* The Business of Software

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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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

Shareware software question?

I have Shareware security software but some features such as threat removal are disabled in demo version, is it good to release it as free software and release additional software like premium because this shareware does not sell much, I can't make a living from it?

Any suggestion would be good?
Damjan Send private email
Thursday, June 25, 2015
 
 
Maybe yes, maybe no. Are you sure you've tried everything to boost sales?
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, June 26, 2015
 
 
I hope I don't anger anyone here by saying this, but without being restricted from solving a problem, I wouldn't have a reason to pay for it.

I never understood why some software programs solved a problem without requiring a payment, actually.

Reminds me of WinRAR. :-\
Nicole Miller Send private email
Friday, June 26, 2015
 
 
I think there is alot of information on the internet about the "freemium" business model, discussing the pros and cons, for example do a search on DDG, bing or google for:

"freemium site:ycombinator.com"

also the following book is very readable and gives a good overview:

Freemium Economics: Leveraging Analytics and User Segmentation to Drive Revenue, 2014, by Eric Seufert, publisher is Morgan Kaufmann

Hope this helps a little
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Saturday, June 27, 2015
 
 
thanks for tips, hopefully I will find some good business model.
Damjan Send private email
Saturday, June 27, 2015
 
 
> I never understood why some software programs solved a problem without requiring a payment

You mean for trial apps and not actual freeware, right?  It's to keep the user interested in the app and not going elsewhere if the trial actually ended.

If a trial app ended 30 days after install (which most do), then the user might not get a chance to test it fully.  They might test once, then get busy at work and not test again until day 31, whereupon the app refuses to run.

At this point, you might expect the user would pay... but that's not always the case.  They might just uninstall and look for an alternative, especially if the trial can't be restarted at all.  So, why let them?  Keep the trial going indefinitely, but with restrictions, so the user doesn't stray.

I'm updating one of my apps at the moment and it now only runs for 10 minutes at a time.  At that point, the user is presented a message that the trial session is over and that they are welcome to relaunch it for another 10-minute session.  They can do this forever if they like, and my aim is that they can just keep launching it when needed instead of straying elsewhere.  One day they may buy, or maybe not.  Doesn't matter: they still have my product in their hands until they decide, instead of throwing it away.  That counts for something!

As for WinRAR: I don't remember it working indefinitely for free.  It disabled itself for me years ago after the trial period... and yep, I never bought it as a result.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, June 27, 2015
 
 
BTW, my app is something intended to run all day long on a PC (it's a system monitor of sorts), so quitting after 10 minutes will be a reasonable nag for the user, especially as they'll lose the accumulated data at that time.  Not their personal data, mind you; just system data they'd be interested in but need to buy to keep longer than 10 minutes.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, June 27, 2015
 
 
Hi Damjan,

Yeah that book is good because it studies the why and when to make a product freemium and discusses most/all of the basics.

I also notice that searching for "freemium" here on BOS yields some good information and opinions from people like Andy Brice and Krzysztof Kowalczyk who have actually "done it"

The most important thing about freemium is to ensure that you do not LOSE money from it. The cost of the free users must be $0 or as close to it as possible, otherwise you can go broke. These I think are called the "marginal costs". So for example if your app stores data on AWS/Azure/GWS etc for the free users and you only have a few users pay for premium, it can end up costing alot of money, eg the Everpix shutdown in November 2013
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Saturday, June 27, 2015
 
 
Today is real pressure of free software, most users download free programs, paid products goes unotice and it is good way to drive masses to your product but it takes time without any income unless if you have job and development is a hobby, my mistake was not to release completely free version like some programs do in my branche which are now millioners, I had demo version which require purchase for the job to be done and free version which was not free version in complete way.

I had to learn by my mistakes but do better business model for future products, free programs are way to go but make a living from it will be challenge
Damjan Send private email
Sunday, June 28, 2015
 
 
>I'm updating one of my apps at the moment and it now only runs for 10 minutes at a time.  At that point, the user is presented a message that the trial session is over and that they are welcome to relaunch it for another 10-minute session.

That sounds incredibly annoying. Hardly a good way to start your relationship with a potential customer?
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, June 28, 2015
 
 
I think it is very hard to make freemium work without huge scale. Even then many 'successful' companies with a freemium model don't seem to be making a profit (e.g. Evernote, last I heard).
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, June 28, 2015
 
 
I would do it this way.

You give it a demo and limit it such a way that it can remove, say 100 threats (you decide the number). After 100 threats they have to pay.

So  they would actually see removal of threats and get a feeling of relief and enjoyment. This feeling will make them pay.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Monday, June 29, 2015
 
 
@Andy:  I'm all ears for suggestions on an alternative.  The app is something that someone could use just once if they wanted, so making it a 30-day trial won't work... so I feel it's best to just limit how long it does its monitoring for.  I've seen plenty of other apps that just run a short time between launches, so I figured it must be a good idea.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, June 29, 2015
 
 
Okay, rather than limit it to 10 minutes, I've decided to make it show the nag/splash window after every 10 accesses of its window.  This should be fine because the user only opens the window when they need to (it doesn't stay open), so after every 10 they'll see the reminder that it's a trial.  Hopefully it'll be enough of a nag to encourage payment, and they can trial as long as needed in the meantime.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, June 29, 2015
 
 
> Even then many 'successful' companies with a freemium model
> don't seem to be making a profit (e.g. Evernote, last I heard).

Apart from scale, the thing that I've seen in successful freemium products is a killer "hook", value, desire, need (how to describe it?) reason for users to convert to premium, which is unique in each product and cannot be made into a formula. I think about this as the "secret sauce" which is a big risk with turning your product freemium that you wont be able to create the secret sauce - present it in such a way that a significant percentage of users upgrade. For this reason I agree with the above book that freemium is most effective where it is designed into the product as a part of it's basic use case, before the product is coded, rather than converting an existing product to freemium.
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Monday, June 29, 2015
 
 
Just came across this article about first-hand experience with the Freemium model, albeit for a SaaS:

http://blog.hubstaff.stfi.re/saas-pricing-free-plan-mistake/
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
 
 
Also a couple of links to freemium articles (which I didn't write) here:
http://successfulsoftware.net/links/
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
 
 
Isn't "freemium/premium" just another way of saying "lite/full" anyway?
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
 
 
Do not try to provide the demo version on your site. I also have a system tool, but i am not provide the demo version, only the free version and paid version.
aimee huang Send private email
Sunday, July 05, 2015
 
 

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