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Marketing My Software

Posted on 2001-06-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-02
I'm trying to do a little research on how to market software -- I've written a couple of neat productivity desktop apps and I have also written several very useful ActiveX .dlls. (some written in VB and others written in C++).

Do developers really make much from their shareware products?  Any suggestions on which service to do business with?  

How about direct marketing?  Anyone making money this way?

What about making a website, listing my products and trying to register with other links?

How about approaching a vendor that offers software (or software components) that would benefit by adding my goods to their portfollio of products?

I could really benefit from some honest feedback.

Thanks in advance!
Question by:khampton
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ID: 6212590
LVL 54

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by:Ryan Chong
ID: 6212723
Not too sure about market values of a software, need to learn more. :)

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ID: 6212759
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by:Valliappan AN
ID: 6212980

Expert Comment

ID: 6213115
i currently make money writing software for commercial companys.

there is no easy way of doing this but once one company purchased the software then other companys who visit their site normal ask where they got the software from and then get back intouch with me

companys who have purchased my software :-






great money its just that first step getting companys interested, and guess what

the best way of doing this is to contact them and ask them if they have any software issues which may be working against them or anysoft issues which may need developing so they can bring on new business by offering there customers what they require.

once that company has the hook (bite) then it can be a knock on affect and others will become interested.

i do it now has a partime hobby because of working for a national communications company. but the money is great and the feeling is even better.

you can charge them for making the modifications or upgrades which they may require in the future, i dont mean rip them off but a nice little figure for a new module or somthing.

anyhow i hope this helps


LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 6216491
Ah...it appears that many people here want to know about marketing.  Since I'm just another "geek" like your guys, my advice may not work, but I've observed the following:

1) Making a fantastic product does not sell it.
2) Making a lousy product can definitely hurt future sales.
3) Computer geeks are generally not good marketing people because they tend to give their stuff away for free or cheap.
4) Without a "name" people will often be hesitant to purchase your product.
5) You can't build a name without advertising (somehow, including word of mouth.)
6) Web sites are great reference tools for *interested* folks, and may be a good forum for showing off your products or services, but generally won't sell it without prior interest.
7) Poorly designed web sites, or those with bad grammar (common among computer geeks!) give people the impression that everything you do is poor in quality, including the software you are selling.
8) Cheap looking websites, or those with annoying banners can turn people off to your site (and therefore your products never get seen.)
9) Be prepared to deal with legal issues on jobs where you don't personally know the recipient if you're doing custom work.  Having a contract ready at time of purchase is a good thing, even if it's not been reviewed by a lawyer.
10) People like feeling that they received something worthwhile when you sell them something, and personal relations can be very important (handshake, smile, etc.)
11) Good salesman seem to have a knack for confusing people into believing that they got a good value.  GREAT salesmen leave people KNOWING they got a good value, even a few days later.

Does shareware work?  I've been wondering for years.  Some have succeeded (like Paint Shop Pro) while many have not.  Did they fail because the owner failed to maintain/support the product, or was it a bad product, or was there no incentive for people to send in the money???  Or maybe it was a product that had limited audience or was replaced by something available for "free" (like Microsoft's IE, Media Player, etc.)

Expert Comment

ID: 6219586
anyone have some information on this issue who has actually marketed their software product and made a profit of it?
LVL 22

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ID: 6219960
About 10 years ago, I wrote a program that I was selling.  I got a writeup in a local magazine and got some sales that way (including a referral from someone 1500 miles away.)  I also had some other programs sold about 20 years ago, mostly in response to publication in a national magazine.  Each time I learn different things about the marketing aspects, and someday I'll get it right.  Meanwhile, I learn a few things on what NOT to do (as previously described.)

Accepted Solution

TomLaw1999 earned 120 total points
ID: 6221359
I've created and marketed a number of specialist database programs for use in our industry. Generally the program is distributed on CD together with a manual and sent free of charge to companies with a polite request that if it proves useful they should pay a registration fee.

The important thing to remember is that no one will pay you for software that they have'nt been able to try out (unless you are well known) also no one will pay you for software that they don't need to register (at least in my experience). My own projects have proved succesful only because:

1) The programs are good (I know my specific industry)
2) I supply the software for free and ensure that users can try it for a long time (6 months) before it times out. This way they are sure that it works for them and they actually become dependant on the software.
3) My programs always have some form of time out codeing which requires a key number to reactivate. This way I always get paid.

By distributing a good program for free you also make it difficult for other programmers charging an up front fee to compete with you. Customers always seem happier to assess a shareware program rather than paying up front for an unknown quantity.
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 6224814
"My programs always have some form of time out "

I've heard this called "crippleware" rather than shareware.  I think it's a good concept as long as you make it perfectly clear up front that this will time out after xxx days.

Other variations I've seen are non-crippleware versions that work forever, but to upgrade you must contact the developer...and the contact information must be readily available.

I also think it's good to require registration after people have tried it out (or at least seen a demo) because without knowing who they are, it's hard to let them know there's an updated version.

Also, you mention that shareware works, but then you say you wrote it for a specific industry.  If it's not for a specific industry, I wonder how well it works...  For example, try to write a game and distribute it as shareware.  If you don't have a time-out and required registration, you probably won't see many checks in your mailbox.

Author Comment

ID: 6225038
Thanks to everyone for their comments!
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 6225060
Good luck on your $$$$ adventure.
Report back when you make your first million!

Expert Comment

ID: 6228854
Thanks for the points khampton, and the 'A grade'. As long as you are positive about your work enthusiasm will sell your product (providing it's good)- best of luck.

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