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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Asking for feedback after a sale

On my website, my Privacy Policy states that we never spam or send marketing emails to the buyer.  However, I wanted feedback on what motivated each buyer to purchase, so I just sent this email to them.  Do you think that's okay, and not considered spamming?

Reason I'm asking you is because as you know, I had 3 sales very quickly, but then none since I removed the need to type in a free daily code.  So I think the daily code thing was what generated the sales.  It may have been the wrong decision to remove it.

"Hi <Name>,

This is a one-time follow-up to your purchase of <Product1> to ask if everything's going okay with it?  Is there anything you can think of that would make it better?  We may be able to implement any ideas you have for further improvement.

Regarding your decision to purchase, can we please ask what motivated you to support us by paying?  Was it the requirement of a free daily code, or that you wanted the command-line feature, or something else?

Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you don't mind replying.  If you choose to do so, I would be happy to give you a free upgrade to our other app, <Product2>.

Regards, <Signature>."
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, January 23, 2015
As a test, I just put the old version back on my website to let a few people download it, to see if the daily code feature does in fact generate sales.  Will be interesting.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, January 23, 2015
If you mass mail something, including this feedback thing you mention, that's spamming. Spamming is mass mailing.

If  you promised never to do that you are violating your promise and undermining your credibility.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
FWIW (nothing), I've never sent a mass email.

I do have a mailing list. If you choose to opt in to the mailing list, yeah, I'll send you spam. But I didn't choose it for you. I personally deeply resent companies that do so, so in an effort to not be an evil hypocrite, I don't do it myself.

There's not a damn thing wrong with opt-in.

Opt-out is bullshit. People are stupid to put up with this stuff.

Companies that violate trust and promises should be blacklisted.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Hi Scott.  I sent that message as a direct personal one-on-one email to each person (3 people in total), so it wasn't a bulk mail-spam situation.

Also, my Privacy Policy says we don't send spam or marketing mails to them, in other words, trying to sell them something.  What I mailed above does not do that; it was merely an email asking if the app met their expectations and if anything could be done to make it better.

But, having said that, I did feel weird sending it, so I won't do it again.  Just wanted feedback from those 3 sales to see what made them buy.

I did actually get one reply, which simply was: "everything sounds good."  Yeah, that helped a lot.  :)  Oh well.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015

Spam is large volumes of untargeted emails. I hardly think send a single email to 3 customers counts as spam.

I send an email something like this to every PerfectTablePlan and Hyper Plan customer about a week after the sale. I have got a lot of great feedback from it and loads of testimonials.

"As a purchaser of PerfectTablePlan we are very interested in your feedback.

Is there anything you would like us to improve/fix in PerfectTablePlan?

How did you first hear about PerfectTablePlan?

Thank you for your time.

Andy Brice
Oryx Digital Ltd

Ps/ If you haven't received your permanent key from us, it may have been spam
filtered. You can have it resent from this page:

It is deliberatley open ended. I always reply f they respond.

I would be happy to get an email like this each time I buy software, as long as the vendor is prepared to reply to me.

I've sent thousands of these. I've has one complaint that I can remember (about getting too many emails).

See also:
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
"a direct personal one-on-one email to each person (3 people in total), so it wasn't a bulk mail-spam situation."

All is cool then. Personal emails are not spam.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Got an email from one of the other buyers, who said they did buy to avoid needing to type in the free daily code.  In other words, nagware works.  I've seen NO sales since I removed the daily code.  What have I done?  I've stuffed it.  How does one revert from freeware to nagware without looking like a fool?
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Never mind, I've pulled the site because I totally ruined all chances of future sales by removing the nag.  I'll instead be re-launching in February with a new website name and new names for my products, but as paid apps again.  Lesson learned very quickly: don't listen to strangers on the internet who tell you how to run your business!
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Oh, and that last comment was NOT directed at this site!  LOL!  I meant people who obviously don't want to pay, but also sook that they're nagged to pay.  Why I listened to him, one single person, I'll never know.  Now my app is free for anyone who wanted it, with no chance to get payment.  Damn it.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Scott Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Dude you got to be less emotional about this stuff.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Probably, but you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  So, let's recap the situation:

(1) App was nagware, and 3 people paid within a week of launch.
(2) Saw a comment on a website that said the nag was stupid, so I removed it.
(3) Zero sales since.

How do I reinstate the nag without looking like a fool?
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Okay, the site is back online.  If I don't get any sales by February, then I'm just bringing back the nag and I don't care what that single person thought.  You're right Scott, I have to be less emotional.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, January 24, 2015
>Probably, but you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

That may be true if you are Google or Microsoft. But given that 0.000001% (approximately) of the earth's population have heard of your software, it doesn't apply to you (or me).
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Yes Andy, that's why I decided to bring it back.  It's been less than a month and I was going to throw in the towel - WTF?  :)  I think it was more due to loss of face with reversing the license from free to trial, that was the root cause of throwing it away.  But I've learned I have to swallow that pride and just do it.  I had to keep reminding myself that the nag brought in 3 sales, and without it has brought 0.

I decided to make the product a "non-expiring trial" now, instead of "free" as many websites were calling it.  That way I can avoid any anger from people like the user who said it wasn't really free and that I was misrepresenting it.  That's why I got rid of the nag, but it also got rid sales too.  Live and learn.
PSB136 Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Do you want to run a business or a charity?

If you want to have a sustainable business add back the nag screen and/or add a time limit to your trial.

Yes, those 5 people who downloaded your software because you advertised it as free might get pissed but that's only 5 people out of god knows how many future potential customers.

Also don't advertise your software as something that it isn't. You might get downloads but your conversion rate will suck. You don't want people who are looking for free shit as customers. No, not even a handful of those people will later decide that "gee, this free software is so nice - I want to pay for it".

You are running a business. Act like it. Get the idea out of your head that asking money for something is immoral/bad.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
> That's why I got rid of the nag, but it also got rid sales too.  Live and learn.

I can't believe no one has already responded to this, but I might as well. You don't know this. You had ** 3 ** sales, in a period of, what, a few weeks?  Your statistical power is zero. You have no idea if what you did caused anything. You just don't have nearly enough observations.

Imagine if you were a Martian and randomly encountered three humans and asked, "Does your face grow hair?". You would stand a 12.5% chance of encountering 3 women, but, if concluding the way you are, you would conclude you "know" that all humans don't have whiskers growing. If 1,000 Martians did this, 120 of them would be wrong. If 1,000 mISV owners did this, 120 would be wrong. You might well be in that 120.

But your situation is actually far worse than that, because male/female is a binary choice, but many things may account for your sales figures. Newness of the launch, something about the time of the month, weather, or, more than anything else, just "noise" (that is, essentially random fluctuations). The only way you can have any certainty at all about what works is to get some reasonable sample numbers, or base it partly off of someone else's, or both. I'd think you want (pulling #s out thin air) at least 20 sales a month for 6+ months to even begin to have an inkling. 3 sales total tells you nothing.

And yeah, it really seems like you are still psychologically not cut out to be a merchant of any sort. I'm not saying that you have to stay that way, but dealing with people you are expecting money from is always rife with challenges that you need to have a thicker skin about. Talking about "looking like a fool" has no place whatsoever in this discussion. I guarantee that the 3-100 people who have thought about your software in any way for any amount of time have not thought about you more than a few seconds since encountering your product. And Andy's point about ruining your reputation when you have only revealed yourself to almost none of humanity is a good one.

I've had too much coffee, apparently.
Racky Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
I definitely have a lot of stuff to overcome, in a personal sense.  Thanks for all replies.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
"How do I reinstate the nag without looking like a fool?"

I hear ya,  but... here's a little secret: You're not that important and you're not that interesting.  SORRY, but it's true.  The world is not watching you and your software to see what you'll do with pricing vs. nagware.  Did he make a mistake? Did he change his mind? 

The reality is that human beings, by their very nature, are way too self absorbed for that.  If anything, they're worrying about THEMSELVES.  What do other people think of THEM.

And when they do see something that they think is foolish or ill advised?  Sure, they might notice, they might even mention it to someone.  So what?  Unless they pay for your software, they are not a part of your world!  While you're worrying someone may laugh at you, they've moved on to the next thing that grabbed their attention.  They're not downloading your software to see if you've changed your mind about something in it.

The ONLY users of your software who matter are the THREE WHO PAID FOR IT.  The rest don't count.  You could just as easily think you look like a fool for investing your time, energy, and intelligence in programming software then giving it away for free. 

No matter what you do, you can find someone who will disagree.  Look up book reviews for one of your favorite books.  There will likely be at least one person trashing it.  Imagine if the author didn't write or publish the book because they were afraid they'd look like a fool?

Feel the discomfort and move ahead anyhow.  It wouldn't be right for only brash who don't care what anyone thinks to be able to see software.
Emily Jones Send private email
Friday, February 06, 2015
I always like your posts, Emily.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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