A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.
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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
On this thread
>Make a product people want. Let them try a crippled or time >limited version for free. Charge them them for a fully functional >version.
So I'm starting this thread on that topic for brainstorming.
Andy, I don't think that this rule could apply universally
People most often these days, pampered by freeware, expect their software to be free.
In an already convoluted market, i.e. look at the System Utilities category , the user would choose the free alternative of a paid app, even if its functionality would be lesser.
So what would be the conversion ratio if you force them to get the paid version? and why wouldn't bundling with a toolbar, like for example Softonic or Download.com already do, deem as an alternative?
Nobody wants a damn toolbar.
Andy is right regarding restricted versions, though be careful of "crippleware", where the free version is useless.
Just yesterday I downloaded a GPS app for trekking, liked it, could see how I could do more with the paid version and so paid for it.
Generally I prefer time-limited and fully functional but it all depends on the application. Time-limited allows them to adopt it as their chosen solution, then pay for it later. Limited versions certainly can work well though, and realistically most 30 day free demos are purchased in the first 48 hours.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
> In an already convoluted market, i.e. look at the System
> Utilities category , the user would choose the free
> alternative of a paid app, even if its functionality would
> be lesser.
Depends a lot on what the free version is like. Open Source apps are free, but most users don't want to compile it, or gather all the dependencies, etc. And they are often not as polished.
What you should sell is not necessarily more functionality, but a better experience. Make it look nicer. Work quicker. Make it very easy for the user to install and try it. That will win out over lesser priced and even free apps (unless you're selling to programmers -- they are willing to jump through the hard hoops just out of interest and curiosity).
We keep mentioning toolbars.
What are the economics of toolbars anyway? They make money by being insidious spyware, right? What all do they monitor? Do they insert themselves as affiliates for all you buy on amazon? Do they compile behavioral profiles on you and sell your search history to insurance companies and intelligence agencies?
I've never installed one so I'm not entirely clear on what exactly they do, what their business model is, and why anyone would be so foolish as to install one.
>People most often these days, pampered by freeware, expect their software to be free.
I have two problems with that statement.
1. People expect their iPhone apps to be free or nearly free. Nobody expects Microsoft Office to be free, or Photoshop, or professional-anything software.
If it's about kittens or silly faces, yes, people expect it to be free. Who could charge money for that sort of nonsense? If it's software that has real, functional use, then no, they don't expect it to be free. People who never pay for software will look for limited free versions written for XP, but users who are used to paying for things will pay for modern software that does the job.
2. By 'people', I assume you're referring to consumers, as opposed to business users of software. Business customers (who are by far the most lucrative market for software), do not expect their software to be free. Ever.
We rolled out a new Windows desktop product only last week, priced above $60, and it's already selling and generating discussion and reviews. It's not a toy, it's not silly-software. It has a practical and financial value to every user who uses it. Which is why we charge money for it, and customers pay us money for it.
We used to have a super 'lite', free version of a similar product, but we dropped it, as it NEVER led to sales of the more prefossional products we produce in the same field. People who want free stuff are not, and never will be, your customers. Don't damage your commercial products by pampering them.
>I've never installed one so I'm not entirely clear on what exactly >they do, what their business model is, and why anyone would be so >foolish as to install one.
it says otherwise
also look at Israel's Download Valley for that kind of business model
>If it's about kittens or silly faces, yes, people expect it to be free. >Who could charge money for that sort of nonsense?
well do you consider CCleaner which is free, has generated over 84million downloads on Download.com alone, and IS generating almost 400K each week , a silly app?
What about VLC player? and the list could go on.....
>. By 'people', I assume you're referring to consumers, as opposed to >business users of software.
yes,I meant consumers
it was a reply to
> what their business model is, and why anyone would be so >foolish >as to install one.
that it's a viable and profitable business model, and that (some) people do install tollbars/ad-ons etc,check Download.com for example.their installer bundles such things
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