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Q: Shareware Project ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Shareware Project
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: lizardnation-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 03 Apr 2003 14:53 PST
Expires: 03 May 2003 15:53 PDT
Question ID: 185640

I was wondering if I were to develop an application or utility and I
wanted to promote it and make it available and receive income from it.
 What is needed?

Areas of interest:

1. Best distribution and accessability methods with their costs.
2. Typical methods to outsource the commercial portion of the
shareware registration and revenue collection.
3. How to remain at a reasonable rank and in demand when the
application serves a particular focus area/edge?
4. What are the most effective to promote registeration, nagging,
limited functionality, time limited?
5. What is the Dollar range of the most popular applications as a
price guidance for someone wishing to price their own offering?

Thank you.

Subject: Re: Shareware Project
Answered By: theta-ga on 04 Apr 2003 01:55 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi lizardnation-ga,
     To be a shareware success, there are a lot of things you need to
keep in mind, right from the time you start developing your product,
to when the user registers it...and beyond. With the creation of your
software masterpiece, your work has just begun. Between your
'masterpiece', and it's millions of potential customers, lies a gap,
requiring advertising, packaging, distribution and marketing. Success
in the shareware world depends(just like in any other business) on a
lot of hard work,...and just a little luck. :-)

Below I provide information to help you bridge the gap between your
product and its customers, and help make it a shareware success. Here
are some of the things you need to do:
 - 1. Have A product: There are no two ways about it. If you want to
make money off shareware, you need a good product to sell!!
Preferably, it should have a readymade target audience, and it should
be really good at what it does. One thing you should be careful of, is
feature bloat. The aim of the first version of your product is to
introduce it to the target audience. Remember, the first impression is
the most important! The idea is to concentrate on only the most
important, basic feature set. Get all the bugs worked out before you
release it in the marketplace. You might look at releasing a (time
limited) beta version in order to fully test out your software and get
some user feedback. You can add in more feature in future versions, as
per user demands. This will also help you gauge the needs of your
users and decide on the future direction for your program, without
having wasted time and resources in implementing useless features.
Keep in mind that in the end, how much you make will depend entirely
on the quality of your product. See the following article for some
more tips:
      - Successful Shareware, Part 1 & Part 2

 - 2. Getting the product to your user : Once your product is done you
need to make your users aware of it, and what better resource than the
Internet? You will need to setup a webpage for your product, outlining
its main features in language that your target audience will
understand easily. Make sure that pricing, registeration and download
information/links are prominiently displayed on the main page.
Similarily, ensure that your contact information is easily available
to your users. Setting up this page will require a minor monetory
investment, but a major time investment on your part.
        Simply getting up a page won't bring you customers in droves
however. You will need to increase the visibility of your program, by
submitting it to the various software directories. These software
directories provide a forum, from where your customers can try out
your products and provide feedback. There are a huge number of such
directories, some free, and some(like which charge a fee
for listing.  For a list of things to keep in mind, see:
     - Choosing which sites to submit to 

 You can find a list of the most popular directories at:
     - Windows Shareware Directories
     - Shareware Tracker Site List
       ( )

         Another medium to try, are consumer magazines. Most magazines
which distribute a software CD will entertain your request for a
review if you mail them a copy of your software. These magazines are a
great way of targeting the local market. Also, a favourable review
would only help.

 - 3. Getting the user to pay up : The first thing you need to decide,
is what price you will set for your product. The price you decide on
will depend a lot on your target audience(home users or businesses),
competition(little or fierce) and the value it provides the user. The
last point is very important. You might feel like pricing your product
at say $50 because of the amount of effort you had to put in to get it
done. However, the user does not care how hard you had to work. All
he'she looks at is how much effort your product saves them, and they
are not going to pay $50 for a product which they consider worth $25.
So put yourself in the user's place, and be honest with yourself when
you decide on the price. Another important trick is to have different
licensing plans for different categories of users. For example, you
could have a low priced license scheme for individual user and
non-profit organizations, while at the same time, offering a higher
priced license for businesses. Also, provide multiuser site licenses
for businesses, depending on the number of users. Here are some tips
that may help:
   - Choosing a Price for Your Program
     ( )
   - Pricing Strategies 
     ( )
   - Shareware Authoring Part I

 Here is a sample rate list for some shareware products:
     - Eudora 5.2.1  $39.95 
     - WinZip 8.1    $29.00 
     - Download Accelerator Plus 29.95
     - ZoneAlarm   $19.95 
     - CuteFTP  $40
     - eShareCalendar $350.00 
  Once you decide on the pricing structure for your program, its time
to decide on the incentive you will provide your users to get them to
register. Most of the popular shareware products come crippled, time
locked and/or with nag screens. The sucess of each method varies,
depending on the target audience, and the function it serves. For
example, crippled software is unlikely to be very successful in a
business scenario, since organisations are are vary of paying for
functionality that they have not tested. Also, be sure to check out
the technique being used by your competition, and go one up on them.
For eg., if they provide a crippled version, you should not cripple
yours, in order to get the user to try out your product. I recommend
going for the middle ground. Try providing a fully functional version
of your product, with the major features getting disabled after a set
number of days. This way the user gets to try out all the features and
has an incentive to register for the final version. You can also show
notices all through your product, indicating the registeration status.
This will also motivate the user to register, and is much better than
any nag screens that would serve only to irritate them. Showing your
users a nag screen for 10 seconds before you allow them to use your
product, is a very good technique for driving them to the competition.
Check out some of the USENET discussions on this topic:
       - Subject: Copy protection of registered programs
         Newsgroup: alt.comp.shareware.programmer
       - Subject: Shareware Registration Incentives
         Newsgroup: alt.comp.shareware.programmer

      Another thing you should concentrate on, is making it as simple
as possible for the user to register your product. Now that the user
has finally decided to pay for the product, you don't want to make
him/her change their mind by making the process so complicated that
they are frustrated. Some simple things to keep in mind are:
    - After the download - securing the sale 

      Of course, unless you have your own server and a merchant
account, you will need a Payment Processing service which will allow
your user to pay for the product easily, in a wide variety of means.
The service then sends the money to you via a monthly check, less some
amount for processing. This processing fee varies from service  to
service, and some may charge you a setup fee. There are a large number
of options available to you nowdays, varying in the number of payment
methods supported, flexibility offered in the registration process,
fee charged etc. Some of the more popular ones are
Kagi(, Reg-Soft( and
Share-It( You can find a good comparison of
the features they offer and the associated charges, in the following
     - An Overview of Shareware Registration Services
     - Payment Processing Provider Comparison

 - Maintaining an edge : Your work is not finished once the user
registers your program. It is upto you to keep the user satisfied with
the product, and interested enough to keep purchasing any upgrades you
offer. The only way to do that is focus on the user. Act on any
feedback you get from the users. Instead of adding features you find
cool, ask your users for features they want put in. An effective forum
for this would be some sort of a newsletter or a mailing list for the
product. Remember that every satisfied user is a brand ambassador for
your product.
   Once you have achieved some level of success,there will be a strong
urge to just sit back and relax. However, now is the time to prepare
for the future. Maintaining a level of success will require you to be
always on your toes, analysing and fixing any weaknesses in your
product, and improving its strength. You will need to keep an eye on
the field your product targets, noting any advances or upcoming
changes, and adapting them to your advantage. The following articles
contain some very interesting tips for you to keep in mind:
     - Swotting for success 
       ( )
      - From Birth to Death
       ( )


  The following are some excellent articles containing a plethora of
information on all the factors you need to consider when you decide to
become a shareware author. A must read.
         - The Do's and Don'ts of Shareware [ 3 parts ]

         - Successful Shareware [4 parts]

         - alt.comp.shareware.programmer FAQ 

Related Links:

   Be sure to check out these sites and articles for more information:
  - The Software Marketing Resource Website

  - Association of Shareware Professionals
    ( )   

  - Selling software on the web 
    ( )

  - Can I Make Money Writing Shareware for Mac? 

Hope this helps.
If you need any clarifications, just ask!


Google/Google Groups Search Terms Used :
   "encourage registration" group:alt.comp.shareware.*
    writing shareware
    become a shareware author
lizardnation-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
I got what I needed, but I got it explained so well and so easy to
comprehend that I'd wish to see more responses from theta-ga to my
relevant questions. Thank you! :-)

There are no comments at this time.

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