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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I'm going to launch a free edition for the first time.
Till now I provided 30 days evaluation license only (or a perpetual license).
My utility is a desktop utility for developers working on enterprises (I want them to download it and see how it helps them provide more quality products).
I consider to put the free edition on download websites (e.g. download.com and CNET), and I have doubts if it's a wrong step.
On the first hand - I get more downloads
On the second hand - I fear they wrap my application with their installation that try grabbing users' browsers.
What do you think about?
Obviously Jeremy is being sarcastic. The tip off is the use of absolutist language such as "always". It's helpful to know this since use of sarcasm often doesn't communicate well digitally. It's even hard to tell in person. Most of the world cultures don't use sarcasm at all and are not able to easily detect it in any circumstances. It's very commonly used in certain western cultures though.
Truly free is a challenge. (I don't include free games with in game purchases among 'free', or things that carry spyware.) It can work in certain cases. One case is where you have an enormous potential user base, you have a good product, and you have heavy competition that you wish to destroy. So you can release a free compression utility and become the #1 brand name in that segment. Being free and the top dog means you will kill all potential competitors from ever appearing. And you can still earn some income by having some sort of upgrade or cross selling proposition that a minority of users will take you up on.
Conversion often happens when they contact us for support. We note they don't have a valid license and need that for support. They then buy a license. It's the same as an unlimited trial, but it's not called that at all. An unlimited trial results in very few sales.
A good method is to have a trial that expires, but which can be renewed by deleting a registry key, or deleting a license file that is stored in a conspicuous location.
Each time they delete that file, they reflect briefly on what a bad person they are, and how much they use this program.
Eventually the guilt and inconvenience gets to them and they buy a license.
Another great method is that each time the product launches there's a splash screen with a countdown timer and you can't use the software until the screen goes away. First launch, it appears for 5 seconds. 30 days later it is appearing for 30 seconds, which is the max. There's a message: "You are on Day 1743 of your 15 Day trial. Purchasing a license entitles you to upgrades, product support, and helps support the development of this independently produced product."
CNET won't wrap if you ask them. I asked them a few years ago not to wrap my software and they seem to have honoured that.
Other sites do (Softonic is one). Plus you seem to sometimes get one off sites that wrap your software. I had one that actually placed google ads (or possibly bing) targetting my program name that led to a wrapped download specifically for my program!
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