in a project and your market contract rate is $50/hr; that's a $10K sweat equity investment. Can you stick $10K in the bank and get $300/mo interest income? In this example - that's - er - about 36% per year simple interest. That's one hell of a return.

Of course, the risks are: the project becomes a distraction; support issues overtake you; you invest lots of time and the product never takes off; competitors eat you alive. And so forth.

Everyone's wanting the big score.  Maybe that's shortsighted.

Bored Bystander
Monday, April 12, 2004

I make $250-$400 a month on my old shareware app (it's a utility for a niche hobby, not much of an audience but not much competition). I wrote it for myself initially, but I did put about 1,500 hours into it at 5-10 hours a week. I don't know how you could do anything in just a few hundred hours that people would pay money for.

Marketing's also really tough. With mine, people find it from a specific google search on the hobby, but if it was just a generic shareware app, people probably wouldn't search for it specifically (or there's way too much garbage to sift through), so you'd be limited to being listed on some kind of download site and hope people see it in the index and say "hey I need one of those." So it's possibly you might not make anything at all, I'd think.

And for all those years I put into making my $30 or $40K, and years I took to collect it, my brother who basically just drinks beer and sits on his ass all day buys and sells his home a year later for twice that amount in profit. So you can't win.

Shareware Lou
Monday, April 12, 2004

> And for all those years I put into making my $30 or $40K,
> and years I took to collect it, my brother who basically
> just drinks beer and sits on his ass all day buys and sells
> his home a year later for twice that amount in profit. So
> you can't win.

Shareware Lou,

Where does your brother live? I'd move there in an instant if he can sell his house after just a year and make $80K in profits once all the fees and taxes are collected. Of course unless he is a rock star and lives in a mansion or something.

I wonder if you or your brother has ever bought or sold a house in your lifetimes... I am guessing no based on the info you provided.

Monday, April 12, 2004

He used to live in Frederick, MD (north of Washington D.C.). They bought the (new) home in '99 for $220-something and sold it in late 2000 for 290-something. He thinks it's because a golf course went up nearby with a bunch of new luxury homes in the 400-600's.

Yes I guess there were some taxes split between buyer and seller, and commissions, so maybe it was 1.7 times the amount I made (or 2.1) and not 2.0. Or maybe it was 2.1 times, since I was just making a quick post here and not an accounting of my finances!

Shareware Lou
Monday, April 12, 2004

Uh, dreamer, house prices have been going through the roof in some parts of the country.

My condo was purchased for $320, now worth $475 just two years later. And the person I bought it from lived in it for just 2 years initial purchase: $190.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Some of the Chicago suburbs are like that. I know of one condominium building that's right next to railroad tracks (good commute, bad noise) that was completely sold out before they laid the foundation. Land prices are going crazy in some places.

Mike Swieton
Monday, April 12, 2004


Even run down trailers went up $30,000 in parts of Southern California this year - last year you could get a decent run down trailer for $370,000 - but now the best you can do is $400,000. That's with leaky plumbing, a mildew problem, and in the bad part of town. On top of that you have to pay $400-$600/month to the trailer park for the piece of land the trailer is on.

I have a cousin who just sold his trailer in for $480,000 and moved out of state to retire and go hunting and fishing. He paid $28,000 for the trailer about ten years ago and complained that he got ripped off at the time.

Yes, my shareware does bring in that little. Yes, I was being a big sarcastic there but the facts are true. I put about 3,500 hrs into the shareware app and I am still getting feature requests for elaborate things that would take many months to implement. On top of this, there are at least a dozen others from various countries in the last two years who have cloned my shareware app and are underselling it.

Realize that in shareware, if your product is at all successful, there are many many many hungry people overseas who will give everything they got to match the function and design of your app and undersell you, while providing more comprehensive customer service at the same time.

Famous Shareware Author
Monday, April 12, 2004

I'm getting annoyed by the 2 cents stuff I see, but wasn't "My 0.2€:" supposed to be 0.02?

Just a reader (usually)
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Yes it was.

Spike Jonze
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Famous Shareware Author, please do tell what software you're talking about. Do you have a website covering it?

Curious Bastard
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I think there is a perspective thing at play here.

I seem to remember things like Paint Shop Pro being shareware at one time and quite a few other well known names too.

I think they've used shareware as a medium to get the product really well known and to craft it into a more solid, commercial product.  Then, what that was achieved, switch to payware having saved a fortune on testing and marketing.

IOW, shareware is, IMO, a VERY viable route but not as was originally intended.

Derek Davidson
Got ED?

Fred Dibnah
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

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