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Shareware is dead - long live shareware!

The Association of *Shareware* Professionals has renamed itself today to the Association of *Software* Professionals. I have written a guest post over on the ASP blog putting this name change into context. The article includes reactions from quite a few shareware industry veterans. I thought it might be of interest to some here.

http://blog.asp-software.org/shareware-is-dead-long-live-shareware/
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
Interesting development and interesting reactions coming from the name change. We dropped the shareware model over 10 years ago - I kinda thought everyone else had too.
Keith DeLong Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
>We dropped the shareware model over 10 years ago

The model or the name? The core model of shareware is 'try before you buy'.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
The word "shareware" has always implied low-rent, hobby, side project, non enterprise, small company built stuff. Even years ago you might have squeaked by using a "shareware" text editor in a corporate environment. But a shareware software development tool or DB utility would be an absolute non-started.

The ASP sounds like it was WAY way behind this perception.
WannabeTycoon Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
>The ASP sounds like it was WAY way behind this perception.

They were well aware of the issues for a long time. But I think it was quite a wrench to take a step away from all that history.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
+1,000,000 WannabeTycoon

When I hear the term "shareware," I just assume that it's software that won't work with anything newer than Windows 98.
Shawn O'Hern Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
I just read the linked blog post, and I've come to realize that shareware is actually a different type of business model than what most of us use today. Namely, you make the full version of your software freely available and ask for donations. Almost nobody does that anymore. Most companies today give away free trials of their software, but payment is required for the full version. That's not the same thing at all. So the name change is completely justified...and extremely overdue.
Shawn O'Hern Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
>Namely, you make the full version of your software freely available and ask for donations.

I think that was mostly an artefact of the technology of the time. Making a payment online and getting a licence key back instantly just wasn't an option in the early days of shareware.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
Not license keys so much as distribution was the problem. The shareware model was people could copy and share the full version of the software with their friends, and their friends with their friends and down the line.  Then send in money only if you like it.
CC Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
The Internet has made software licensing viable for us, potentially leading to greater profits, but at the same time, the Internet has also led people to expect more and more software and services for free.

Paradox.
Shawn O'Hern Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
>We dropped the shareware model over 10 years ago

> The model or the name? The core model of shareware is 'try before you buy'.

I too see the 'shareware model' as one where you make the full version of your software freely available and ask for donations. We did this back in the mid 90's when we were first marketing our Virtual Time Clock software on the Internet.

We switched from calling it shareware to commercial software when we changed the model to 'software freely available with a few hundred entries before requiring payment'. I still remember the month we switched as it proved revolutionary to our bottom line.
Keith DeLong Send private email
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
 
 
My own memory is that, originally, shareware was where you picked up a limited copy of the software (normally on 3.5" disc), tried it out, and if you liked it, bought it. Either way, you'd then pass on the disc to a friend (hence the 'share' part of shareware).

I used to pick up 3.5" disks with shareware limited versions of software in a shop in Leicester, UK. I was mostly interested in games at the time, and I *think* I bought some games - particularly those from a company called Wizard Games - they made some (association) football management games called One-Nil and Goal! Also some horse racing games. They have a website still -> http://www.wizardgames.com/

I remember the tagline used to be something like "Someday all software will be sold this way".

Good memories.
elstensoftware Send private email
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
 
 
The 3 original themes of shareware were:

1. Try before you buy.
2. Fully functional trial (payment based on honesty).
3. Copying allowed (make a copy of a friends disk).

Although some people believed in 2 and 3 for philosophical reasons, I think mostly they were necessitated by the limitations in the technology of the time. The advent of ecommerce providers opened up better commercial alternatives to fully functioning trials for vendors (e.g. crippled or 30 day trials) and the arrival of the WWW made copying floppy disks irrelevant. But 'try before you buy' has become so mainstream that it is now taken as given.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
 
 
I'll have to abandon my plans to move to the Shareware Village now:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/edgecombe/4709059216/
Tony Edgecombe Send private email
Thursday, June 17, 2010
 
 
I dont understand why people are still trying to sell downloadable software. Go web. I like the ability to sell software as a service and not having to worry about charging for upgrades, or bug releases.
Chris Bruno Send private email
Sunday, June 20, 2010
 
 
"I dont understand why people are still trying to sell downloadable software."

Because not everything can be run in a web browser.
Shawn O'Hern Send private email
Sunday, June 20, 2010
 
 
"Because not everything can be run in a web browser."

Right but you can pick the projects you want to work on...

Pick projects that can be distributed over the internet...I like your password manager program. That obviously cant be distributed over a network, but it must suck to have to sell copies and rely on upgrades for repeat business.
Chris Bruno Send private email
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
 
 
The entire internet is a pretty big dependency. Some prefer small local libraries instead. People are funny like that.
jp-biz Send private email
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
 
 
j-biz - your blog is great
Chris Bruno Send private email
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
 
 

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